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Blackboard Help

FAQs

On this page
  1. Options
    1. FAQ: What is grade-clicking? How does it work?
    2. FAQ: How do I set up my 5-point (or some other point) grading system?
    3. FAQ: How do I enter a check mark as a special score?
    4. FAQ: I have a group of students (or just one student) with unique assignments. How can I create a filter to show just this group and its assignments?
  2. Students and Assignments
    1. FAQ: How do I reshow a student once the status has been set to WD (hidden)?
    2. FAQ: Why are the dates wrong on the calendars and in the charts?
    3. FAQ: What are maximum score and points? How should I set them?
    4. FAQ: If I use category weighting, does it matter how I set assignment points?
    5. FAQ: Why can’t I change the status on one of my assignments? It is stuck on Normal.
  3. Scores and Standards
    1. FAQ: How does Easy Grade Pro treat blank score cells? How can I easily set all blanks to a certain score?
    2. FAQ: How is a student’s overall grade calculated?
    3. FAQ: Why wasn’t the lowest score dropped? Why are fewer scores being dropped for some students?
    4. FAQ: How can I keep my original scores on an assignment that I want to curve?
    5. FAQ: How many standards should I add to my class?
    6. FAQ: What is the Power Law Formula for standards-based grading?
    7. FAQ: Why does the Find window keep popping up when I enter a score?
  4. Printing Reports
    1. FAQ: How can I maximize the columns on each page?
    2. FAQ: How do I print multiple reports per sheet of paper?
    3. FAQ: How can I get a progress report to fit on a single sheet of paper?
    4. FAQ: Some assignments are not showing up in progress reports. How do I fix this?
    5. FAQ: Why are classes missing on a student’s multi-class progress report? Why am I getting two different multi-class progress reports for a student, each with different classes?
    6. FAQ: How do I remove the Overall column in a multi-class progress report?
    7. FAQ: How do I show points in a progress report?
    8. FAQ: How can I use a progress report as a missing work report? … as an attendance report?
    9. FAQ: What is the Completed Work Average and how is it calculated?
  5. Porting
    1. FAQ: How do I set the record delimiter to the CR/LF used by most Windows programs?
  6. Other
    1. FAQ: Easy Grade Pro saves automatically. What does this mean?
    2. FAQ: I need to print reports that show grades from multiple terms but I don’t want the grades to be combined to form a multi-term overall grade. What do I do?
    3. FAQ: I have to include a weighted final exam. What do I do?
    4. FAQ: How can I check the calculations for one of my students?

Options

FAQ: What is grade-clicking? How does it work?

Easy Grade Pro allows you to enter scores by clicking on grade buttons in a process known as grade-clicking. You can also enter scores by typing grades if the Allow typing of Grades and Special Scores option is on in the Gradebook Options window.

What score does a student get when an A+ or C+ is clicked or typed? The score is based on the grade-click value of the grade. The grade-click value for the top grade is always 100%. For other grades, it is the average percent for the grade. If an A+ is the top grade, the student will get a score that is equivalent to 100%. If a C+ ranges from 76% to 80%, the student will get a score that is equivalent to 78%.

Grade-click values are automatically set and editing is usually unnecessary. To edit them, click the blue arrow above the scroll bar on the right in the Scale view of the Class Options window.

FAQ: How do I set up my 5-point (or some other point) grading system?

The simplest way to do this is to set the maximum score on assignments to five and type the numbers one through five as scores into score cells.

Before you do this, be sure you understand how this will affect student percents: since a score of 1 out of 5 is a 20%, 2 out of 5 is a 40%, etc., students may have assignment and overall percents that are much lower than what is typically considered acceptable. To compensate for this, you can create a grade scale that looks something like this: +5 (90%), +4 (70%), +3 (50%), +2 (30%), +1 (10%) and +0 (0%). You will almost certainly want to hide percents in reports so you don’t get questions from parents like “My daughter has a 49% and this is OK?”. You might be wondering why we added the ‘+’ before each grade — this is so you can tell the difference between the number five and the grade of five onscreen and in reports — grades and numbers are not the same!.

The biggest drawback of this method is that, once set up, you must use it for every assignment in the class. Since a grade scale applies to a student, you don’t want a situation in which a 50% is good on one assignment (grade of +3) but bad on another (grade of F).

Because of the tremendous range of percents that occurs when the maximum score on an assignment is as low as 5 (i.e. 1/5 = 20%, 2/5 = 40%, 3/5=60%, 4/5=80%, 5/5=100%), the use of special scores instead of numbers may be a better way to set up a 5-point system. Your special scores could be +5 (100%), +4 (90%), +3 (80%), +2 (70%) and +1 (60%). If you were to enter a +5 as a score, the student would receive 100% of the maximum score; for a +4, the student would receive 80% and so on.

This use of special scores has advantages over the use of true numbers: 1) the range of percents is more typical, 2) you don’t have to use a modified grade scale, 3) percents can be displayed in reports if you choose, and 4) you don’t have to use a maximum score of 5 on every assignment — use whatever you want on any assignment!

Create your special scores in the Score view of the Class Options window. Put the ‘+5’ and other scores in the Code column. Be sure to add the ‘+’ or some other symbol to minimize confusion with true numeric scores. Put the percents in the Value% column. Be sure to create a shortcut for each to make data entry of your special scores very fast.

FAQ: How do I enter a check mark as a special score?

Easy Grade Pro allows you to use nearly any font on your computer that includes the alphabet, numbers and punctuation. On Macintosh computers, most fonts that have these characters also have a check mark. Simply type option-v to get it. On Windows computers, the check mark is only found in specialty symbol fonts that are not suitable for use in Easy Grade Pro because they do not include alphabetic and numeric characters.

FAQ: I have a group of students (or just one student) with unique assignments. How can I create a filter to show just this group and its assignments?

The first step is to come up with a code for this group, such as RED. Choose Assignment from the Chart menu and put the code into the Note field of each assignment’s record. Choose Student from the Chart menu and put the code into one of the twelve custom fields of each student’s record. Now, create a filter that shows students with the code in the custom field and that shows assignments with the code in the Note field. If you have multiple groups of students and assignments in your class, you can create a filter for each group.

Students and Assignments

FAQ: How do I reshow a student once the status has been set to WD (hidden)?

To show a student whose status has been set to WD (hidden), choose Records from the Chart menu and select the Students tab. Use the Record pop up menu in the right corner to switch to the student’s record. Use the Status menu to change the status to Active or WD (grayed).

FAQ: Why are the dates wrong on the calendars and in the charts?

This problem indicates that the computer’s clock is not set properly or the clock’s battery is dead. Use the computer’s Date and Time control panel to set the clock. Refer to your computer’s manual for help in replacing a dead battery.

FAQ: What are maximum score and points? How should I set them?

By definition, an assignment’s maximum score is the score that is worth 100%. It’s the score that is given when everything is correct (ignoring extra credit). Perhaps you like to score papers using percents (scores between 0 and 100). In this case, as a percents-grader, you should keep the maximum score at 100. Perhaps you count the number of problems the student has correct to get the score. In this case, as a problems-grader, you should set the maximum score to the total number of problems. Perhaps you apply differing amounts of points to problems based on difficulty and then sum the points the student has earned to get the score. In this case, as a points-grader, you should set the maximum score to the number of points possible on the assignment.

Easy Grade Pro uses the maximum score to do one thing only: calculate a student’s percent on the assignment. If a student’s score is 15 and the maximum score is 20, Easy Grade Pro calculates (15/20) x 100 and gets 75%. Notice that the maximum score has nothing to do with the value of an assignment. A student can have a 15 out of 20 on a small assignment as well as on a huge semester project. How is one assignment given more value than another? It is done through the use of assignment points!

By definition, an assignment’s points is the number of points to be earned when a student’s score is equal to the maximum score. Using the example above in which the student’s score is 15 out of 20, the student will get 75% of whatever value is set for points. The student will receive 15 points if there are 20 points possible, 75 points if there are 100 points possible, 150 if there are 200 points possible and so on.

So, how should you set an assignment’s points? The answer depends on your grading style. If you are a points-grader, you should use the same number for maximum score and points. When you do this, the student’s score, whatever it is, will be equal to the number of points earned. If you are a percents-grader or a problems-grader, simply keep the points set at 100 for a typical assignment, 200 for an assignment worth double, 50 for an assignment worth half and so on. 

FAQ: If I use category weighting, does it matter how I set assignment points?

If you use category weighting (i.e. Quiz 30%, Homework 50%, Final Exam 20%) and you want all assignments in a category to have the same value, simply set points on all of them to 100, or to 10 or to anything — as long as they are all the same. However, if you want one assignment to be worth more than another assignment in the same category, then follow the guidelines in the prior FAQ.

FAQ: Why can’t I change the status on one of my assignments? It is stuck on Normal.

f you have set up an Extra Credit category in the Class Options window for a class, then all assignments in that category will automatically have their status set to Normal. This can’t be changed because it makes no sense to have a drop-able, extra credit or non-graded extra credit assignment. For more information on Extra Credit categories, refer to the section Class Options: Score Category.

Scores and Standards

FAQ: How does Easy Grade Pro treat blank score cells? How can I easily set all blanks to a certain score?

In Easy Grade Pro, a blank score has no value and is completely ignored when calculations are made. This allows you to add assignments in advance without affecting calculations. It also allows you to add assignments that are not meant for all students. If you set an assignment’s Progress Report option to Include if Student has Score, the assignment won’t even appear in a report until the student has a score. The Show Blanks filter can be used from the View menu to hide all scores except those that are blank. Don’t think that you’ll have to spend a lot of time filling in all the blanks with zeros; the Change Scores tool File:en-us/Edline/050_Gradebooks/020_Easy_Grade_Pro_(EGP)/150_FAQs/ChangeScoresTool.jpg can easily change all blanks (or just some blanks) to zeros (or something else) with just a few clicks. You can also find the Change Scores tool in the Tool menu.

FAQ: How is a student’s overall grade calculated?

Understanding the math behind the calculations of a student’s overall grade can help you use Easy Grade Pro more effectively. It can also help you explain a student’s grades when asked by an inquisitive parent or student. Two examples will be used to explain the process and both use the following five sample assignments:

Image illustrating associated text

Let’s take a close look at this chart. The student is being graded on two quizzes, two homework assignments and one homework assignment with status set to extra credit. On Quiz 1, the teacher set maximum score to 10 and points to 100. The student’s score is 6.5. Easy Grade Pro first calculates percent: (6.5/10)x100 = 65%. It then calculates points earned: 65% of 100 points possible = 65. Take a moment to examine the numbers for the other assignments.

Example 1: When Category Weighting is Off

When category weighting is off, Easy Grade Pro calculates an overall grade by summing the points earned and dividing by the total points possible. Here’s how it does it:

  1. Sum the points earned (last column): 65 + 80 + 50 + 37.5 + 2 = 234.5
  2. Sum the points possible (Points column): 100 + 100 + 50 + 50 = 300
  3. Divide points earned by points possible to get the overall percent: 234.5/300 = 78.17%

Example 2: When Category Weighting is On

In this example, the Quiz category is weighted 30% and Homework is weighted 50%. A third category, Final Exam, is weighted 20% but is not yet being used. When category weighting is used, Easy Grade Pro goes through the calculations in Example 1 for each category. Then it combines the categories using the category weights to calculate the overall percent. It works properly even though not all categories are being used.

  Quiz Homework
1. Sum the points earned (last column): 65 + 80 = 145 50 + 37.5 + 2 = 89.5
2. Sum the points possible: 100 + 100 = 200 50 + 50 = 100
3. Divide to get the category percent: 145/200 = 72.5% 89.5/100 = 89.5%

4. Combine the categories percents using their weights to get the overall percent: ((72.5% x 30%) + (89.5% x 50%)) / (30%+50%) = 83.125%

How an Extra Credit category affects calculations

With Easy Grade Pro, you can add extra credit by increasing a student’s score, by setting the status of an assignment to Extra Credit (illustrated above) and by creating an Extra Credit category in the Class Options window.

When using an extra credit category that is not weighted, Easy Grade Pro will use the assignment’s Maximum Score and Points to calculate the points earned by the student on the extra credit. Then it will follow the steps in Example 1 but ignoring the Points possible on the extra credit assignment in step 2.

When using an extra credit category that is weighted, Easy Grade Pro will follow steps 1 through 3 in Example 2 above to calculate the student’s extra credit category percent. But in step 4, it will exclude the extra credit category when summing the category weights (the part to the right of the division symbol).

FAQ: Why wasn’t the lowest score dropped? Why are fewer scores being dropped for some students?

First of all, Easy Grade Pro only drops scores on assignments with status of Can be Dropped. Choose Assignment from the Chart menu and look in the Status column to check for this.

Next, it drops only one score for a student unless Dropping options have been set in the Class Options window. In this case, up to four scores can be dropped. Choose Class Options from the Edit menu and select the Category tab to check for this.

Finally, Easy Grade Pro does not drop the lowest scores. Rather, it drops the most damaging scores. These are the scores that, when dropped, result in the greatest improvement in the student’s overall percent. For a student who has her lowest score on an assignment with little point value or in a category with little weight, Easy Grade Pro may drop a higher score. For a student who performs well on tests but poorly on homework, the student’s lowest test score may actually be helping to prop up his overall percent; in this case Easy Grade may not drop any test. In all cases, Easy Grade Pro will drop scores or not drop scores to maximize the benefit to the student.

FAQ: How can I keep my original scores on an assignment that I want to curve?

When an assignment is curved, the original student scores are replaced by curved scores. If you’d like to keep the original scores but not have them impact student grades then try this: 1) Choose Assignment from the Chart menu. 2) Press on the assignment’s row number to select it. 2) Choose Copy from the Edit menu. 3) Choose Paste from the Edit menu while the column is still selected. It will become duplicated. 4) In the status column, change the status of the original assignment to Not for Grade. Optional: change the Progress Report option to Exclude Assignment. Be sure to curve the duplicated assignment instead of the original.

FAQ: How many standards should I add to my class?

It is typical for the lists of standards produced by educational agencies to have literally dozens of standards for a single curriculum area at a single grade level. Although, Easy Grade Pro has been designed to accommodate these long lists, we recommend that you actually report on no more than a dozen standards. Otherwise, the effort and time required may become overwhelming. Students and parents may become overwhelmed as well. Notice the emphasis on the word report. It is possible to have standards in a class that are used for scoring but not for reporting. For example, if you have 36 standards with six at a highest level, each with six linked, lower-level standards, you can use the 30 lower-level standards for scoring but the six higher-level standards for reporting. You may end up with only a few scores on each of the 30 lower-level standards but these can produce very meaningful data on the six standards that get reported. You decide!

FAQ: What is the Power Law Formula for standards-based grading?

An internet search for Power Law Formula results in hundreds of listings in a wide variety of fields including astronomy, meteorology, and engineering. In his highly regarded book TRANSFORMING CLASSROOM GRADING, Robert J. Marzano describes the use of this formula for standards-based grading. The math behind the power law formula is quite complex (see below), but all that’s necessary for its use is that you know what it does, how to interpret its scores, and when best to use it.

In essence, the power law formula predicts what the student’s next score will be based on scores already present. It can be thought of as a mathematical calculation that answers the question: “If the student were assessed right now on a skill, at what level would the student likely perform?” Since a student’s grade on a standard is meant to be an indication of skill at a certain moment in time, the power law formula can be used to calculate standard grades.

To gain an understanding of how the power law works, let’s look at sets of student scores and Easy Grade Pro’s power law calculation of each set. To keep things simple, let’s say there are four assessments and four students and each student has earned the same scores 1.00, 2.00, 3.00 and 4.00, but in a different order. If we were to simply average the four scores, all students would receive a 2.50. However, with the power law, we’ll get different values because the power law puts more weight on recent assessments. Let’s take a look:

  Assessment #1
(least weight)
Assessment #2 Assessment #3 Assessment #4
(greatest weight)
Power Law Score Interpretation
Student #1 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 4.00 The scores show continuous improvement. The student will likely demonstrate mastery on the next assessment.
Student #2 1.00 3.00 2.00 4.00 3.66 The scores show irregular improvement. The student will likely demonstrate high but not complete mastery on the next assessment.
Student #3 2.00 4.00 1.00 3.00 2.16 The scores show very uneven performance. The student will likely demonstrate a mid-level of achievement on the next assessment.
Student #4 4.00 3.00 2.00 1.00 1.28 The scores show continuous decline. The student will likely demonstrate a low level of achievement on the next assessment.

As you can see, the power law formula can result in more meaningful values than averaging. Should it then always be used? No! The power law formula is best used on narrowly defined standards (i.e. Subtraction of mixed numbers with borrowing). Avoid its use with broadly written standards that consist of multiple skills – the results will be less meaningful.

For those with the inclination, here’s the power law formula used by Easy Grade Pro where x is the ordinal number of the score, s is the score and N is the number of scores with all scores in date order:

power_law.jpg

FAQ: Why does the Find window keep popping up when I enter a score?

This window will reappear whenever a score is entered if the Use Continuous Search mode is turned on. This mode allows you to quickly enter scores directly from student papers. The next time the Find window opens, turn this option off.

Printing Reports

FAQ: How can I maximize the columns on each page?

To maximize the number of columns that will fit on a page, use the Page/Print Setup options to set the orientation to landscape view (sideways) and the scale to between 60% and 80%. If your printer doesn’t support scaling, set the font size to a small value.

FAQ: How do I print multiple reports per sheet of paper?

Many printers today allow you to choose the number of pages to be printed on each sheet of paper. They do this by shrinking each page the correct amount and placing the pages at different locations on the paper. These options are known as layout options and can be found in the print window that appears after you click the Print button.

FAQ: How can I get a progress report to fit on a single sheet of paper?

One way to shorten a progress report is to limit the number of assignments that are included. There are two common ways to do this: 1) in the options window for a progress report, click the set button after the Assignment Chart option, choose Assignments on or after-> from the Include menu and set a date on the calendar; 2) in the score chart, use items in the View menu to hide some of the assignments; in the options window for a progress report, click the set button after the Assignment Chart option and choose Displayed Assignments Only from the Include menu.

FAQ: Some assignments are not showing up in progress reports. How do I fix this?

From the Chart menu, choose Assignment. Find the column labeled Progress Report. Make sure you don’t have this field set to Exclude on assignments to be included.

FAQ: Why are classes missing on a student’s multi-class progress report? Why am I getting two different multi-class progress reports for a student, each with different classes?

The student’s name or ID number is different in the different class(es). Correct the name or ID number and print again.

FAQ: How do I remove the Overall column in a multi-class progress report?

If you have combined two or more terms, the multi-class progress report automatically includes columns for each term and for the overall grade. If you want to include individual term grades but not the overall column, combine your terms using weights of 0% for each prior term class and 100% for the current term class. Also, do not curve or lock the overall grade for any student in any current term class. Under these conditions, Easy Grade Pro will automatically omit the Overall column.

FAQ: How do I show points in a progress report?

In order for students and parents to verify the calculations of grades on a progress report it is necessary to display assignment points. To do this, choose Print from the File menu and, from the Report menu, select Student Progress. Under the Options tab, turn on the Include Assignment Chart tab. Within this item, click on the Chart Contents menu and choose Points.

FAQ: How can I use a progress report as a missing work report? … as an attendance report?

In the options window for a progress report, turn on the Assignment Chart item, click the set button after this item and choose Missing Assignments Only from the Include menu. For an attendance report, turn on the Attendance Summary item, click the set button after this item to select the desired attendance items. Click the Labels button in the main Print Reports window to change the title of the report.

FAQ: What is the Completed Work Average and how is it calculated?

The Completed Work average, which is found in summaries and reports, is calculated in the same way as the student’s Overall average except that assignments with scores that count as missing and scores of zero (which typically indicate missing work) are omitted. If a student has no scores that count as missing nor zero scores, then the Overall average (assuming that terms have not been combined) and the Completed Work average will be identical. Since missing scores and zeros can have a large, negative impact on a student’s Overage average, the Completed Work average can be useful in assessing student capabilities and in motivating students to complete work.

Porting

FAQ: How do I set the record delimiter to the CR/LF used by most Windows programs?

By default, Easy Grade Pro adds a CR (ASCII 13) to the end of a record. If your format requires a CR/LF (ASCII 13/10) combination, follow these steps:

a) Change the delimiter of the last field to CR (ASCII 13). To do this, select the last field and click the Edit button. In the window that opens, change the delimiter to CR.

b) Add a Blank Field to the format. To do this, select Blank Field (the last field) in the list on the left and click the Copy button.

c) Change the delimiter of the Blank Field to LF (ASCII 10). To do this, select the field and click the Edit button. In the window that opens, change the delimiter to LF.

Other

FAQ: Easy Grade Pro saves automatically. What does this mean?

There is no save command in EGP Web; you never manually save your work. All of your gradebook data, including settings and class data, will be automatically synchronized to the Web regularly. When you exit EGP Web, your final changes will be synced to the Web automatically. This insures that your most current gradebook information is always available from any computer with Internet access, allowing your administrator to pull it back in to your Student Information System.

FAQ: I need to print reports that show grades from multiple terms but I don’t want the grades to be combined to form a multi-term overall grade. What do I do?

Choose Term Tools->Combine Terms from the Tool menu. In the Term view of the Class Options window, combine your terms using weights, but set the term weights to 100% for the current term class and 0% for all the prior-term classes.

FAQ: I have to include a weighted final exam. What do I do?

When a final exam must be weighted with one or more other terms, the final exam should be treated in the same way as the other terms. As an example, you might set up your terms in the Records window as follows: Semester 1, Semester 2 and Final Exam. Your Final Exam will actually be a separate class within your gradebook. From within the Final Exam Class, you might set the combine term options as follows: Semester 1 – 40%, Semester 2 – 40% and Final Exam – 20%. The overall grades will be found in the Final Exam Class.

FAQ: How can I check the calculations for one of my students?

The Summaries window can help you check all the calculations that go into computing the overall grade for a student. To open this window, double-click on the student’s row number and select Student Grades from the Type menu. Under the Options tab, turn on the Show Chart option.