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Tracking attendance (and blogs and journals)

Let's take a couple minutes to talk about recording scores for assessments where we're likely to have bunches of columns. Most commonly, this means attendance, where you might have one column for each class period.

But we could as easily be talking about blogs or journals, where the tool works best if we create a single blog or journal, then the students add their weekly or bi-weekly (or whatever frequency) posts to that one blog or journal.

So probably the most obvious way to record these types of assessments is to create a column for each entry. A column for every class, a column for every scored blog post, and so on.

This gets unwieldy super quickly though. You can mitigate some of this unwieldiness by using filters or smart views to dynamically show other column sets. But less unwieldy is still kinda unwieldy.

So what's a good solution?

Ideally, our solution will make it easy for students to know how they're doing, will be easy for us to record, and won't overwhelm us or our students.

Which brings us to the one (or two) column solution. Basically, we want to create a single Grade Center column worth the total points for the assessment and give all the students all the points possible for the assessment. Then we subtract the appropriate number of points when a student misses a class or does a poor job on their reflection assignment.

By starting out giving students the full possible value, we avoid artificially deflating the students' grades – a student might balk if your comments suggested they did well on their journal assignment, but the score suggests they earned only 5 of a possible 15 points. Even moreso if they'd gotten 100% on their previous two assignments, but their weighted total drops precipitously due to a 33% on their journal (or a 10% for attendance).

I mention (or two) because your students may find it more informative, particularly with attendance, if you set up two columns this way – one for attendance before midterm grades are due (worth half the attendance points) and one for after (also worth half). This will give students a clearer sense of where they're at come midterms, as those unearned attendance points can inflate a grade.

Permalink Last updated 03/23/2018 by R. Davidson

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