Dropping the Lowest Score in a Series of Items (Non-Weighted Grading Scheme)
Dropping the lowest score in a series of items is done via modifying the set-up of a calculated column, e.g., a Total column or a Weighted Total column. The easiest way to drop the lowest score in a series of items is to do so through the column that you are using to record final grades. If you are not weighting your grades then this column is generally the Total column that is created for you by default in your course Grade Center.
A Total column is a calculated column that sums the scores of all items included in the column’s calculations. The default setting for a Total column includes all columns in your Grade Center. However, you can modify this setting by using the Selected Columns option to include only certain columns and not others or to drop the lowest score in a series of items.
As an example, consider the following grading scheme:
Homework 1 – 10 points
Homework 2 – 10 points
Homework 3 – 10 points
Homework 4 – 10 points
Mid-Term Paper – 45 points
Final Exam – 25 points
Total – 100 points (drop lowest score of four Homework assignments)
In this example the instructor is dropping the lowest score in a series of four homework assignments. In order to do this the instructor must first place all the homework items in the same Grade Center category. In this case, a category called Homework has been created and each item (grade center column) is placed in that category. The instructor is also using the Total column to record the final grade for students.
Note: To assign or create a Grade Center category, refer to the Creating Categories tutorial for instructions.
In the Grade Center, click on the chevron icon in the Total column header and from the drop down menu choose Edit Column Information.
In the Modify Grade Center Column page scroll down to Section 3, Select Columns and click on the Selected Columns and Categories radio button to the right of the Include in Total heading. When that Selected Columns and Categories radio button is chosen, three panels are displayed directly below: Columns to Select, Categories to Select, and Selected Columns.
To set up the grading scheme above, first navigate to the Categories to Select panel and click on Homework. Once selected, click on the right headed arrow in the grey box (see below) to move the Homework category into the Selected Columns panel on the right.
When you move the Homework category into the Selected Columns panel the instructor sees four different options for scoring: Drop Grades – Highest, Drop Grades – Lowest, Use only the Lowest, Use only the Highest. In this instance the instructor will click on the Drop Grades radio button and place the number 1 in the Lowest Grades box since the intention is to drop the lowest score of four homework assignments.
- To complete the grading scheme the instructor must select the other two items included in the final grade: the Mid-Term Paper and the Final Exam. However, these items are not categorized so the instructor must move up to the Columns to Select panel. In that panel, the instructor can select the items individually and move one at a time (click on item and then click on the right-headed arrow to move to the Selected Columns panel) or select the items simultaneously (CTRL-click to select both and then click on the right-headed arrow to move to the Selected Columns panel).
- The final Selected Columns panel for the above grading scheme will look like this:
- The instructor then needs to decide whether or not to have the Total column calculate as a Running or a Non-Running Total. This choice is directly below the Selected Columns area. In this case the instructor has chosen the Running Total (the Yes radio button is checked; this is the default) so that students will see in their Total column a grade that reflects the points/percentage on only those items they have completed.
- Click on the Submit button to finish the setup of the Total column.
- Since the Running Total option has been selected, the grade for the homework assignments will reflect only those assignments completed at a given time, e.g., if only two assignments have been completed the lowest score of the two will be dropped in the calculation of the Total column.