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About Total Scores

Service notice: Catalyst GradeBook will be retired effective June 16, 2022

The “total score” represents the summative evaluation of a student’s performance across all assignments tracked in the grade book. Depending on the scales you have used to score assignments, the total score is calculated as follows:

Scale How Total Score Calculated
Points Scores on all assignments are summed and then divided by the total points possible, and the total score is displayed as a percentage (the sum of points received out of points attempted for each student). If weighting is enabled, the total score represents the weighted average of each category total.
Percentage and/or Custom The percentage scores on all assignments within a category are averaged. These averages are then weighted and summed across all categories. If weights are not defined, Gradebook apportions equal weight to each category.
Points and Percentage Scores on assignments using a points scale are converted to a percentage scale (the decimal value of points earned divided by total points possible). The total score is then calculated as above.
Text Assignments scored using the “text” scale cannot be included in total score calculation. If you choose a “custom” scale, you will be able to assign a percentage value to text and these scores will be included in the total score calculation.

Note: You have the option of counting blank scores as zeroes for the purpose of total score calculation. If you do not select this option, then a blank score will be considered “not yet graded” and will not be included in the total score. If a student receives a score of zero on an assignment, it is then included in the calculation of total score for that student.

Below is additional information about how GradeBook allows you to control the calculation of the total score.

Select Which Categories of Assignments Should Be Included

Some instructors may choose to omit homework and work done for practice when figuring a student’s class grade, since this type of work demonstrates developing skills and knowledge rather than final achievement.

EXAMPLE: Professor Kazen gives several pop quizzes to students over the course of the quarter. The quizzes are designed to see how well students are able to apply concepts from the readings to real-life problems. Although he scores the quizzes and lets students know how they performed, Kazen uses the results primarily to decide what to emphasize in his teaching. He omits his “pop quiz” category when calculating students’ total scores.

Select Whether to Drop the Lowest One or Two Scores Within a Category

Dropping scores is a legitimate practice if the remaining scores provide sufficient evidence on which to judge student achievement. Dropping scores may be desirable in a case where the majority of students scored lower than expected,
possibly indicating an invalid assessment.

Assign Weights to Each Category

Weighting allows you to define in what proportion scores from each category will count toward the total score. The weights must total 100%. In general, assessment experts recommend that greater weight be assigned to:

  • Categories that reflect the knowledge and skills most important for students to learn in the course
  • Summative assessments (exams or final projects) that reflect the results of earlier practice (homework, quizzes) or draft
  • Knowledge and skills that received the greatest portion of instructional time
  • Categories that provide a sufficient amount of evidence on which to make a statement about student achievement (It is difficult to make a reliable statement of student achievement based on one or two pieces of evidence.)

In the end, you should feel comfortable that weights assigned for different categories result in summary grades for students that accurately represent the quality of their work and your experience with students. It may be helpful to
invent a grading summary for one or two imaginary students before the start of a class to see if the total score accurately reflects students’ performance. To ensure ethical practice, you should determine how you will weight categories before a class starts, not at the time grades are assigned. Weights are important to communicate to students as part of your grading policy.