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Use 4.0 Scales for Assignments

Service notice: Catalyst GradeBook has been retired effective June 16, 2022

This document explains how to use the 4.0 scale for assignments and how GradeBook converts these scores when calculating students’ total scores.

Why Use 4.0 Scale Assignments

Use the 4.0 scale for assignments when you want students to receive their scores as values on the 4.0 scale and you want GradeBook to calculate the total score.

GradeBook converts all scores to a percentage in order to calculate a student’s total score for the class. Because agreement does not exist on how grade points map meaningfully onto a percentage scale, you must create a conversion table to tell GradeBook what the equivalent percentage is for each grade point. This ensures that the values of your 4.0 scale are preserved in the total score calculation. If a straight mathematical conversion is used instead of your professional judgment, students (especially those with lower scores) may be unduly penalized.

EXAMPLE: In Professor Meyer’s class, students are graded on both exams and papers. Meyer scores exams using a percentage scale, but uses a 4.0 scale to score papers. On this scale, Meyer uses only 4.0, 3.5, 3.0, 2.5, 2.0, and 1.5 because she feels these grades meaningfully distinguish between levels of performance. In general, a paper that scores a 2.0 may be largely underdeveloped or demonstrate major misconceptions, a performance she associates with C- work. If Meyer chooses a “points” scale to score her papers, however, she encounters a problem: scores receive a straight mathematical conversion, so that students who earn a 2.0 on a paper will receive only 50% on the percentage scale – a failing grade according to traditional measures. By using the 4.0 scale, Meyer ensures that the percentage conversions reflect her intentions.

Points (mathematical conversion to percentage) Custom (intentional conversion)
4.0 = 100% 4.0 = 100%
3.5 = 87.5 3.5 = 92
3.0 = 75 3.0 = 84
2.5 = 62.5 2.5 = 76
2.0 = 50 2.0 = 68
1.5 = 37.5 1.5 = 60

Create an Assignment With a 4.0 Scale

The 4.0 scale conversion table allows you to specify points on the scale and their corresponding percentages, and then calculates the percentages for the scores that fall between those you specified. For example, if you set 4.0 = 100% and 3.0 = 88%, GradeBook will use linear interpolation to calculate the percentages that correspond with all scores between 4.0 and 3.0 (3.9, 3.8, 3.7, etc.).

A maximum score and a minimum score are required. You can also refine the scale by adding rows and entering points in between these values. To remove a row, leave both values (Score and Percentage) blank.

To set up new assignment with a 4.0 grade point scale, follow these steps:

  1. StepsActions
  2. From the GradeBook home page, click the name of the grade book that you want to edit. You will move to the main view of the grade book.
  3. On the grade sheet, click the Add drop-down menu. Select Add assignment. The Add Assignment dialog box will appear.
  4. Fill in the assignment details (Title and Category).
  5. Select 4.0 scale from the “Scale” drop-down menu. The 4.0 scale conversion table will appear. The table has two columns: Score and Percentage.
  6. Enter a percentage to correspond with the minimum score (the last row of inputs). You can also change the percentage corresponding with 4.0, change the minimum score from 0.0 to another score, add a percentage to correspond with 2.0, or add additional rows of grade points and corresponding percentages.
  7. Click View full 4.0 scale. A preview of the entire scale will appear on the right, listing all grade points and their corresponding percentages.
  8. If the scale does not match your desired conversion, edit the rows in the table on the left and click Update full 4.0 scale to preview the changes.
  9. Click Save.