Tech Thursday: "What if..." grade function
If you use Canvas, this is a helpful way to encourage students to see how potential final project/exam scores will impact their overall grade.
One thing I love about maintaining grades in an LMS is that - theoretically - students can check their own grades at any time and never have to email their instructor to ask about their grades.
Now that you have stopped laughing, here’s a way to help students figure out their own “potential” final grade - with the caveat that, to my knowledge, this only works in Canvas. Students can enter scores for any ungraded assignment to offer a “what if” snapshot of their progress. It’s helpful because it tells them what score they need on the final exam, for example, to earn a certain score overall. This really only works at the end of the semester, or if your course has relatively few graded assignments, otherwise there’s just too many variables (assignments) for the process to be useful.
Here’s the instructions I send my students once we’re two to three weeks from the end of the course:
To check how you are doing, go to the Gradebook in Canvas and follow these instructions to do a "what if" check of your grades. Follow the instructions to enter a temporary score for each assignment. Only you can see these "what if" scores, and they will disappear when you exit the grade book. This will allow you to see what score you need to earn on each of the upcoming assignments to be able to pass the course.
Students seem to appreciate knowing that the instructor can’t see any of the “what if” grades they enter, so I’m always careful to let them know that it’s entirely their own secret if they enter an aspirational 100% or a 50% for the “what if” grade.