First-Year Experience
Georgia Southern University

Folio Grade Book

From choosing between a weighted or point-based grade book to deciding how to treat ungraded items, Folio’s grade book has many setup options that make it easy for faculty to grade FYE 1220 assessments and easy for students to figure out their grades.  In the template we loaded into your section, however, we had to make some initial setup decisions.  Read below for information on grade book defaults and setup options.  If you come to one of the customization sessions, we’ll cover what’s mentioned below.  The CATS handouts site can be a big help to those of you comfortable exploring on your own.

Points vs. Weighted
There are two grade book options in Folio: points and weighted. A weighted grade book typically uses a standard point value for each assignment (often 100), but assigns weights (or percentages) to each assignment. Therefore, some grades are worth more than others based not on how many points they are “out of” but based on their weights.
A points system holds the value of a point constant throughout the entire course. Some grades are worth more than others because they are “out of” more points.
Why We Chose the Weighted Grade Book as a Default

The template uses the weighted grade book for the following reasons:

  • Having assignments worth 100 points makes it easier for students to understand what their performance means (for example, they understand a 60 on a 100 point scale is a low D, but they may not as quickly understand that a 3 out of 5 is the same thing).
  • By default, the rubrics for each assignment are out of 100 points. Switching to a points-based grade book would mean altering the rubrics to reflect the associated point value (for example, if you wanted an assignment to be worth five points, you would have to change each of the criteria point values to total to five).
How You Treat Ungraded Items

One issue that may be the most significant for students is how ungraded items are treated. We opted for treating ungraded items as zero. The big plus here is that faculty don’t have to manually enter grades for students who don’t complete assignments. Folio just calculates a zero. From a student perspective, the grade book always displays the percentage of the final grade that each assignment is worth. Therefore, it probably mirrors your syllabus more closely. Click below to see an example.

Folio ungraded items zero no comment

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The downside is that students can’t easily see if they have missed an assignment and have actually earned a zero. When faculty drop ungraded items instead of treating them as zero, this becomes much clearer for students. It also makes it easier for students to compute their grade as the course progresses (although if you choose, you can set your course to automatically keep grades updated and to publish this information; see below). The main downside of dropping ungraded items is that this method requires faculty to manually enter grades of zero. It also doesn’t display the weighting of a grade book item that hasn’t been graded yet. Please see below for an example. Although we went with the “treat as zeros” option for the template, “drop ungraded items”  is the format that several of us in FYE use. If you prefer this format, you can easily change the settings in step 3 of the Grades Setup Wizard or through the “Calculation Options” tab in the Grades Settings link.

Folio ungraded items dropped no comment

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If you choose to stay with the settings you uploaded into your course, you can make it clearer for your students by entering a comment whenever a student earned a zero. If the student missed the assignment completely, you might simply enter “missed assignment” as a comment. See below and note the difference from the first image, above.

Folio ungraded items zero comment added

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Keeping a Running Average for Your Students

The template sets calculation options to release the final grade to students as an adjusted grade so that faculty can make final changes. Our sense is that many faculty tweak final scores in certain circumstances, and for this reason, that setting is best. However, if you’d like to provide students with a “running average” as the course progresses, you can do so by temporarily changing settings to a calculated final grade. The instructions for doing so are outlined on this Folio handout.

Last updated: 8/5/2019

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