Assignment Type Weighting is used by teachers who calculate the student’s class grade by weighing the student’s grade in each assignment type (e.g. homework, quizzes, papers, etc.) as a certain percentage of his or her overall class grade. For example, homework might be worth 40% of the student’s grade, quizzes 30% and papers 30%.
Note that it is not mandatory to use assignment weighting. If no assignments are weighted and no assignment types are used, then the Gradebook calculates the overall score by first converting all assignments to a percentage format by dividing the points earned by total points possible. It then adds all the assignment scores together in percentage format, divides the percentage sum by the total number of assignments, then multiplies that result by 100.
Setting Assignment Type Weights
Assignment type weights are set by each teacher in his or her gradebook for each of his or her classes. To edit assignment type weights, the teacher can click the ‘Weighting’ tab in the gradebook toolbar to open the weighting screen. From here, teachers can set different assignment weights for each minor grading period during which the class meets. For example, Quarter 1 weights can be set differently from Quarter 2 weights, or Trimester 1 weights can be set differently from Trimester 2 weights.
To enter weights, teachers can simply enter the percentage they want for each assignment type in the “Weights” column. If teachers do not use a particular assignment type, they must leave the weight field next to it blank. All of the percentages entered in the weighting column for each grading period must total 100%, even if the class has exams. See more about exam weighting here.
Common Assignment Type Weighting Mistakes
There are three mistakes that are often made when teachers use assignment type weighting:
- Not properly weighting their assignment types to total 100%,
- Weighting assignment types that the class does not use, and
- Not weighting assignment types their class does use.
Incorrect Weight Totals
Teachers can sometimes mistakenly weight their assignment types so that the total weight across all assignment types does not equal 100%. If teachers over or under-weight their class assignment types, their student grades will be calculated incorrectly. If the weighting total does not equal 100%, the gradebook will highlight the total percentage field in red at the top, letting the teacher know there is a problem with the weighting.
To the right is an example of a teacher’s gradebook that is under-weighted so that 10% of her class grades is unaccounted for. The teacher may have neglected to weight an assignment type, or may need to redistribute the 10% across her current assignment types.
Weighting Unused Assignment Types
Another problem teachers sometimes run in to when weighting by assignment type is weighting assignment types they do not use. If a teacher never uses a particular assignment type, that assignment type weight must be set to 0. However, sometimes teachers may weight an assignment type they never use in their class by mistake.
Weighting assignment types that are never used will also cause the student class grades to be calculated incorrectly because the student has no grade for that assignment type. Veracross will try to automatically re-distribute this weight so the student’s grade is not negatively impacted by missing grade information. However, Veracross will make a best guess where the unused weight should go, using the teacher’s current weights as a guideline for how to re-distribute the unused weight. The teacher would probably instead prefer to manually determine how the unused weight should be distributed across his or her other assignment types.
This problem is not as easily spotted because the teacher’s total weight for the grading period may total 100% and appear to be accurate. However, the ‘Count’ column on the weighting screen is a helpful way to check for this problem as it indicates how many assignments the teacher has given for that assignment type thus far. If the ‘Count’ column is blank at the end of the grading period, it means the teacher did not give any assignments in that category and the weight column must also be blank (i.e. 0).
Above is an example of a teacher’s gradebook that has a weight assigned to an unused assignment type. In this example, the assignment type “Journal” accounts for 10% of a student’s grade in the class. However, the teacher has not given any Journal assignments yet in the quarter (the Count column is 0). If the teacher will not be giving any Journal assignments in Quarter 1, the 10% weight needs to be redistributed to another assignment type(s) and the Journal category needs to have the weight set back to 0.
Not Weighting Used Assignment Types
Another way teachers can weight incorrect assignment types is by not weighting a category for which they have given assignments. This situation is not as likely because the gradebook will try to prevent teachers from entering an assignment type that has not been given a weight if the teacher uses assignment type weighting. If teachers are getting an error entering an assignment, they should double check their weighting and make sure the assignment category they want to use has a weight assigned if they weight by assignment type. Teachers weighting by points only should not have this issue.
If teachers adjust their weights from grading period to grading period, or at the end of a grading period, they should make sure they have given a weight to every category that has an assignment count. Again, this problem is not always easy to spot because the teacher’s total weight for the grading period may total 100% and appear to be accurate. However, teachers can use the ‘Count’ column to easily see how many assignments they have given thus far in each category and therefore, which assignment types should be weighted. If the ‘Count’ column on the weighting tab has a value, the ‘Weight’ column should also have a value.
Above is an example of a teacher who has not weighted an assignment type they have used in their gradebook. In this example, the teacher has given ten ‘Classwork’ assignments worth a total of 525 points. However, this assignment type has no weight assigned to it. As a result, 525 points of the students’ work are unaccounted for in their class grade. To fix this problem, the teacher needs to adjust the weight distribution so that the ‘Classwork’ assignments have a weight assigned and will factor in to the class grade.
Weighting within an Assignment Type
The gradebook also supports weighting within an assignment type if teachers wish to weight some assignments within the category as worth more than others.
Teachers can weight assignments differently within an assignment type by using the “Weight (Pts)” field on the assignment detail screen in addition to setting up assignment type weights. By default, all assignments are weighted equally at 100 points. If a teacher changes the weight field on an assignment, they can weight some assignments within the assignment type higher than others.
All weight points are relative to other assignments within the category, so teachers can use any points ratio to calculate the weight difference within a particular assignment type. For example, if a teacher wants to weight a homework-type assignment as worth twice as much as another, they can set the points on the regular homeworks to 10 and the homeworks that should be worth twice as much to 20 points. The same ratio could also be set by setting the smaller homeworks to be worth 100 points, and the more complicated homeworks to be worth 200 points. The absolute value of the weight field is irrelevant as long as the weights across assignments within the category are proportionally correct*.
* Note: The gradebook can only accept a weight value of up to 999 points on an assignment.
Below is an example of weighting by points within an assignment type. In this example, the teacher has assigned two “Homework” type assignments. The homework on the left entitled “Paper draft” is worth twice as much as the homework shown on the right, entitled “Complete Vocab Unit #16”. The teacher has weighted the paper draft assignment as worth 200 points, while the vocab unit assignment is worth the regular 100 points.
Important Note: When weighting by points (either by points only or for weighting within an assignment type), the Maximum Score does not impact how much an assignment is worth; it is only used to determine what percentage grade the student received for the assignment. For example, as far as weights are concerned, it does not matter whether a student earned a 9 out of 10, or a 90 out of 100. Either way, Veracross will recognize that the student received a 90% on that assignment.