FoxTALE Faculty: Basic Gradebook

FoxTALE Grade Book

You can use FoxTALE to record your grade book.  Students can log in and see their grades so that they receive continuous feedback on their progress.  Grades are protected so that a student can see only his or her grades.  FoxTALE activities are graded through FoxTALE, but you can also enter grades for activities that occur outside of FoxTALE.  This document describes a simple gradebook where point totals are aggregated with no weighted categories.

Table of Contents
  • Adding Grades to the Gradebook 
  • Viewing Grades
  • Editing and Viewing Grades and Feedback by Student
  • Single View
  • User Report
  • Setting the Aggregation Method for the Course
  • Handling Empty Grades
  • Hiding Graded Activities
  • Changing Grades
  • In the Activity (assignment)
  • In the Gradebook 
  • Excluding a Student from a Grade
  • Extra Credit 
  • Letter Grades
  • Viewing or Changing Letter Grade Ranges
  • Viewing Letter Grades for the Course Total 
  • Rounding Grade Calculations
  • Back Up your Grades
  • Download your Gradebook to Excel or Text
  • What do Students See?

Adding Grades to the Grade Book        

You will add activities (assignments, quizzes, forums, etc.) to your course and give a maximum grade to each.  Each graded activity creates a column in the grade book.  As you enter grades for each activity, FoxTALE automatically tracks the grades in the grade book.  

NOTE: Although you can create a grade item that only appears in the grade book, we recommend using the graded activities that show both on the course home page and in the grade book for the greatest benefit of feedback to the student.  All graded activities are automatically entered in the grade book. For offline assignments see our guide Simple Assignment Setup and Grading for offline activities.

Assignments, quizzes, and forums may be worth a maximum of 100 points each.  If you must have a graded item worth more than 100 points, you can set up two assignments to add up to the total or you can set up assignments in a grade category or you can create a manual grade item in the gradebook to award scores over 100 points.  See -  Assignments Over 100 Points 

See our guide on advanced grading to set up weighted grade categories - See the article titled "FoxTALE Faculty: Advanced Gradebook."

Viewing Grades

The Grades link has moved from the Administration block to the Navigation block.

  1. Navigation>Grades takes you to the main Grader report page showing all your students and assignments.
  2. Administration>Gradebook setup takes you to the page where you can set the gradebook aggregation, add categories, extra credit and other changes to your gradebook.
    Navigation Block    Administration Block   
  3. The Grader report View shows a list of students and their grades on each activity.  You will see the points earned for each assignment.  

Grader Report ViewIdeally, grades are entered through the Activity grading page which will automatically add the grades in the Grade book.  Any grade changes should be done in the Activity grading page but can also be done in the Grader report.  Grades that are changed or added in the Grader report produce an override for that activity.

Here are a few additional features:

  • In the column with the students’ names, click Last name or First name to sort the names.  
  • Click the up-down arrow to the right of the assignment or item name to sort by that column.
  • Click anywhere in the grade book and use your arrow keys as an alternative way to scroll around the grade book.
  • The left column of student names and the assignment column headings are both now “pinned” so as you scroll down or to the right you will still see them.
  1. Optional:  Click the Setup and Course grade settings page tab to change the Settings for your overall grade book. 

Course Grade Settings Page
For example, the Aggregation position is where you’ll see the course total or a category total.  The default is last, meaning that the course total will be at the far right of the grade book and at the bottom in the User report.

As another example, the Grade display type allows you to choose whether each assignment will display as a real number grade with two decimal places, a letter grade, or both.  

  1. Optional:  You can set preferences for your Grader report.  Click the My preferences: Grader report page tab. You can hide or show column averages, hide or show ranges, etc.  
    1. We recommend that you set Show ranges to Yes so that you can see the number of points each assignment is worth. The range is the number of the points that the assignment is worth rather than the students’ range of scores.
    2. We also recommend you set Show Quick Feedback to Yes to use that feature.

Grader Report Preferences Page

While you are working in the Gradebook, return to the Grader report at any time by choosing the View tab across the top of the grade book.            

        

Editing and Viewing Grades and Feedback by Student

You can edit a single student’s grades in the new Single view tab. You can view grades and feedback for individual students by choosing a User report.

Single View

          Single Student View Tab

  1. In the grade book, choose the Single view from the View tab.
  2. Here you have the option of choosing either a single student to edit their grades or choosing a single grade activity to edit all students enrolled

Student Selection Bar

NOTE: most graded activities are graded from within the activity grading page but changes or overrides can be done directly in the grade book either in the grader report or here in the Single view.

User report

  1. In the grade book, choose the User report from the View tab.
          
  2. In the upper right corner, choose a student or all students.   User Report Page 
  3. You’ll see the student’s User report.  The User report is the view that the student sees when he or she clicks on Grades in the course.   Each student only sees their own user report.     

            

Setting the Aggregation Method for the Course

FoxTALE allows you to determine how the grades are aggregated for the overall course or for a category.  The aggregation determines how grades in the overall course or in a category are combined. The default setting is Simple weighted mean of grades.

  1. In the grade book, choose Setup and Categories and items page tab.      
     
  2. You’ll see the Simple view of all graded course activities with the course title shown at the top.
         
  3. Click the Edit link to the right of the course title to set the course aggregation type.


  1. Click the question mark icon to the right of Aggregation to see this list of aggregation methods:
  • Mean of grades - The sum of all grades divided by the total number of grades
  • Weighted mean of grades - generally used for categories. For more information see the article titled "FoxTALE Advanced Gradebook." 
  • Simple weighted mean of grades (MOST COMMON)- most commonly used for simple grading scheme.  Points earned out of possible points. 100 point assignment has weight 100, 10 point assignment has weight 10.
  • Mean of grades with extra credits - Obsolete; DO NOT USE.
  • Median of grades - The middle grade when grades are arranged in order of size
  • Lowest grade
  • Highest grade
  • Mode of grades - The grade that occurs the most frequently
  • Natural - The sum of all grade values, scaled by weight with scale grades being ignored - see the article titled "FoxTALE Natural Weighting in Gradebook."

Handling Empty Grades

You can specify whether or not to include empty grades in calculations and totals.  An empty grade is a blank grade that automatically appears as a hyphen.  Enter a zero to signify that a student receives a zero for a particular activity.

If you check Aggregate only non-empty grades (checked by default), then FoxTALE will ignore empty grades in calculating the course total.  You can uncheck the box if you want empty grades to be aggregated as zeros. (can be done at the end of the course)  

NOTE: Leaving it checked produces the result that future assignments do not count against a student’s course total and gives an accurate report of how a student is doing at that point in time.  

To manage this setting, select the inline edit link in the Categories and items tab.
     Show More in Grade Category Section

Exclude Empty Grades Selection in Grade Category Section

Hiding Graded Activities

The default setting for the Gradebook is to “Show totals excluding hidden items”.  You have the option to change this setting if desired.

    Hiding Graded Activities Option

Changing Grades

FoxTALE allows you to change grades in the grade book or in an individual activity such as an assignment, forum, or quiz by creating an override.

In the Activity (assignment)

To change a grade in an individual activity, go to the course home page, open the activity and follow these instructions:

  • Forums – Open the discussion or posts that were rated, and change the rating.
  • Assignments – Click the View/grade all submissions link on the assignment homepage to view and change the grades.
  • Quizzes – FoxTALE automatically grades quiz questions with the exception of essay questions.  You can override a grade on a question by opening the quiz and clicking Attempts.  Click the student’s grade, and you’ll see the student’s answers.  Click the Make comment or override mark link to change the grade for that question.

In the Grade Book

If you change a grade in the gradebook, you will no longer be able to change the grade in the activity unless you uncheck the Overridden property, as shown below.  To change a grade in the grade book:        

  1. In the grade book, click in any cell in any assignment
  2. Change the numeric grade and click Update in the bottom of the screen.  If you would like to add feedback, click the gear icon (Edit grade) directly above the numeric grade.        
    Gradebook Screen

  3. In the example below, we changed Andrew’s grade from 6.67 to 8.0.  FoxTALE colors the block to show that this grade was overridden.  
         Example of Grade Change

At this point, you cannot change the grade in the original activity (forum, assignment, quiz, etc.).  To revert the grade back to the original grade and restore the ability to change the grade in the original activity:

  1. Click the gear icon (Edit grade) next to the grade. Example of How to Edit a Grade
  1. Uncheck the Overridden box.  Click Save changes at the bottom.  

     Location of the Overrideen Box

  1. The grade reverts back to the original grade, and the color is removed.  
                Reverted Grade Example

Excluding a Student from a Grade

For special circumstances, FoxTALE allows you to exclude a student from a grade so that the grade is not included in the aggregation computation.  An example might be extending grace on an assignment to a student who was seriously ill.  The simple method is to use the Single View, where you can select an individual student or a specific assignment and check the box to exclude.  You can also exclude from the main Grader report page shown here.

  1. In the Grades module, go to the Grader report.

  2. Click Turn editing on in the upper right corner.

  3. Click the gear icon (edit grade) next to the grade you want to exclude.  
     
  4. Check the Excluded box, and click Save Changes at the bottom.  
         Location of Grade Exclusion Button

    1. The exclusion will show in the grade book with an Excluded label.  The numeric grade will be ignored in the aggregation calculation.
       

        Gradebook with Excluded Grade

This can also be done in the Single View for this activity or for an individual student.

Extra Credit

Any assignment, forum, or quiz activity can be marked as extra credit in the Gradebook Setup.

Note: Marking an assignment as “extra credit” is only available where the course or category aggregation is set to “Natural” or “Simple weighted mean of grades”, thus in a weighted gradebook the extra credit item must be located in a category with “Simple weighted mean of grades”.  If you have a gradebook setup with weighted categories, refer to the article titled "FoxTALE Advanced Gradebook." 

Procedure

With an existing assignment or a newly created assignment.

Go to Administration>Gradebook Setup.  

Inline with your extra credit item, at the right select Edit>Edit settings

Extra Credit Option in Gradebook Setup

  1. Scroll down to check the box for extra credit and save changes.

Location of Extra Credit SelectionExplanation of Extra Credit Setting in FoxTALE

The amount of extra credit points should be relative to the total number of points possible in the category or course. The extra credit points will be added to the student score but not to the points possible in the category or course.  As you increase the percentage of extra credit there is a potential to dramatically change the student’s course grade.

Example:

Course Total possible points - 650/650 or 100%

Extra Credit assignment points - 20

20 points is 3% of the course total.   As you increase the percentage of extra credit there is a potential to dramatically change the student’s course grade.

Student's end of course total without extra credit is 580/650 points or 89%

With 20 points extra credit added - 600/650 or 92.3%

Extra credit adds to the students points without adding to the course total.

NOTE: If the extra credit grade is in a weighted category, the result will be contained within the category. Refer to this guide - "FoxTALE Faculty: Advanced Gradebook."

  1. Save changes at the bottom.
  2. A “plus” icon now displays with the assignment, indicating extra credit.

Example of How Extra Credit Will Showup on Course Home Page

Letter Grades        

Viewing or Changing Letter Grade Ranges        

  1. From the course home page, go to Administration > Course Administration > Grades.

  2. Choose the Letters tab.  
         
  3. You will see FoxTALE’s default letter grades.  To change any of the letter grade boundaries, click the Edit grade letters link.  
         
  4. Check the Override site defaults box. Change the desired letter grade boundaries, and click Save changes at the bottom of the screen.         

Viewing Letter Grades for the Course Total        

  1. In the Grades module, go to the Setup tab and Course grade settings

  2. Scroll down, and change the Grade display type to Letter to show only the letter grade or to Real (letter) to show the numeric grade with the letter grade in parentheses.  Click Save changes at the bottom of the screen.        

  3. Click the View tab to return to the grader report to see the letter grades for the Course total at the far right of the grade book.      

Rounding Grade Calculations

FoxTALE uses five decimal places in performing all grade calculations.  Even if you choose to display fewer decimal places, all five decimal places will be used for grade calculations.

Back Up Your Grades

It’s a good idea to back up your grades periodically.  You can download the grades to Excel as described below, and keep copies of the Excel files outside of FoxTALE.  The Faculty Handbook requires that you keep five years of grade files.        

Download Your Gradebook to Excel or Text        

  1. From the course home page, go to Administration > Course Administration > Grades.

  2. Choose the Export page tab, and choose Excel spreadsheet.  (To download to a text file, choose Plain text file.)    
         
  3. Choose desired options and items to include.  If you have set up grade categories, you can choose whether to export the categories.   Click Submit at the bottom.

  4. FoxTALE shows you a preview of the data to export.  Click Download.  Depending on your browser settings, you’ll have the choice to open or save the file.          

What do students see?        

Students can click the Grades link in the Navigation block of the course home page.

Navigation Block 

        

Each student will see a User report, which shows a list of his or her grades and feedback for each graded activity and the course total.  The student can click on each activity to see the activity details and instructions.             

        User Report Screen

A student can also choose to view an Overview report, which shows current course total grades in all FoxTALE courses in which the student is enrolled.

Questions? Contact the Service Desk | servicedesk@georgefox.edu | 503-554-2569