I'm a teacher at a community college in Arkansas with a pretty big question...

Over the last year I've developed a new grading and assignment delivery model for my classes that I've just started implementing this semester. The model is based on models of challenge, progress, and reward that have been used in role-playing games for decades.

Basically, students grades are calculated additively, with each assignment worth a set amount of "experience points" based on its relative difficulty. Students are awarded a percentage of those experience points based on their relative success in completing the assignment. As students gain experience, they "level up." As they level up, they gain access to progressively more difficult assignments (that are worth greater amounts of points), and they also gain abilities that allow them to alter the course requirements in their favor (e.g., free absences, essay rewrites, etc.).

This classroom model gives students freedom (or at least the illusion of freedom) to choose their assignments from a pre-selected list in whatever order they want. They can progress at their own pace, and their final grade in the class is based on the last level they achieve by the end of the semester.

My questions is this: is there a way to use Moodle to help me run this class? I'm currently using Moodle as my primary delivery method for assignments and as a hub to allow students to discuss work and ask questions, but I can't figure out if there's a way to translate the grading system into the Moodle gradebook. I also have no way to set assignment time limits on an individual basis - I'd like to create a system whereby an individual student will select an assignment through Moodle, and his/her deadline for completing that assignment will be based on the day she/he chooses to start the assignment.

Any suggestions? Any help at all would be greatly appreciated

PS - I'm attaching a pdf of the grading and course policy sections of my syllabus for further reference.

### A new grading format

Number of replies: 7### Re: A new grading format

Interesting model.

If you deliver assignments through quizzes you can use the quiz time limit to make the deadline depend on the start time on an individual basis.

Managing access to activities may be done by groups and grouping. You can have a group for each experience level and add students to these groups when they meet the requirements. I don't think this could be automated. There is conditional activity locking functionality which may automate some aspects of this requirement and may be worth exploring (in 1.9 it is a plugin and in 2.0 integral).

I'm not sure, however, why the added complexity of progress is any more effective than simply offering assignments in different levels of difficulty and let students attempt and collect all-or-nothing points.

Also, some of the rewards seem to me counterproductive (e.g. 'free absence' (that is, the whole idea of mandatory attendance to begin with seems to me counterproductive)).

hth

If you deliver assignments through quizzes you can use the quiz time limit to make the deadline depend on the start time on an individual basis.

Managing access to activities may be done by groups and grouping. You can have a group for each experience level and add students to these groups when they meet the requirements. I don't think this could be automated. There is conditional activity locking functionality which may automate some aspects of this requirement and may be worth exploring (in 1.9 it is a plugin and in 2.0 integral).

I'm not sure, however, why the added complexity of progress is any more effective than simply offering assignments in different levels of difficulty and let students attempt and collect all-or-nothing points.

Also, some of the rewards seem to me counterproductive (e.g. 'free absence' (that is, the whole idea of mandatory attendance to begin with seems to me counterproductive)).

hth

### Re: A new grading format

Thanks so much for the feedback! I'm going to try out the grouping idea and the quiz time limits to see how they work.

As far as automation goes, I'm less concerned about that - primarily I'm trying to find ways to integrate the point and level system into the grading somehow. Conceptually I have an idea of how to do it (change letter grades to levels, set aggregation to sum, etc.), but the biggest problems I'm currently facing are:

1.) How to differentiate between the grading system on individual assignments vs. the overall level system in the gradebook (I understand what you're saying about the all-or-nothing scoring, which I have been considering, but I was hoping to do something a little more incremental. Especially since I'm trying to encourage students to push themselves to succeed when challenged.)

2.) How to set point values over 100 for assignments (I know having point values in the 1000s may seem ridiculous, but you'd be surprised at how much more exciting the students have been due to the big numbers. Big numbers are fun )

As far as attendance goes, the school where I teach has serious problems with retention (as do many of our community colleges). This course model is, in part, an attempt to address retention by developing intrinsic motivation and encouraging community development in the classroom. I have the students working on a lot of collaborative, community service based projects in the classroom and participating in writing workshops, so attendance is an integral part of encouraging them to build relationships with their classmates.

Once again, thanks for the help on this! It's greatly appreciated

As far as automation goes, I'm less concerned about that - primarily I'm trying to find ways to integrate the point and level system into the grading somehow. Conceptually I have an idea of how to do it (change letter grades to levels, set aggregation to sum, etc.), but the biggest problems I'm currently facing are:

1.) How to differentiate between the grading system on individual assignments vs. the overall level system in the gradebook (I understand what you're saying about the all-or-nothing scoring, which I have been considering, but I was hoping to do something a little more incremental. Especially since I'm trying to encourage students to push themselves to succeed when challenged.)

2.) How to set point values over 100 for assignments (I know having point values in the 1000s may seem ridiculous, but you'd be surprised at how much more exciting the students have been due to the big numbers. Big numbers are fun )

As far as attendance goes, the school where I teach has serious problems with retention (as do many of our community colleges). This course model is, in part, an attempt to address retention by developing intrinsic motivation and encouraging community development in the classroom. I have the students working on a lot of collaborative, community service based projects in the classroom and participating in writing workshops, so attendance is an integral part of encouraging them to build relationships with their classmates.

Once again, thanks for the help on this! It's greatly appreciated

### Re: A new grading format

1) Suppose you have three difficulty levels K, L, M and 10 assignments in each level such that K assignments require K skills, L assignments require K+L skills, and M assignments require K+L+M skills. Now, a student may select any subset of assignments from the 30 and depending on the points system, the selection with the student performance will determine the number of points earned and the final grade. Completing all and only M assignments successfully may be enough for a grade A. But since M assignments depend on the preceding categories it may be wiser to attempt some assignments in each category in order. That's part of the learning. A mix of assignments from all categories should also be enough for a grade A. Some students will do less, other more. But its their decision. At any rate it simplifies the grading scheme because then all the assignments are available to everyone although not necessarily all at the same time and the total is the sum.

2) You can use scales. So a scale may be 1000,2000,3000,.... In the grade book the real values of the scale are integers 1,2,3,.... You should be able to use the multiplicator in the grade item to shift these real values to the thousands.

2) You can use scales. So a scale may be 1000,2000,3000,.... In the grade book the real values of the scale are integers 1,2,3,.... You should be able to use the multiplicator in the grade item to shift these real values to the thousands.

### Re: A new grading format

There are some interesting ideas there. Just checking I understand what you're trying to do.

So when a student completes an assignment do they always get the maximum of points for that activity? ie if an activity is worth 10 points does someone completing it always get 10 points or can they get 7/10 for example.

Rather than basing the student's grade on how they performed on a set of assignments that all students complete students complete a subset of the assignments with each completed assignment contributing points towards their total. So some of the harder assignments may only have a handful of the more advanced students attempt them. Is that correct?

"I'd like to create a system whereby an individual student will select an assignment through Moodle, and his/her deadline for completing that assignment will be based on the day she/he chooses to start the assignment."

That seems like a really good idea but I'm not aware of a way to do that right now. I'll ask around. Out of the box assignments assume you want the whole class to proceed in lockstep with the same due dates for everyone. Optionally allowing students to self pace seems like it would have a lot of applications.

So when a student completes an assignment do they always get the maximum of points for that activity? ie if an activity is worth 10 points does someone completing it always get 10 points or can they get 7/10 for example.

Rather than basing the student's grade on how they performed on a set of assignments that all students complete students complete a subset of the assignments with each completed assignment contributing points towards their total. So some of the harder assignments may only have a handful of the more advanced students attempt them. Is that correct?

"I'd like to create a system whereby an individual student will select an assignment through Moodle, and his/her deadline for completing that assignment will be based on the day she/he chooses to start the assignment."

That seems like a really good idea but I'm not aware of a way to do that right now. I'll ask around. Out of the box assignments assume you want the whole class to proceed in lockstep with the same due dates for everyone. Optionally allowing students to self pace seems like it would have a lot of applications.

### Re: A new grading format

Just had a quick word with Tomaz. He pointed out conditional activities. http://docs.moodle.org/en/Conditional_activities

New in Moodle 2.0 and may get you much of what you want although I'm not yet particularly familiar with how they work.

New in Moodle 2.0 and may get you much of what you want although I'm not yet particularly familiar with how they work.

### Re: A new grading format

Also, thank you so much for the info on the conditional activities. I'm running 1.9 now, but I may try that test version of 2.0 on a separate subdomain just to play with that feature.

### Re: A new grading format

To answer your questions...

Students are awarded a percentage of the total points for an assignment based on their success in meeting the requirements of the assignment. I set five success levels worth between 20% and 100% of the assignment value (in 20% increments). So a student who is mostly successful in completing an assignment might earn 80% of the total points for that assignment. If that student attempted an assignment worth 2000 points, they would receive 1600 for their effort.

Students don't have to complete all of the assignments to get an A in the class; in fact, if they do well, they don't even have to complete a quarter of the available assignments. I wanted to give them a certain amount of agency as they approach their work in the class, but also encourage them to challenge themselves.

Because the higher level assignments are worth exponentially more than the lower level assignments, they're strongly encouraged to attempt the highest level assignment that's available to them (thus encouraging them to constantly challenge their abilities), but a student could pass the class just by completing lower level assignments and attending class regularly. Conversely, a student could skip a lot of class and make up for it by picking up extra assignments. My point being: there are lots of ways to pass the class

Students are awarded a percentage of the total points for an assignment based on their success in meeting the requirements of the assignment. I set five success levels worth between 20% and 100% of the assignment value (in 20% increments). So a student who is mostly successful in completing an assignment might earn 80% of the total points for that assignment. If that student attempted an assignment worth 2000 points, they would receive 1600 for their effort.

Students don't have to complete all of the assignments to get an A in the class; in fact, if they do well, they don't even have to complete a quarter of the available assignments. I wanted to give them a certain amount of agency as they approach their work in the class, but also encourage them to challenge themselves.

Because the higher level assignments are worth exponentially more than the lower level assignments, they're strongly encouraged to attempt the highest level assignment that's available to them (thus encouraging them to constantly challenge their abilities), but a student could pass the class just by completing lower level assignments and attending class regularly. Conversely, a student could skip a lot of class and make up for it by picking up extra assignments. My point being: there are lots of ways to pass the class