Question Weighting and Rubric Calculation

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This article discusses how question weighting is applied and how it translates when grading. This topic can become confusing when grading rubrics and partial credit for questions, so included in this article is an explanation of how rubrics are calculated into a grade.


Question Weighting
There are several methods to weight questions, but we use an interface that is extremely flexible to suit most needs. 

The weighting feature can be found by going to the Lessons/Assessments tab, clicking Actions>Edit, selecting the lesson's top slide thumbnail on the left, and clicking the link on the slide view that says "Edit Questions Weighting." The weighting interface looks like this:

 
To adjust the weight of a question, click the small blue up/down arrows for that question. 
 
Points & Percentage:
Points can total any number. Points-based reports (like the Item Analysis - Points report) will show the total points you see here, and the points possible for each question.

Percent, in effect, represents the weight each question will have in the grade. As you change the number of points, the percentage of all questions will change to equal a total of 100%. 

TIP: It may be easier to adjust weights using points, because points "stay where you set them," whereas percents will constantly recalculate with each click on a weight adjustment arrow. Only at the end of your adjusting will ANY percents say what you want them to say!


How points and weights work together - some examples:
If I have 5 questions and leave them at their default of 1 point, they will each be worth 20% of the grade. Missing 1 question would earn me a grade of 80. 

If all questions are worth 2 points, they will each still be worth 20% of the final grade since their weight is equal, and missing one question would still result in a grade of 80. 

If I set the first four questions to 1 point each, and the last question to 6 points (keeping the math easy - 4+6=10!), the first four will be worth 10% of the grade each, and the last question would be worth 60%. If I miss the first question only, I will get a grade of 90. If I miss the last question only, I will get a grade of 40. 


How to set a group of questions to a combined weight - an example:

Let's say you have 35 multiple-choice questions that you want to be worth a combined 70% of the grade: Dividing 70 by 35 shows they need to be 2 points each. Then, you have 5 short-answer questions that you want to be worth the remaining 30% of the grade altogether: Dividing 30 by 5 shows each question needs to be worth 6 points each.
 
NOTE 1: In our example, since our points were all divisible by 2, we could have set questions 1-35 to 1 point each, and questions 36-40 to 3 points each. The weight percentages would have been the same, though the total points would be 50. 
 
NOTE 2: Points can only be set as whole numbers, so if you find your "points each" number is a decimal, find a common multiple that will get all questions to whole numbers (multiples of 10's will always work to turn decimals into whole numbers, but a smaller common multiple may work, depending.)
 
 

How Rubrics are Scored

Max Value
When you create a rubric, you set the "Max Value." This has nothing to do with the weight, or how many points the rubric will be worth in the assessment. It represents the granularity by which you can reduce credit during grading - the number of notches on the slider you'll slide to reduce the score. For example, a max value of 10 will mean you can slide the slider to 9, giving the student 90% of that rubric's possible points or weight within the assessment. A max value of 2 would only give you the options of giving full credit, half credit, or no credit.

 
 
How Weighting for a Rubric will Affect the Grade - an example:
If a rubric that has a value of 10 (meaning 10 notches on the slider), setting it to 5 will give the student 50% of the possible points for that rubric. 

If the rubric has weighting applied (see above explanation of weighting) and it is worth 30% of the grade, and if the student gets every other question correct but gets only 5/10ths of the possible value for that rubric (half the possible points), they would get a total grade on the assessment of 85 (15 points off - half of its weight in the assessment out of 30%).
 
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