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Online Studies: Blog

Updates, tutorials, and tips for Falcon Online and distance education.

Bonus Items

by Aaron Sunday on 2018-11-06T07:56:07-05:00 | Comments

If you use them, make them count! bonus points icon

Bonus items are an excellent means for instructors to provide added scoring opportunities for their students, but they make possible for a student to earn higher than the points specified in the course.  A scenario that exists through a mix of settings in the grade items and categories can omit bonus items from the Final Calculated Grade.  As a result, instructors must set up their grade books for Bonus items to be included in the Final Calculated Grade.  If you are using Bonus items, we realize you should learn the combination so you can go through the grade book to make certain the accuracy of the Final Calculated Grade.

I will provide an example of a standalone Bonus item, a category with a Bonus item, and it will include the Grading properties you must set to ensure the Bonus items, both standalone and within a category, will be included in the Final Calculated Grade.  I will lay out the circumstances and the result of not setting up the Bonus items correctly in Example #2.

Example #1

I have a 10-point Bonus item, Extra Credit #1, as a standalone item.  I refer to standalone grade items as items not within a category.  In addition, I have an Extra Credit category with a 100-point Bonus item, Extra Credit #2. 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1 Manage Grades view with Bonus items

The only Grading property enabled on Extra Credit #1 is ‘Bonus.’

Mangage Grades view with bonus items

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 2 Correct Grading properties for Extra Credit #1

The Help Help iconicon for a Bonus item states, “Bonus items are not included in the maximum points for a category or final grade. They are added on top of the calculated grade.  Bonus items cannot make users’ grades exceed the maximum points specified unless the ‘Can Exceed’ choice is selected.”  Every sentence is essential in the Help statement because D2L identifies the differences between a category, final grade calculation, and the need for ‘Can Exceed'.  In Example #1, I did not set ‘Can Exceed’ for Extra Credit #1 because it is not part of a category.  Therefore, Extra Credit #1 is part of the Final Calculated Grade. 

Before I present the grade book in the Enter Grades view, I will explain the Extra Credit category and Extra Credit #2 Bonus item.  The only Grading property enabled on the grade item Extra Credit #2 is ‘Bonus’.  This is sufficient because the item is within a category, and I set the Grading properties at the category level.

Correct Grading properties for Extra Credit #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 3 Correct Grading properties for Extra Credit #2

Compare the Grading properties of both Bonus items to the properties for the Extra Credit category.

Correct Grading properties for the Extra Credit category

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4 Correct Grading properties for the Extra Credit category

Notice there is not an option to identify the Extra Credit category as ‘Bonus’.  Remember, the condition to include Extra Credit #2 in the Final Calculated Grade is to enable ‘Can Exceed’ within the Grading properties of the Extra Credit grade category. 

In Enter Grades, you see the student received 210/100 points because he made 110 points through the bonus items.

Enter Grades view with correct Final Calculated Grade

 

 

 

 

 
Figure 5 Enter Grades view with correct Final Calculated Grade

The Final Calculated Grade is accurate because the correct Grading properties are set at the grade item and category levels.

Example #2

The Grading properties for Bonus items Extra Credit #1 and #2 are set correctly.  However, the Grading properties are not set correctly for the Extra Credit category because ‘Can Exceed’ is not enabled.  If the Extra Credit category is not set up with ‘Can Exceed’ enabled, the Final Calculated Grade is not correct because “Bonus items are not included in the maximum points for a category or final grade… unless the Can Exceed option is selected.”

Incorrect Grading properties for Extra Credit category

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 6 Incorrect Grading properties for Extra Credit category

Notice the Final Calculated Grade is 110/100 because the student received none for Extra Credit #2.

Incorrect Final Calculate Grade

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 7 Incorrect Final Calculated Grade

In addition, the Extra Credit category does not have a subtotal because “Bonus items are not included in the maximum points for a category…and cannot make users’ grades exceed the maximum points specified unless the Can Exceed option is selected.”  ‘Can Exceed’ is not enabled at the category level, therefore the category subtotal is ‘0’ and omitted from the final calculated grade. 

As a best practice, I recommend enabling ‘Can Exceed’ for every grading category regardless of the grade items.  Otherwise, create your Bonus items as standalone grades so they are always part of the Final Calculated Grade.  Moral of the story, “If you opt for bonus items and place them within a category, enable ‘Can Exceed’!”

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Aaron Sunday
Instructional Designer, Division of Online Studies
aaron.sunday@daytonastate.edu | 386-506-3209 
http://www.daytonastate.edu/onlinestudies/


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