by Dana Bodewes, Instructional Designer
Efforts to increase student retention have highlighted the importance of supporting student success. While grades are not the be-all and end-all of college learning, it is still important for students to be able to easily monitor their learning progress. With access to tools like the Sakai Gradebook, students should not need to email their professors to determine their academic status. Frequent, formative assessment combined with transparency and communication are key for student success.
The Sakai Gradebook is one way to communicate student learning progress. As an instructional designer, I believe that every course at PLU should be utilizing the Sakai Gradebook because it:
- Is private, online, and accessible to all students
- Allows students to see a comprehensive overview of all graded activities
- Calculates a student’s current standing
- Allows comments to be shared along with the grade for an item
- Allows for organization by categories and weighted course grade calculations
- Displays the current average course grade, for the instructor’s reference
- Calculates the average score of each gradebook item, for the instructor’s reference
- Can display scores from assignments, discussions, and quizzes in Sakai
Setting up a Sakai Gradebook is quite simple. Generally, I recommend instructors:
- Create a gradebook item for every graded activity
- Use categories to organize gradebooks containing more than ten activities
- Enter all items into Gradebook at the beginning of the term, rather than entering items as they are graded
- Consider using the Sakai Assignments tool to communicate assignment directions, share assignment resources, and/or collect digital copies of student work.
If you are not yet using the Sakai Gradebook in your courses, the time to start is now! Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), gather your syllabi, and we can build your gradebooks together in a one-on-one meeting. Using the Sakai Gradebook is a simple strategy that your students will appreciate.