Sapling Learning > Advanced Gradebook Settings

Document created by Digital Support on Jan 25, 2017Last modified by Digital Support on Jul 27, 2017
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Grade Aggregation

The way in which the individual activity scores are summed or averaged to give the overall score is called the aggregation. The aggregation for the gradebook (and each subcategory, if applicable) can be one of the following options.

  • Mean of grades: (70/100 + 20/80 + 10/10)/3 = (0.7 + 0.25 + 1.0)/3 = 0.65 = 65/100
    All activities are weighted equally regardless of the number of points each is worth. In other words, the scores are normalized before being averaged.
  • Weighted mean of grades: You must enter a weight for each score. The weights are relative and do not need to sum to any particular value.
  • Simple weighted mean of grades [RECOMMENDED]: uses the point-value of each activity as its relative weight. 70/100 + 20/80 + 10/10 = 100/190 = 52.6/100
  • Mean of grades (with extra credits): Unsupported aggregation provided here only for backward compatibility with old activities.
  • Median of grades: The middle grade (or the mean of the two middle grades) when grades are arranged in order of size.
  • Lowest grade: the smallest grade after normalization
  • Highest grade: the largest grade after normalization
  • Mode of grades: the grade that occurs the most frequently
  • Sum of grades: Straight sum with no normalization. 70/100 + 20/80 + 10/10 = 100/190
    Although this aggregation results in the same overall score as “simple weighted mean”, it does not offer an option to “aggregate only non-empty”, that is, count only the scores that have been assigned so far.

To change the aggregation...

  1. From your main course page, click Grades.

  1. Click the Categories and Items tab at the top.

  1. Click Full View.

  1. In the column labeled “Aggregation”, you’ll see a dropdown menu for each category or subcategory in your course. Click in the menu and select the desired choice. Your changes will automatically be saved.

Grade Categories

A grade category is a way to group activities that should be aggregated separately than others. For example, if you have both homework and essays in Sapling Learning, you may want to create a “homework” category to produce a “Homework Average” that is separate from the “Essay Average” in the “Essays” category. Categories can be nested inside other categories. The aggregation for each category or subcategory can be set individually.


To create a grade category...

  1. Click Grades on your main course page

  1. Click the Categories and Items tab.

  1. Scroll to the very bottom of the page and click Add category.

To edit an existing grade category...

  1. Click Grades on your main course page.

  1. Click the Categories and Items tab.
  1. Click the pencil icon in the shaded bar containing the category name.

Category Settings

Here are the options available to you when creating or editing a grade category. You may need to click Show Advanced to see all options.

  • Category name
  • Aggregation (see above)
  • Aggregate only non-empty grades: When checked, blank scores are ignored in the overall score. When unchecked, a blank score is treated as a zero toward the overall score.
  • Included excluded or in-progress scores: When checked, green scores always count toward the overall score. When unchecked, green scores only count for open-ended activities (those with no due date). To ignore all green scores, make sure this option is unchecked and that your activities all have due dates.
  • Keep the highest: optional setting. Choose “none” to ignore.
  • Drop the lowest: optional setting. This will override the “keep the highest” setting if both are set to a number.
  • Category total name: This label will show up next to the overall score for that category. If left blank, the label will show as “Category total”.
  • Item info: A space for entering information about the item. Text entered does not appear anywhere else.
  • ID number: Setting an ID number provides a way of identifying the activity for manual grade calculation purposes. If the activity is not included in any manual grade calculation then the ID number field can be left blank. The ID numbers may also be set on the formula page.
  • Grade type: Use “Value” for nearly every case. “None” may be used if you don’t want to have an overall score for that category (or to hide the overall score from students). “Text” may be used if you want to use the feedback field only. “Scale” is not supported.
  • Maximum grade: the total number of points the category is worth. This is auto-set for the sum aggregation, but configurable in other aggregations. Choose 100 to display scores as percentages. For Sapling activities (those with the leaf icon ), a change made to the max grade (denominator) will automatically scale the numerator accordingly (e.g., if you change the max grade from 100 to 50, a score of 40/100 changes to 20/50). Scores for external grade items do not scale with the max grade.
  • Grade to pass: Sets a threshold above which the overall scores show as green and below which they show as red.
  • Grade display type: Choose real, percentage, letter, or any combination of two of those. Letter grade cut-offs may be set on the “Letters” tab.
  • Overall decimal points: Specifies the number of decimal points to display for each grade. This setting has no effect on grade calculations, which are made with an accuracy of 5 decimal places.
  • Hidden: Check the box to hide this category from students. Note that this hides whole category and everything in it, not just the overall score. Checking this box is equivalent to closing the “eye” icon under “Categories and Items”.
  • Hidden until: choose a date on which the category will become visible to students.
  • Locked: Prevents the score from changing even if the student continues to do work.
  • Locked after: choose a date after which the score can no longer change.

Extra Credit

  1. From your main course page, click Grades.

  1. Click the Categories and Items tab at the top.

  1. Click Full View.
User-added image
  1. In most aggregations, any item or category can be made extra credit by clicking the checkbox in the Extra Credit column.

  1. If your course already has an extra credit category, you may place activities in that category to count as extra credit rather than checking the box for the assignment itself.