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Sakai 21 - Gradebook: What should I consider before sharing grade distributions with students?
What should I consider before sharing grade distributions with students?
As a rule of thumb, we recommend instructors not share grade distributions with students for class sizes below 10 students. The smaller the class size is, the more likely students can ascertain one another’s grades as illustrated below with a simple example.
An instructor can share grade distributions using two distinct Gradebook options in the Statistics section of the Settings tab for sharing grade related distributions with students:
Display to students the point distribution for all gradebook items
Display to students the course grade distribution
Note that for the latter to take effect, the Display final course grade to students setting under Grade Release Rules must also be enabled. The Statistics options in the Settings tab are depicted below.
Note: Both of the Gradebook Statistics options will always have an unchecked state by default in a new course site. This holds true even if you have imported Gradebook content from another site where either of these options are checked. This means that an instructor must manually check these options and save the changed settings in order to enable the sharing of grade distributions with students in a course site. The aforementioned behavior, which requires manual intervention by an instructor, is intentionally implemented as a precautionary measure.
A Simple Example
As noted above, the smaller the class size is, the more likely students can ascertain one another’s grades. This may be best illustrated with the simplest example: a class with only two students. Consider the following gradebook where both Gradebook Statistics options for sharing grade distributions are checked, and Display final course grade to students is also checked so that course grade distributions will display to students.
The following graph illustrates the point distribution for the Essay 1 gradebook item that is shared with both students. (The point distributions for all other gradebook items would also be shared assuming that those gradebook items are released to students.)
And the following graph illustrates the course grade distribution that is shared with both students.
Given that each student will see their own scores and course grade in Gradebook, access to the grade distributions above would grant each student the means to ascertain the scores and course grade for the other student. The ability to derive what other students’ grades are diminishes with an increase in class size.