How does Forums tally Read statistics?
The accounting method that the Forums tool uses for counting messages a student has read typically underestimates what a student may have actually read. When a student clicks to open a conversation or thread within a topic, that action does not mark any of the posts in that conversation as read. Only clicking on the title of each of the posts will do so or clicking on the "Mark as Read" or "Mark All as Read" buttons that are associated with the conversation. For example, when a student clicks on a conversation link and scrolls to read all the posts, this action is not accounted for in the "Read" tally. The accounting method in Forums seems to assume that the student could have ignored any or all of the posts in that conversation.
Because of this accounting method and the inherent ambiguity involved, instructors are encouraged not to focus much on the "Read", "Unread", and "Percent Read" tallies in the Forums grading views. Instead, when evaluating a student's participation in a forum or topic, instructors would be better equipped to focus on the student's written (authored) content-- from which an instructor might get a more accurate sense of how carefully a student had read others' posts.