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Assess discussion topics

You can evaluate users' individual posts and have Learning Environment automatically calculate a topic score for each user, or you can assign a topic score directly to each user. If you choose to assess individual posts, you can specify how you want the system to calculate each user’s overall topic score in the Posts section of the Assessment tab when you edit a topic.

Calculation methods

There are five possible calculation methods that you can select when configuring a topic for assessment.

  • Average post score: This calculation method averages all of the post scores included per user.
  • Maximum post score: This calculation method identifies the highest score of all the post scores included per user.
  • Minimum post score: This calculation method identifies the lowest score of all the post scores included per user.
  • Mode post score - Highest on multiple: This calculation method looks at the frequency of scores on posts, then selects the highest occurrence of a score per user. Once it picks the frequency, the system looks to see if multiple scores occur at that frequency. If not, it assigns that score to the user. If there are multiple scores with the same frequency, it will choose the highest of those scores. For example, if a score of 7 occurs 2 times, a score of 8 occurs 3 times, and a score of 9 occurs 3 times, the system will choose the frequency 3 and the score of 9.
  • Mode post score - Lowest on multiple: This calculation method looks at the frequency of scores on posts, then selects the highest occurrence of a score per user. Once it picks the frequency, the system looks to see if multiple scores occur at that frequency. If not, it assigns that score to the user. If there are multiple scores with the same frequency, it will choose the lowest of those scores. For example, if a score of 7 occurs 2 times, a score of 8 occurs 3 times, and a score of 9 occurs 3 times, the system will choose the frequency 3 and the score of 8.

Configure a topic for assessment

  1. On the Discussions List page, click Edit Topic from the context menu of the topic you want to configure.
  1. Click the Assessment tab.
  2. If you want to link a topic score to a grade item, select your Grade Item from the drop-down list, or click New Grade Item to create a grade item for the topic in a pop-up window.
  3. Specify the number you want to Score Out Of. This is the scale, ranging from zero to the number you enter, that users are evaluated on. For example, if you enter 15, users are assessed on a scale from zero to fifteen.
  4. Click Add Rubric to associate the topic with one or more rubrics. Click the Create Rubric in New Window link to create a new rubric.

    Note: A Rubrics section displays in the collapsible Description area of the topic, containing links to any rubrics you associate with the topic. Clicking on a rubric link will open the rubric in a pop-up window, allowing users to preview the expectations for the topic.

  5. If you want to assess individual posts (rather than assigning an overall topic score directly for each user):
    • Select the Allow assessment of individual posts check box.
    • Select the Calculation method you want to use to determine users’ overall topic scores based on post scores. See above for more information.
    • By default, the system ignores unassessed posts when calculating the topic score. However, if you want the calculation to treat unassessed posts as if those posts receive a score of zero, select the Include unassessed posts in the calculated score as zero check box.
  6. Click Save and Close.

Assess within discussions: individual posts

You can assess users from inside a discussion topic while reading posts or from the Assess Topic page. Assessing users from within the topic lets you read users’ posts in context and evaluate them as you perform other reading-related tasks (approving posts, marking posts as read, replying, etc.). When assessing users from the Assess Topic page, you can see topic scores for all users and view all of a user’s posts together on one screen. Assessable topics display an Includes assessment icon beside the topic name in the Discussions List.

To assess individual post, you must select the Allow assessment of individual posts check box in the Assessment tab of the Edit Topic page.

  1. On the Discussions List page, click on the specific thread you want to assess.
  1. Click Assess Student from the thread title's context menu.
  1. Enter grade score and comments (if necessary). Click Save and Close.

Assess within discussions: entire topics

To assess an entire topic, you must clear the Allow assessment of individual posts check box in the Assessment tab of the Edit Topic page.

  1. Click Assess Topic from the topic title's context menu.
  1. Click Topic Score beside each student you want to assess to enter a grade score and comments (if necessary). Click Save and then Close.