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The Categories screen is the third step/screen used in the 5 steps taken by most teachers when they create a new class. When you create a new class, it automatically gets a default set of categories based on the categories from the last class you created or the system defaults if this is your very first class.

Sub Categories
Scores to Drop
Report Grades
Editing a Category
Copying Categories and Assignments
Copying Classes

Category Name (REQUIRED)
This field classifies assignments by type of work, such as Homework or Tests.

Sub Categories
You can create sub categories (categories within categories) by clicking the "add" link below a category name. You can create as many sub category levels as you wish. A simple two-level example of categories and sub categories an elementary teacher might setup is shown below:

Category Name Category Weight

Category Weight   See also: Grading Period Weights and Class Grading Scale.
This field is not required. This field indicates the relative worth of the category based on a percentage, regardless of the number of assignments or the total point value of the assignments in the category. If you weigh categories, the weight of all categories in a level should equal 100 unless you are using different category weights per grading period.

If you do not want to weigh your categories, either type a zero in each category's weight column, or leave it blank. The weight will then be based on the percentage of the total possible points the students received.

Weighting Example 1:
There are two categories, Homework and Tests. The Homework category is weighted at 80% and the Tests category is weighted at 20%. The student earned 50% of the points in the Homework category and 100% of the points in the Tests category. The students final percentage is computed by multiplying category weight by the percentage of points earned, and then adding those totals:

Category Computation Points
Homework 80 * 50% 40
Tests 20 * 100% 20
Overall Percentage = 60.00

Weighting Example 2 (Nothing scored in some categories):
In this example, there are four categories, Homework = 20%, Labs = 15%, Tests = 45%, and Quizzes = 20%. The student in this example has earned 91% of the points in the Tests category and 78.5% of the points in the Quizzes category. The student has not been scored on anything in the Homework or Labs categories.

Since the student has not been scored in the Homework and Labs categories, the Quizzes and Tests categories actually represent 100% of the students current grade. Consequently, the weights of the Quizzes and Tests categories must be mathematically modified to equal 100% of the current grade.

The actual weights of the two categories where scores were recorded are computed as follows:
  • Tests weight plus Quizzes weight = 65
  • Tests actual weight is 45 divided by 65 = 69.230769%
  • Quizzes actual weight is 20 divided by 65 = 30.769230%
After determining the actual weight of the two categories the student was scored in, the overall percentage is computed by multiplying the percentage the student received in each category by the actual weight of the category and then adding them up as follows:

Category Computation Points
Tests 69.230769 * 91% 63
Quizzes 30.769230 * 78.5% 24.15
Overall Percentage = 87.15

Weighting Example 3 (Different Category Weights Per Grading Period):
You may want to weight categories differently from one grading period to the next. To do this, you create a separate set of categories for each grading period using categories and sub categories. In each grading period, only one set of categories will be used because the assignments in the categories are all due within a specific grading periods date range.

In this example, the class has two grading periods named Semester 1 and Semester 2. The teacher wants to use two categories named Homework and Tests and the teacher wants the weights for the categories to be different for each grading period, as summarized below:

Grading Period Category Name Weight
Semester 1 Homework 40%
Tests 60%
Semester 2 Homework 70%
Tests 30%

To handle the differences in category weights, the teacher creates a Semester 1 category and a Semester 2 category and then uses the "add" links below the category names to create Homework and Tests categories within the Semester 1 and Semester 2 categories:

Category Name Weight
Semester 150%
Semester 250%

When the teacher creates assignments for Semester 1, she makes sure that the assignments are only placed in the two Semester 1 categories and that the due dates are all within the date range of the first grading period. When the teacher creates assignments for Semester 2, she makes sure that the assignments are only placed in the two Semester 2 categories and that the due dates are all within the date range of the second grading period.

When grades are computed for the Semester 1 grading period, the grading engine will ignore the Semester 2 categories because they will have no assignments due within the Semester 1 grading period. The total available weight is 100 (40% assigned to Semester 1 Homework plus 60% from Semester 1 Tests = 100).

We recommend you create master categories and sub categories as described above to organize your categories by grading period but it is not always necessary. For example, if a category has the same weight for all grading periods, you don't need to repeat that category for each grading period:

Grading Period Category Name Weight
Semester 1 Journal 10%
Essays 40%
Tests 30%
Class Participation 20%
Semester 2 Journal 20%
Essays 30%
Tests 30%
Class Participation 20%

Since the Tests and Class Participation categories are weighted the same all year, they don't need to be split up. Here are the categories you could create:

Category Name Weight
Semester 1 Journal10%
Semester 1 Essays40%
Semester 2 Journal20%
Semester 2 Essays30%
Class Participation20%

Scores to Drop
This field indicates the number of lowest scores in the category to eliminate from each student's grade calculation. A Scores to Drop value can only be assigned to a category that has no sub categories. In addition, if there is more than one 0% score, the 0% score with the lowest amount of possible points/weight will be dropped. Furthermore, the Scores to Drop value is ignored when the value of Scores to Drop is greater than or equal to the number of scores actually recorded for a student in assignments with maximum point values greater than zero. For example, if the category is setup to drop the 5 lowest scores and a student only has 3 scores recorded, no scores will be dropped when computing the students grade.

Scores recorded in Extra Credit Assignments are never dropped because they can only help a students grade.

If you use Multiple Grading Periods, the Scores to Drop value affects each grading period in the same way it affects the overall grade. For example, a value of "1" in the Scores to Drop column of a category results in the elimination of the lowest score in each grading period.

See also: Class Grading Periods And Scores To Drop and Category Grade Roll Ups.

Report Grades
The Report Grades check box does not affect the grading calculations. The Report Grades chec kbox controls whether or not grades and percentages are reported for the category in a few screens and reports such as the Category Grades report. Middle school and High School teachers typically leave the box checked for all categories. Elementary teachers often uncheck the box for all categories except the main categories/subjects they are teaching such as "Reading", "Spelling", and "Math".

When students and parents log in to an elementary class, they will see grades for each of the categories that have had the "Report Grades box checked. In addition, the "Overall Summary" section of the teachers Student Summary report will show grades and percentages for the categories that have had the Report Grades box checked instead of overall grade information. Furthermore, the Scores By Student and Scores Spreadsheet input screens will show the grade and percentage for the category selected instead of the overall grade. If the currently selected category is not flagged as reporting grades, the next higher category that has been flagged to report grades is used to report the grade. If "All categories" is selected instead of a specific category, the grade shown is the overall grade.

When the class is not an elementary class, students and parents will see overall grades for the current or selected grading period when they log in and the Report Grades check box has no effect on any of the screens they see. However, the Report Grades check box will affect the secondary teachers Student Summary report "Performance By Category" section which will only show grades and percentages for the categories that have had the "Report Grades box checked.

When you click the Add button, a new page appears that lists all the current categories and 5 empty categories. Enter the name of the category your want to add. If you want to make entries in the other fields of this new category, simply press the Tab key to get to that category or use your mouse to move the cursor. Repeat until you have entered all the information you need for this category. If you decide you do not want to keep this new category, click the Cancel button and you will return to the previous screen with no additions applied. If this is the only category you want to add, either press the Enter key or click the Save button. This will update the file and take you out of editing mode. If you want to add more categories, do not press Enter key or click the Save button. Instead, click in the next available Name field. Repeat as needed until you have added all the new categories.

Click in the check box to the left of the name of the category or categories you want to delete. If you decide you do not want to delete a category, or have clicked on one by mistake, simply re-click the check box or click the Cancel button. Once satisfied with all you deletion selections, click the Delete button.

After you click the Delete button, a confirmation window opens that lists the categories you selected for deletion.

Save (Editing a category)
Modify the values in the categories and click the Save button to record your changes. You can use the Tab key on your keyboard to move quickly from field to field. You can also point and click with your mouse to move from field to field.

Click the Save button to record your changes.

Copy (copying categories and assignments)
The Copy button lets you copy categories and/or assignments from the currently class to other classes. You can use the Copy button to quickly and easily make sure multiple classes have the same categories and assignments that the currently selected class has. MyGradeBook automatically checks each class that is receiving a copy to make sure duplicate categories and assignments are not created.

  1. Categories selected to be copied are always copied to the top-level of the target class. For example, if you select 2nd level categories to be copied, they will become top-level categories in the target class.
  2. A selected category will not be copied if the target class already has a top-level category with the same name.
  3. If a selected category is copied to the target class, all of its descendant categories are also copied.
  4. If a category selected to be copied is not copied to the target class because of a duplicate top-level category name, its descendant categories will not be copied to the target class.

If you just want to copy some assignments, you should use the copy button in the Assignments Screen.

The Class Screen has a copy button that will create a new class based on the currently selected class including all of the original class categories and assignments.

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