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How does a points Gradebook calculate automatically dropped grades?

If your Gradebook is set up to use either Categories only or Categories & weighting, the Gradebook has the following options for automatically dropping grades:

  • Drop Lowest - drops the specified number of lowest grade(s) in the category for each student
  • Drop Highest - drops the specified number of highest grade(s) in the category for each student
  • Keep Highest - keeps the specified number of grade(s) in the category for each student, and drops any lower grade(s)

Dropped grades are omitted from the course grade calculation, and the total points possible in the category are reduced by the point value(s) of the omitted item(s).

When using the Keep Highest option instead of Drop Lowest to drop the lowest grade(s), no grades will be dropped in the category until the number of items kept is exceeded.

Below is an example of how course grades are calculated when grades are dropped/kept.

Note: All gradebook items in the category must have the same point value to enable the drop/keep options for that category.

Tip: For more information about course grade calculations, see How are grades calculated in a points Gradebook?

For steps to enable dropping/keeping grades in your Gradebook, see How do I set up my Gradebook?

Overview of Example Gradebook

Pictured above is a gradebook with two weighted categories: Quizzes (40%) and Assignments (60%).  The Quizzes category drops the lowest grade, and includes two quizzes, each worth 50 points.  The Assignments category keeps the two highest grades, and includes three assignments, each worth 10 points.  The total points possible in each category are:

  • Quizzes - 50 points (The lowest 50-point quiz grade is dropped, so 50 points are included in the course grade calculation.)
  • Assignments - 20 points (The two highest 10-point assignment grades are kept, for a total of 20 points.)

The sections below describe how grades are calculated within each category, and how the course grade will be calculated in this example Gradebook with Categories & weighting.

Example Calculations - Drop Lowest/Highest

In the Quizzes category, Student One received the following grades:

  • Quiz 1 (45 points) (lowest grade - dropped)
  • Quiz 2 (49 points)

Student One's category average for Quizzes is 98%:

  • 49/50 points = 0.98

Example Calculations - Keep Highest

When using the Keep Highest option instead of Drop Lowest to drop the lowest grade(s), no grades will be dropped in the category until the number of items kept is exceeded. The example below demonstrates how the student's category average is affected by entering the third assignment grade in the Assignments category with the setting Keep Highest: 2.

Before all grades are entered

Before the third assignment grade is entered, Student One received the following grades in Assignments:

Assignments:

  • Assignment 1 (8 points) (1st highest grade - kept)
  • Assignment 2 (7 points) (2nd highest grade - kept)

No grades are dropped yet because we have used the Keep Highest option, so Student One's Assignments grade is 75%:

  • 8 + 7 = 15 points earned
  • 15/20 points = 0.75

Note: If Drop Lowest were used instead, Student One's Assignments grade would have been calculated as only 8 points earned out of 10 points (80%).

After all grades are entered

Now we enter the third assignment grade.  The highest two assignment grades are kept, so the lowest assignment grade (Assignment 2) is dropped:

  • Assignment 1 (10 points) (1st highest grade - kept)
  • Assignment 2 (8 points) (lowest grade - dropped)
  • Assignment 3 (9 points) (2nd highest grade - kept)

Student One's Assignments grade is now 85%:

  • 8 + 9 = 17 points earned
  • 17/20 points = 0.85

Keeping the highest grades instead of dropping the lowest grades ensures that Student One's grade is calculated out of the same number of total points (20 points) both before and after entering the third assignment grade.

Note: If Drop Lowest were used instead, Student One's Assignments grade would have been calculated out of 10 points (the grade from Assignment 1 only) before entering the third assignment grade, and 20 points (the grades from Assignment 1 + Assignment 3) after entering the grade.

Course Grade Calculations with Weighting

When the Gradebook applies the weights to the categories, Student One's course grade is 90.2%, calculated as follows:

  • Quizzes (40%) weighted average = 0.4 x 98 = 39.2
  • Assignments (60%) weighted average = 0.6 x 85 = 51
  • Course Grade = 39.2 + 51 = 90.2

Note: In a Gradebook with Categories only, the sum of the points the student received in all categories will be divided by the total points possible; there will be no step at the end to weight the category averages.