Once an assignment has been correctly set-up, the entry of student assessment scores is more-or-less the same as it has been previously in Aspen with a few important differences.


No manual entry below a 40

There is nothing that the Gradebook does technically in order to prevent a teacher from entering a score below the equivalent of 40%. Rather, as they are entering scores, teachers need to ensure that they do not enter anything below that threshold. In lieu of being able to enter a score below 40%, teachers should enter either NO, NY, or Z as appropriate depending upon the circumstances.

The easiest way to prevent this (without having to do math) is to avoid entering in points and enter letter grades instead. Otherwise, you will need to determine the lowest score threshold on an assignment before you start entering in grades. For example in a 37 point assignment – any points under 15 (37 x 0.4 = 14.8) should go in as an NY, NO – or in comparison on a 4 point assignment 0 or 1 points earned would go in as a NY or NO (NO should generally be followed up with a comment regarding how the student arrived at that score).

Teachers and administrators will also have access to a report that can be run in Aspen in order to catch any scores that accidentally may have been entered below that 40% threshold, so those scores can then be manually corrected.


Please note…

If you enter scores less of less than 40% on individual assignments and Aspen calculates an overall score for the student of under 40% for the Semester grade, Aspen will display the word, “INVALID” as pictured below in the bottom two rows.

INVALID cumulative scores

In order to fix this, be sure that none of the individual scores entered for a student are under 40%. Once this is fixed, the average for the cumulative semester score will naturally rise above 40%, and the “INVALID” notation will disappear.


Entering other score types

In the example pictured below, the teacher has set the entry mode for each of these assignments to “Both”. (This is described in the post on setting up assignments correctly in the Aspen Gradebook.)

Grades in a Gradebook

To enter these scores, which will most frequently be “NY”, simply type the letters in the cell just as would be done if doing letter grade entry in the Gradebook.

In this scenario, prior to the end of the semester, the teacher would change the “NY” scores to the students scores after re-taking the assessment or a similar assessment with the same point value designed to re-assess the student’s understanding of the concepts and concepts and/or the student’s ability to show mastery of the skills covered by the assessment. To adjust those scores, the teacher will simply click on the “NY” in the cell and enter a new score. The Gradebook will automatically re-calculate a student’s final grade.


The impact of the “NY” on grades and learning

By using the “NY” grade built-in to the new Grade Scale, along with providing re-teaching opportunities for students to learn and concepts and content and/or practice skills before being assessed again, students will learn more. Additionally, a similar impact will be seen on students’ grades.

In the example below, the student was marked “NY” on a particular assessment. While the Final Exam is listed but not calculated, the student’s overall grade is calculated as 74.12%. (With a “0”, it would be much lower–a 61.65%! The “0” provides no additional value in showing that the student does not know the content or is unable to do the skills as a 40% also demonstrates that quite effectively.)

Gradebook - Impact NY - Pre-Re-Assessment

Following the period of re-teaching and the re-assessment, the student re-takes the assessment, scoring a 112/125. As can be seen in the picture below, this has a significant impact on the student’s overall grade, and it, hopefully, also represents that same increase in knowledge and/or skills.

Gradebook - Impact NY - Post-Re-Assessment

(Even if a student scored much lower than the 90% that this student scored, there would still be a fairly significant increase in the overall grade–and, again, hopefully in the student’s knowledge and/or skills.)


4-Point Rubrics – Enter as Letter Grades

An assignment worth 4-points is not the same as a 4-point scale. A rubric with four columns distinguishing different performance levels would actually represent a 4-point scale. If entered as points, a 2/4–which might represent “Developing” on the rubric and something like a low-to-mid “C” performance level would actually come out in the Gradebook as a 50%.

To more accurately reflect student performance on the assessment, assign letter grades to the columns of the rubric–A, B, C, and D. Then, students who perform below that lowest column on the rubric would receive an NY in the Gradebook and would work to improve their product and their knowledge before being re-assessed.


The use of the “Z”

In the event that there is an incident with cheating and the “Z” mark is used for a student’s grade, it is important that a comment is listed along with the “Z” mark. The comment should simply represent a brief, factual description of the cheating. In addition, the parent should be contacted directly by the teacher, and a conduct referral should be completed in Aspen.