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Grades and feedback with Gradesplus

Comment made by staff member Gradesplus is a feature we have built in to QMplus to improve access to grades and feedback for students. The feature is now an integral part of QMplus and has been fully operational and available to all students since the beginning of the 2016/17 academic year.

This was originally a project page publishing details of the progress of the initial development and piloting of the feature. It now serves to provide details of Gradesplus as it is now.

What is Gradesplus?

Gradesplus is a feature which we developed at QMUL and built in to QMplus to provide better access to grades and feedback for students. Grades and feedback can be found in a number of different places on QMplus, sometimes hidden at the bottom of screens and not always easy to find. There was also no easy way to see grades and feedback across modules in QMplus.

Gradesplus provides a single place for students to go to find all their grades and feedback.

Why did we do it?

There were a number of drivers behind Gradesplus:

  • Discussions with staff about online assessment and feedback highlighted a number of areas in which QMplus could be improved. Gradesplus addresses some of these areas. The image at the top of this page is a comment made at an event we ran in November 2015 on e-assessment and e-feedback.
  • Our experience with QMplus over the years has demonstrated that students can find it difficult to find important information. Something as important as grades and feedback should certainly not be buried in QMplus. We wanted to try to improve this.
  • Feedback is always an issue that comes up in the National Student Survey. While technology itself is not the solution, there are some ways in which it can potentially help.
  • One of our Schools in particular had their own departmental system which provided functionality which was not available in QMplus. Gradesplus is a step towards filling that gap for them and allowing them to make more use of QMplus.

What does it look like?

Gradeplus is available to students through their QMplus “flydown” dashboard. Any grades and feedback that are released through QMplus will be available to them through their Gradesplus area.

You can find our more about what the student view of Gradesplus looks like in our A closer look at Gradesplus article.

What is the relationship between Gradesplus and the student record system?

The short answer is that there is no automatic link between Gradesplus and the student record system (SITS). Gradesplus only shows grades and feedback entered via QMplus. It does not automatically read data from, or transfer data to, SITS. SITS remains the official record of student grades. All grades viewed through Gradesplus are provisional and subject to ratification at exam boards.

If you do not provide grades and feedback via QMplus, your students will not see it through Gradesplus.

What is the relationship between Gradesplus and the QMplus gradebook?

Gradeplus is not intended to be a replacement for the gradebook, or grades area, that is available in every QMplus module area. We have actively avoided replicating gradebook functionality wherever we can. For staff, the gradebook is the QMplus grades “nerve centre”…this is still where they control the availability of grades and feedback and set up any grade calculations etc. Students can also still see their grades and feedback in the standard ways they always could (if they can find them!).

Gradesplus provides a simpler and easier (we think!) grades “portal” which sits above the standard QMplus functionality.

What are our plans for Gradesplus?

We have not made any significant changes to Gradesplus recently and currently have no active project to develop it further. During the initial development, we gathered many ideas about the ways in which Gradesplus could be developed further but we have not been able to allocate any resource to do this.

There is increasing interest in online grading and feedback across the university and increases in the use of the tools available on QMplus may help drive further enhancements.

Ideas for enhancement that we have gathered include:

  • The ability to turn off the performance graph feature – not all Schools are interested in providing performance statistics to their students.
  • The ability to distinguish between formative and summative feedback. e.g. might we want to provide feedback without a grade?
  • A “personal tutor” interface allowing staff advisers to see the grades and feedback for their advisees across modules
  • The ability for students to see grades and feedback across years to allow them to see their own progress.
  • The ability for students to export grades and feedback to their learning portfolio in QMplus Hub as evidence and for reflection and personal development
  • Notifications of grades and feedback being available
  • Different types of performance graph for students – currently we have two types of histogram. Are there other ways in which students should be able to visualise their performance?

If there is sufficient interest across QMUL for continued enhancement of the feature we would very much like to take it further.

Articles about Gradesplus

Here you will find articles that we have published about Gradesplus…some of them are rather old now!

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