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Assessing (evaluating) a Discussion Topic

Table of Contents

Setting up Assessment

You can choose to evaluate user’s individual messages and have BeachBoard automatically calculate a topic score for each user, or you can assign a topic scores directly to each user. If you choose to assess individual messages, you can specify how you want the system to calculate each user’s overall topic score.

Configure a Topic for Assessment

  1. On the main discussions page, click the Edit Edit icon for the topic you want to configure.
  2. Click the Assessment tab.
  3. If you want the score to be linked to a grade item, select the item from the Grade Item drop-down list.
    • If you have not created a grade item, click the New Grade Item link and create the grade item
  4. Specify the number you want to Score Out of. You will evaluate users using a scale ranging from zero to the number entered here. E.g., if you enter 15, you will assess users on a scale from zero to fifteen.
  5. Add a Rubric by clicking the Add Rubric button or click the Create Rubric in New Window link to create a rubric. See  Rubrics  for more information.
  6. If you want to assess individual messages (rather than assigning an overall topic score directly for each user):
    • Select the Assess each message and automatically calculate the topic scorecheck box.
      • Select the Calculation method you want to use to determine users’ overall topic scores based on message scores.
        • Average message score
        • Maximum message score
        • Minimum message score
        • Mode message score - Highest on multiple
        • Mode message score - Lowest on multiple
      • If you want the calculation to treat unassessed messages as if those messages had received a score of zero, select Include non-scored messages in the calculated score as zero. By default, unassessed messages are ignored when calculating the topic score.
  7. Click Save.
    Assess Topic screenshot

Assessing Users

Once a topic is configured for assessment, you can assess users from two places: inside the topic while reading messages, or on the Assess Topic page.

  • Assessing users from within the topic lets you read users’ messages in context and evaluate as you perform other reading-related tasks (approving messages, marking messages read, replying, etc.).
  • Assessing users from the Assess Topic page enables you to see topics scores for all users and view all of a user’s messages together on one screen.

    Note: If a topic uses message approval, you must approve a message before you can assess it.

Assess Users from within a Topic

  1. Enter the Topic.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To assess In Do This
      Individual Messages The Grid Style message list Open the message you want to assess, the click Assess Assess at the top of message.
      Individual messages The Reading Style message list Click the Assess link below the header of the message you want to assess.
      The topic as a whole The Grid Style message list Open any message by a user you want to assess, then click Assess icon Assess at the top of the message.
      The topic as a whole The Reading Style message list Click the Assess link below the header of any message by a user you want to assess.
  3. Enter the Message Score or Topic Score.
  4. Select the Graded check box in order for the value of the topic score to automatically be exported to Grades for the grade item associated with the topic.
  5. Click Save.
    Assess Topic screenshot: View Varies depending on style

Assess Users from the Assess Topic page

  1. From the main Discussions page, click the Assess Topic icon Assess Topic icon for the topic you want to assess.
    Assess Topic icon screenshot
    • Tip: If the Score column is empty on the Assess Topic page, click Display Options Display Options on the action bar, select Score Value or Percentage, and click Save.
  2. Do oneof the following:
    • On the Users tab, click the Topic Score link beneath the name of the user you want to assess.
      Assess Topic User Tab screenshot
    • Click the Assessments tab, then click the name of the user you want to assess.
      Assessment Tab screenshot
      • Tip:  On either tab, you can search for specific users by typing all or part of a user’s name or user ID in the Search For field and clicking Search. You can also filter the view to display members of a specific group or section using the View By drop-down list.
  3. In the pop-up window, do one of the following, depending on the type of assessment:
    • If you are evaluating the entire topic holistically, enter the score for this user in the Topic Score field.
    • If you are evaluating individual messages, enter a score for one or more messages in the Score column at the bottom of the page.
      • Note:  If the user’s messages are displayed across multiple pages, be sure to save the page before navigating to another page of messages. Any new message scores entered are lost if you change pages without saving.
  4. Click Save.
  5. Click Close.

Linking an Assessment to a Grade Item

You can link a topic’s score to a grade item in your course’s grade book so that users’ scores are automatically transferred to the grade book. This enables you to factor the topic score into users’ final grades for the course. It also enables you to display the result to users; users cannot view their topic score directly through the Discussions tool, but they can view their grades in the grade book.

Associate a Topic with a Grade Item

On the Assessment tab where you configure a topic for assessment, select the grade item from the Grade Item drop-down list, or click the New Grade Item link to create a new grade item for the topic. See Setting up assessment for more information about configuring a topic for assessment; and see creating grade items.

Note:  Only numeric grade items can be linked to discussion topics.

Releasing Topic Scores to the Grade Book

You assess topics linked to grade items in the same way you assess stand-alone topics, by assigning a score to each message or to each user for the topic overall. However, BeachBoard will not update the grade item until you release the score to the grade book. This prevents inaccurate grades from being displayed before you are finished assessing users.

When you release the topic score, BeachBoard updates the grade item in the grade book. Any additional changes you make to a user’s score are automatically sent to the grade book.

Release a Topic Score to the Grade Book

  1. On the main Discussions page, click the Assess icon Assess Topic icon for the specific topic.
    Assess Topic icon screenshot
  2. On the Assess Topic page, do one of the following:
    • Select the check box in the Graded column beside each user whose score you want to release to the grade book, then click Save.
    • To release scores for all users, click Mark all Mark All Graded on the action bar.Mark All Graded screenshot

Tip:  You can also release a user’s score in the same place that you enter it by selecting the Graded check box.

Rating Discussion Messages

Message ratings can be effective in shared discussions where a lot of messages might be posted over a long period of time. Message ratings enable the community to collectively assess the value of each message, which helps significant messages gain prominence as they collect the highest ratings over time. This helps everyone find messages that are regularly referenced as classic contributions, and helps new users focus on the most important messages posted in the past. Your rating is anonymous.

A message's average displays above the message and you can search for messages based on their average rating, which makes it easy to locate the best or most insightful in a topic.

Note:  Message rating can only be enabled for the entire course. You cannot turn message ratings on for one topic and off for another.

Enable Message Rating

  1. On the main Discussions page, click Settings icon Settings on the left tool menu.
  2. In the Org Unit Settings section, select Messages can be rated.
  3. Click Save.

Note:  Users also need the permissions Rate Messages and See Average Message Ratings.

Rating Messages in Discussions

Some of your courses may use message ratings. Each message’s Average Rating is displayed as a row of five blue stars. The filled-in stars indicate the average rating.

Tip:  You can search by average rating to find the highest rated messages. In a big discussion, this is a good way to find the best messages.

Rate a Message

Click one of the orange stars.

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