How it Works: Categories in Unified Classroom

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Overview

This article is designed to help understand what Categories are in Unified Classroom and how best to make use of them.

 

Setup

Most of the steps below are from the perspective of a Teacher with the following:

  • Unified Classroom Account
  • Sections assigned to them

Process

 

Categories Page in Unified Classroom

Categories are a tool in Unified Classroom that can be used to organize Assignments for the purposes of calculating a Traditional Final Grade or for just general organization purposes. Lead Teachers can create their own Categories. District Administrators can also create Categories that can be pushed from the District. This can be common if the School has dictated a specific Category Weight that must be used for the Traditional Grade Calculations in some Reporting Terms.

Below is an example of what a common list of Categories will look like. To get to this page you would go to the following: UC Dashboard > Grading > Categories

 

Category_Identifier.JPG

 

The District Categories are identified by the School House icon:

District_Category_Icon.JPG

District Categories are controlled by the District Administrator and can only be edited by a PowerSchool SIS Administrator. They cannot be deleted, but they can be made Inactive if they need to be removed from list on the Categories page. By default, only Active Categories are shown. This page will also show all Categories that the Teacher has access to whether the Category is being used by the class that is currently selected in the Class Picker or not.

 

To include all Categories including any Inactive Categories, check the “Show Inactive” box in the top right.

 

Show_Inactive.JPG

 

Using this view will ensure no repetitive/redundant Categories are created to keep the Category selection process when creating an assignment less confusing.

 

This page will also show which Categories are being used in which Classes. It is possible that a Category already exists that is being used in one class that will work in another class preventing the need to make another Category.

 

Creating Categories

 

For Teachers, creating Categories can be done from the Categories page within Unified Classroom in the following location:

 

UC Dashboard > Grading > Categories

Clicking the Add_Category_Button.JPG button will open the Create Category Menu below.

 

 

Create_Category_Menu.JPG

 

The Category tab is where the items below can be set.

 

  • Limit this category to these classes: This drop down menu will allow Teachers to set which classes the Category will show for when creating or editing Assignments.
  • Name (Required): This is where Teachers enter the desired name of the Category
  • Color: This Drop Down Menu allows Teachers to assign a color marker for their Category. It is best to make sure that the color is unique enough to not be confused with the other Categories that already exist.
  • Status: Choose whether the Category will be Active or Inactive after creation.
  • Description: This is where Teachers can enter detailed information about the Category. This information may be shared with Administrators, Parents, and Students. Enter the description of the category using plain text, HTML, or a combination of both. You can also copy content from a Microsoft Word document and paste it into this field. Use the editing bar to style the description.

The Assignment Defaults tab is where defaults can be set for assignments that are created in that category.

 

  • Score Type: This drop down will allow the Teacher to pick a default Score Type of one of the following – Points, Percent, Grade Scale (Main Scale), Collected Only.
  • Scoring: This field will allow the Teacher to set the number of Points and setup any additional Weighting
  • Publish Assignment: This drop down sets the desired Publishing default to determine when Students/Parents can see the assignment.
  • Publish Scores: Checking this box will ensure that the Students will be able to see the score they received for the Assignment.
  • Count in Final Grade: Checking this box will make the Assignment contribute towards the Final Grade Calculation.

 

The View All tab shows the current list of Active Categories and which Classes are using them.

 

Click Save once everything has been entered to create the new Category.

 

Editing Categories

 

For Teachers, editing Categories can be done from the Categories page within Unified Classroom in the following location similar to creating Categories:

 

UC Dashboard>Grading>Categories

 

To edit the desired Category, click the Category_Edit_Button.JPG button.

 

The Edit Category menu will work the same way as the Create Category menu above.

 

**NOTE** For District Categories, the only editable options will be which classes the Category will be available for and whether the Category is Active or Inactive.

 

Using Categories

 

After creating Categories, they can be associated to assignments when creating or editing assignments for the Scoresheet. They can also be used as part of the Traditional Grade Calculation to determine a student’s overall Final Grade for the class.

 

**NOTE** Categories cannot be added to Assignments created from the Class Pages during the creation process. Once the Class Pages Assignment is created it must be edited from the Scoresheet page to associate the desired Category to the assignment.

 

Associating Categories with Assignments

 

Associating Assignments with Categories is necessary for them to be used for organization and calculation purposes. Categories can either be associated to Assignments during the creation process or by editing the Assignments in the Scoresheet afterwards using the steps below.

 

During Assignment Creation:

  1. Click the Global_Create_Plus.JPG button to go to the Create Assignments page
  2. Enter Assignment information
  3. Select desired Category from the dropdown below

       Gradebook_Category_Select.jpg

     4. Click Save

 

While Editing an Assignment from Assignment / Activity List

 

  1. Click Grading > Assignment / Activity List
  2. Find Assignment in list
  3. Click Edit_Pencil_Button.jpg to edit the Assignment
  4. Select desired Category from the dropdown below

 Gradebook_Category_Select.jpg

  1. Click Save

While Editing an Assignment from Scoresheet

  1. Click Grading > Scoresheet
  2. Search for the Assignment using the filter
  3. Click the Assignment name
  4. Click Edit Assignment
  5. Select the Category using the following option

   Scoresheet_Select_Category.JPG

     6. Click Save and Close

 

Category Weighting for Traditional Grade Calculation

 

With Assignments grouped by Categories it is possible to have the overall Final Grade for the class calculated using the scores that Students got in each Assignment Category weighted to a specific preference. This can be done in the settings for the section using the steps below.

 

Setting up Category Weights

 

  1. Click on the username in the bottom left corner
  2. Click Settings > Traditional Grade Calculation
  3. Click the button for the desired Reporting Term
  4. Under TYPE select Category Weighting from the dropdown

     Category_Type_Calculation_Dropdown.JPG

     5. Select the desired Category under ATTRIBUTE

     6. Click the Add_New_Calculation_Category.JPG button to add more Categories to the Calculation

     7.Use the WEIGHT column to determine the contributing weight percentage of the item. The PERCENT of the item is determined by the individual items weight value the divided by sum of all the values in the WEIGHT column. It is easiest to use values that add up to 100.

     8. To remove any unnecessary Categories, click the Remove_Category_Calculation.JPG button.

     9. Click Save once the desired Categories are entered with the correct Percentage.

 

Once the Category Weights have been entered for that Reporting Term, the Final Grade will automatically be recalculated to use the newly entered Category Weights.

 

Viewing Category Point Total Breakdown

 

After the Traditional Grade Calculations are setup to use Category Weighting, it can be useful to see the scores that each student has in each Category to see where they may need help. This can be done using the following steps.

 

  1. Click Grading > Grades
  2. Click the dropdown below and select Category Totals

Grade_Dropdown_Category_Totals.JPG

 

The page below will show a Category breakdown showing all of the Active Categories being used by the Class. Sometimes, for troubleshooting purposes, it is necessary to view Inactive Categories to see if there are any assignments that are set to the incorrect Category and therefore not contributing to the Final Grade. To view Inactive Categories as well, click the Gear_Icon.JPG button and select Show All Categories.

 

Gear_Icon_Plus_Menu.JPG

 

This page is very useful in making sure the Category grades are showing expected Grades for each Category in the Class. The items shown for each category (Points, Grade, Percent) match the Final Grade column. This is set in the Display Settings for PowerTeacher Pro under “Values to Show in the Traditional Grade Column”.

 

Category_Totals_Page.JPG