WordPress.org

Ready to get started?Download WordPress

Forums

[resolved] how do I hide grades on student posts? (35 posts)

  1. TomJohnson
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I want to use wordpress in the classroom, for students to submit/post their essays each week -- and then I will respond and grade them via the comments feature. However, some students may feel uncomfortable if I put their grade in plain view of everyone else. Is there anyway that I can somehow attach a grade to the post but make the grade invisible to everyone except the student who made the post? Is there a private vs. public comment feature?

    Thanks,

    Tom

  2. fatalcure
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Hmm haven't seen a plugin before (although I've seen alot of people asking)

    I don't know if there would be a way to make it so you could display there essay and not your comment (grade)

    Best solution I could think of would be to make everyone a contributor by default, that way they can only post stuff as private or draft.

    Then download this plugin:

    http://fortes.com/projects/wordpress/postlevels

    Set it so by default all users are say a level 1
    and also that private posts need level 2 access

    That way they cannot see anything that is marked as a private, except their own posts ofcourse.

    Set yourself as a level 10 or whatever something 2 or above, so you can see all private posts thus only one who can comment/grade besides the post author ofcourse.

    If you really want all students to be able to view others work but not see comments then you could set it up in that plugin so RSS feeds only display title, content not comments and there is probably a really easy way to get RSS feeds to display.

  3. peiqinglong
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    You could always do a table on a Page and list it by student ID numbers and their corresponding grade. That way all the grades are all together and nothing too personal is in the post.

    Either that or you can password protect the posts after it has been submitted with their grade and comments in there.

  4. maerk
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Yeah, protecting posts with a password seems to be the best idea.

    If I might add my opinion, I as a student wouldn't feel comfortable knowing that my essays were being published to the internet, is using WordPress really the best solution to your problem?

  5. manstraw
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I would email the grades.

    WordPress isn't really a private message system. Even the fact that they will submit essays via wordpress is a problem, as another student could view their essay and copy ideas from it etc. I don't think wordpress is the right solution for your task.

  6. manstraw
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I will mention this, as it would work, but would be rather, um, awkward.

    You could create a category for every student. And then use the Category Access plugin to assign each student access to just their category. They could post privately (other students can't read), but you could have read access to everything. You could also respond with a comment. This would work for you, but it could get a bit awkward if you're talking about hundreds of students. That would mean hundreds of categories. You might find it a lot to read and be clear on, but I guess you could have nested categories. I.E. Classroom 1, Student 1. Just watch the defaults of Category access to make sure they are 'off' for new users, new categories etc.

  7. TomJohnson
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I appreciate all your responses to my post about grades. Maerk, you said you would feel uncomfortable knowing your essays would be published on the Internet. That might be a problem. I know a lot of teachers have been starting blogs for their students, so it is a growing trend. I suppose I could give students the option of posting privately or publickly. However, I imagine most students want their essays to be read. I may run into administrative issues too -- I will be sure to check on that.

    I also want other students to read my feedback. I am hoping that when students can read other student writing, and see teacher feedback applied to that writing, and then also add their own comments every once in a while, they will learn better, be more engaged, and feel more involved in a learning community.

    I think the best solution is as peiquiglong suggested -- to create a table of grades, listing student's as numbers rather than by name.

    You know, there are some major software companies out there -- WebCT and Blackboard -- who could be quickly run out of business if someone tweaked a WordPress theme for academic purposes.

    If I password protect a post, will it still show up in search results?

    Tom

  8. Fabrian
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Personally, I would first take a poll in the class to see if every single student were willing to accept grades publically displayed. I would also make my blog login only above and beyond before anything else, ex. http://www.thefabhouse.com .

    I would have my blog login only so the world can't see the essays, then just email the grades, otherwise passwording the entries would be just fine.

    **edit... Actually, I would just create a catagory for grades and then password that post so there's no issues with searching for passworded posts that are being graded. Keep in mind also, not everyone wants others to read their writing. I wouldn't.

  9. Jonathan Landrum
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    But isn't that what a blog is? I mean, people read my "essays" every day. And in a way, my work is graded by each of my visitors. What's the difference?

  10. TomJohnson
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I know it's possible to password protect pages, but is it possible to password protect an entire site? Or to password protect an entire folder within a web directory?

  11. TomJohnson
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    When you password protect posts, or make them private, do they still show up in searches?

    I hadn't anticipated so much hesitation about the public display of one's academic essays. Why would students not want others to see their writing? The only reason might be if the writing is poor or personal. But you guys are bloggers, and you're expressing concern about it, then hmmm. I'll have to give this issue more attention.

  12. manstraw
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I blog, but I would not want my assignments made public. The intent is very different. Just because it happens on a blog, doesn't suddenly make a blog. An assignment is between the student and the teaching staff.

    What I write in a letter to my mother I would not write in a blog. What I write in a note to my landlord, I would not write in a blog. What I write in an assignment to be graded, I would not write in a blog. At best, knowing others can read it will serious inhibit what I write. At worst, I might be reluctant to do the assignment in the first place.

    If you gave your students a choice, then it would be fine I suppose. The ones that are ok with having their assignments made public could use that method. But even then, I don't think it will take long for some to regret their decision after they get teased the first time.

  13. TomJohnson
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I just thought I'd let you know I've finished with the prototype customization of my classroom writing site (based off the Beeblebrox theme) and am going to introduce it to my students tomorrow to kick off a new quarter. Check it out at http://www.idratherbewriting.com/itt and type guest as the username and password to get it.

    If you click the About link in the upper-right corner, you can see what I hope the site will deliver as well as possible risks with using WordPress.

    I welcome any feedback.

  14. manstraw
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    good stuff! i like it. you've addressed my own personal concerns. you've given them an option for privacy if they want it, while encouraging them to participate openly if they choose.

    Are you going to package this up as a theme? My brother is a teacher for grade 8, and might wish to experiment with this kind of system.

    congrats!

  15. TomJohnson
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Yes, I have plans to package it up as a class writing theme and write some instructions for teachers, but I want to make sure it works well first.

  16. manstraw
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    How are you letting students do the private post thing if the students choose that? I thought the normal "private" option on a post prevents even the admin from reading it? (could be wrong about that). Are you using an extra plugin?

  17. TomJohnson
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Yes, I'm using the Post Level plugin to allow students to write private posts that I can see. However, I haven't really taught students how to use it, because no one has asked. This is a writing course and they're supposed to be exchanging papers and doing peer reviews the entire semester.

    The post-level plugin makes it so if they choose 10 in a drop-down box, only an administrator can see it.

  18. manstraw
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    thanks for that info Tom. handy to know.

  19. Doodlebee
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    To answer Tomn's question - yes, you *can* password protect an entire site. You can also password-protect each individual page - either seperately or along with the site protection.

    And no, if a site is password-protected, it will not be indexed by search engine spiders (they'd need the password to get in there and crawl it).

    You can easily password protect and entire site - usually through your webhost admin panel. Mine uses CPanel, and all I have to do is click on the directory I was to protect and put in a password - it's that easy. Then no one can surf to the site without putting in the password to see it. Yours is probab;y a school administered area - so you'd probab;y have to call your IT department to get them to password-protect the directory that the site resides in. but it can be easily done :)

  20. RyeBrye
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    edit: I didn't read the whole thread before posting, so a few of the ideas here have already been mentioned...

    "However, some students may feel uncomfortable if I put their grade in plain view of everyone else."

    It's not just a matter of some students feeling uncomfortable - it's a big legal issue. I'm not sure what the differences between the laws for college and high school are, but the student privacy ones are likely very similar.

    At my University a few years ago, a student sueed a professor for using the age-old procedure of returning homework in boxes with their names on it (which had a side-effect of allowing everyone to see who got what grade... etc.) The student won and the professor lost his job. Now every class that returns homework in boxes requires students to get a CID assigned to them for each class. This CID is random, unique, and different for each course a student takes that semester.

    You could always require students to use CIDs to post things. Of course, with things like essays and classes in high school (I'm guessing it's high school) people are likely able to figure out who wrote what... in college it would be difficult to figure that out based on the large pool of loosely connected people taking each course...

    If I understand the law correctly... as long as the identity is protected, the grade can be public. This could be a positive thing for you because it would show consistency of grading regardless of who the student was - or it might bite you in the rear if one student notices that student CID #413 had a paper he considered worse than his get a score 10 point higher...

    Just some thoughts of alternate ways of doing it... It seems to be a very popular way at college.

    Oh - and about Blackboard... My university uses that. I hate it. I could go on and on and on about why I hate it - but I'll just leave it at: It's clunky, unreliable, ugly, and inconvenient. Our CS department could have done a much better job at creating an elegant and truly useful solution....

  21. TomJohnson
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    RyeBrye,

    Thanks for your comment. I used WebCT at a university I previously taught at and I hated it too -- seems like those systems try to make web building easy, but in reality they are just another system to learn, no harder than actual html.

    Re legal issues, yes, this is on my radar. I didn't know there were actual privacy laws that included this, though. Thanks. I sure wish there were a grading plugin of some kind. This seems to be the only thing that WordPress lacks.

  22. manstraw
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Sounds like you want a plugin that will let you make a "private" comment, than only the admin and the author can read. I don't know of such a plugin, but it seems many people would like one. And then there are others who think such a thing is anti-blog. But hey, wordpress is a CMS too, and not just anymore.

    I have no idea how to write such a plugin, as I've looked at the comment system. I would have one concern though, and that would what happens if the plugin is off (as in after an update, and it's now imcompatible). I think it would need to make it so the comment can only be read by the owner or admin if the plugin is running. Perhaps through md5'ing it? Or perhaps using an extra field entirely attached to the post for private comments.

    Maybe a private tag would suffice instead. That might be simplier.

  23. davidchait
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    or, setup a WP-MU system, let each student have their own blog, make comments always go to moderation, and thus they'll be seen (and left in moderation) only by the student/owner.

    -d

  24. TomJohnson
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Actually, while a private comment plugin would be nice, in the larger scheme of grades it does not work so well. Reason being, as an instructor, over the course of a semester you may receive 30 different assignments from 30 different students. How will you keep track of 900 different grades, each sent as a private comment? Worse, as a private comment on different blogs?

    Here's what I'm planning to do. I am using Frontpage's web components to create an excel spreadsheet. Then I am creating two columns: one for student names, and the other for student IDs. When I enter grades, I work with the file in Frontpage, and before I save it, I'll hide the column with the student names and then protect the active sheet.

    As far as I know, there's no way for students to view the names column after it's been hidden. I may be wrong about this -- maybe some of you could easily hack into that. But I don't know of any other way to easily record, tabulate, and distribute grades anonymously to students.

  25. manstraw
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    You would be safer if you just saved a version after you delete the names column. No chance of hacking the names if they're not there!

    You just mentioned that the students are spread across different blogs? I thought this was all one blog.

    In the spirit of keeping this frontpage less, or more to the point, entirely in wordpress, I think what you (or any teacher) really need is a custom plugin specifically for managing grades. Let me know if something like this might work ...

    Student composes assignement, or perhaps attaches assignement as a .pdf in wordpress as a post. There should be another field of information with the post that includes an assignment name or number. (Do you already have that? how do you know which assignment it is?) You, as a teacher read the assignment, and click an option to write/edit a grade and comment. This is not a regular comment in the wordpress sense, but a separate box of information that is bound to the post. Only a person with sufficient priviledge will be able to edit that data, and only the student/user and teacher will be able to see it when they are logged in. It could also send an email to student if the appropriate option is selected upon an edit. You as a teacher have access to a page that will display a list of the grades organized by assignment, or student, and optionally generate an excel spreadsheet.

    I believe the above wouldn't be terribly difficult to code. I'd like to know if you think that would work for you, and where you would change it. I'm also thinking about my brother the teacher, and may wish to put my time into something like this so he could benefit as well. I know how to code it outside of wordpress, but would need to study wordpress a bit to know how to properly integrade it as a simple plugin.

  26. TomJohnson
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Manstraw, if you could develop that grading plugin as you described, it would be perfect. I'm telling you, give WordPress one year and some super-techie teacher will put together a customized theme that puts both WebCT and Blackboard out of business. Particularly for writing classes, where peer reviews and commenting is frequent, WordPress really excels.

    Did you already see my site? Email me if you want access, b/c it's password protected. You asked how I'm managing assignments. Basically I made each assignment its own category, and then I have students select the category their assignment belongs to. Some students forgot to select it, so I decided to just set the default category to the assignment they're supposed to turn in.

    Something that has proven to be invaluable is a little piece of code that allows the category description to automatically display above the category post.

    <?php if ( is_category() ) : ?>
    <h2 id="category-name-header">
    <?php echo $cache_categories[$cat]->cat_name ?></h2>
    <?php add_filter('category_description', 'wpautop'); ?>
    <?php add_filter('category_description', 'wptexturize'); ?>
    <div id="category-description">
    <?php echo category_description(); ?>
    </div>
    <?php endif; ?>

    I put the above right before the loop in my archives.php page.

    If I need to change the assignment, I just change the description in the admin menu (manage > categories), rather than going into a custom page template and changing it. Very helpful.

    Another helpful thing that I wished I'd looked at more is integrating the Ocacia Bar (Admin menu) at the top of the site. I realized in aftermath that my theme didn't really accomodate it, so I'll have to change that at some point. It makes it much simpler for students.

  27. davidchait
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I still think WP-MU, with the teacher(s) as admins, would do pretty well.

    However, your grades could be done a number of different ways. The simplest was discussed earlier and is analogous to my WP-MU-musings (mu-mu, love that)... effectively, private comments, or forced-moderation on everything. Only the post author or an admin should be able to see the moderated comments. It removes the need for a 'private messaging' system, though you'd want to default to 'private' so that you never accidentally post something 'public'.

    Or, just have everything default to moderated, so only the admin or the post-author can 'publish' the comment to the public.

    I'd have to look at the current comment-system code, to see what 'authority' the post-author has versus an admin-level user...

    -d

  28. manstraw
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I was in your site back when you made a guest password available. I 'saw' it, but didn't retain everything I saw. Doing each assignment as a category makes perfect sense of course. I might have thought of that if I had a teacher mind. :)

    I'm putting that grade plugin thing on my pile. I have no idea when I'll get to it, as the pile is a bit high right now.

    @davidchait - I've never touched mu. Don't know a thing about it. If I still wanted to write a plugin for a private message as I've described, would I be looking at pretty much the same task? Or would mu present me with some extra learning? I'll basically be writing everything to an extra table in the database, and refer to post a post number.

  29. TomJohnson
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    When I was setting up my course, I looked at a few courses where each student had his or her own blog site (I think http://edublogs.org/ lets you have as many blogs as you want). While this could be advantageous in some courses, it seemed to me that students didn't interact much with other students writing because to do so, they had to totally go into another site. Some sites were pretty vacant, giving the student's domain an empty, unvisited feel.

    That's why I brought all students into the same blog site. I have to admit, though, that I wanted to play around with WordPress MU, but I had trouble installing it. Do you know where any good instructions for that are? I have cPanel, so I've always used the one-click install Fantastico feature.

    Back to the class blog. With grades and comments, I see your point with the moderated level being automatically private. However, I actually <i>want </i>students to read my comments (just not the grades). As a teacher, I've seen a lot of peer reviews, and I can count on my hand the number of peer reviews that were actually worthwhile. I'm not saying my comments are brilliant, but they are more substantial than the average student's peer comment. I want students to learn by example how to comment, how to analyze, etc. The more students can read my comments, and comment on my comments and other students comments, then the more interactivity and student writing community I can build.

    Also, knowing that every student can read my comments keeps me in check. I have to make sure I'm being fair.

  30. davidchait
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Ummm. I guess my only problem with your last statement is: if you give a glowing comment, the person probably got a high grade. If you tear it apart, they got a low grade. I'm just thinking back to when I was a student -- and I guess if you asked around, people would say if you have glowing things to say, yeah let others see it, otherwise I'd prefer the comments be private to just me. If >I< decide I want to make your comments to me public, that's then MY decision.

    Anyway, just IMHO. I know at some schools there are varying policies on whether grades MUST be kept private, or if posted publicly must be posted by student ID (because, yeah, I NEVER knew anyone else's ID... right...).

    I could see using one of the existing rating plugins, somehow modify it so only the author or admin can see the result, and only admins can set the value... that might 'just work'. I could also see using a custom field, go into edit mode on the student's post and enter the grade, and then a few lines of custom code in the template would show the custom field only if the current user is an admin or is the post author. That'd be dead easy. Actually, even if doing as a plugin, could still easily use the custom field system for storing the grade. I mean, you're storing the grades offline, this is just to 'report' them to the students, right?

    -d

Topic Closed

This topic has been closed to new replies.

About this Topic