Keeping you informed: Graded Coursework and Academic Progress Reports
This page is devoted to two main topics:
- The graded lessons that you (and the student) will receive back after the coursework is submitted
- Academic progress reports (by email, or via the website portal)
All of our exercises manuals are composed of logical units called lessons. These lessons usually contain from two to five pages of exercise sets. When a student’s lesson is submitted for grading, we immediately get to work on it. Whatever computer-gradable exercises are present are immediately graded. Any short-answer (handwritten) exercises are assigned to the appropriate qualified staff.
After it is graded, you and the student (if you provided an email address for the student) will be emailed the graded lesson as a PDF document. Each lesson comes as a separate email. We advise you to always at least briefly look over the graded document so you can identify any problems the student is having (misunderstandings, consistent misspellings, sloppy writing that is causing errors, etc.). This is important because, since the parent is freed from doing the grading and record keeping with our system, it is possible to stay “out of the loop” completely which may be undesirable.
Samples of Graded Coursework
The following graded samples are PDF documents, which your browser will either display or offer to download. Notice that the short answer (handwritten) exercises have been graded and comments added by ADA staff. Our staff deducts points for spelling and grammar mistakes, so please encourage your student to write polished work.
- Sample graded lesson: Sacred Scripture
- Sample graded lesson: United States History
- Sample graded lesson: Literature
- Sample graded lesson: Chemistry
How are the Grades Calculated?
The grade for a course is calculated based upon the percentage of the total number of points the student has correctly gained divided by the total number of points possible for the entire course. This, of course, breaks down into each individual lesson in that course.
What is the Format of Each Lesson?
Each lesson in the exercise manual generally contains a mixture of computer-gradable exercises, as well as one or more short answer exercises, which are carefully graded by our staff. Each of these exercises – whether computer-gradable or short answer – has a number of total possible points assigned to it, based on the number of questions or lines it contains.
How is Each Individual Exercise’s Grade Calculated?
Each exercise has a varying number of questions, or with short answer, a varying number of lines on which to write the answer.
T/F questions are assigned 1 point per question, multiple choice 2 points per question, fill-in-the-blank questions (one line long) 3 points, extended fill-in-the-blank questions (which can span multiple lines) are 1 point per word. All of these exercise types are computer-graded. Our system clearly marks what is correct in green and what is wrong in red. It then calculates and writes a score for each exercise, giving the student credit for all correct answers, and in some cases partial credit for partially correct answers (such as with extended fill-in-the-blank).
Short answer exercises are carefully hand graded by our staff. Each short answer question has a number of blank lines available for the student to fill in the answer. The number of blank lines required to answer the question was estimated when that question was created by the author of the exercises. Each line is worth 5 points. So, for example, if the question is, “Explain what Pope Leo XIII means when he says such-and-such…”, the exercise might have five blank lines for the student to write the answer. Thus 5 lines times 5 points per line means that exercise is worth 25 points. Some short answer questions can be worth 50 or even 100 points, if it is a long question. We see then that short answer questions should be carefully completed by the student, because each is generally worth many points. Sometimes the students are careless and do not read the question carefully enough, or they skip parts of the question. Please help them to avoid mistakes such as these. We do check grammar and spelling, and deduct points for errors in those areas, for this is part of the formation of the mind and soul. If you are concerned about this, we can say this: we have seen that in almost every case, the students learn very quickly to be careful with spelling and grammar and show great improvement. All of this is very encouraging, and our staff sometimes write encouraging comments and feedback in the notes.
“Can I Resubmit Pages on Which My Student Did Poorly?”
Our system will not automatically re-grade a page which has already been submitted. This is by design, for grading these scanned pages requires high computer horsepower, but more importantly, it is very hard on our staff to regrade the handwritten exercises. Frankly, it does seem fair either – for once the student gets the first graded version back (showing all or most of the correct answers), he would be able to simply resubmit it, this time with all the correct answers. This would make many students into A+ students who generally are not so. We do allow resubmissions in special situations, if for example, our question was not worded clearly enough or the student just completely misunderstood the question; feel free to contact us in such cases.
Academic Progress Reports
Besides the graded lessons, you and the student (if an email address was provided) will be emailed, at least once weekly, an Academic Progress Report. These reports show such information as:
- the currently calculated letter grade (e.g. “B+”)
- the progress made overall (e.g. “Joseph is 82% done with this course”)
- any warnings / problems, such as “He is behind schedule on this course” or “We are missing some coursework we should have gotten”, etc.
There are three logical sections to each report.
- Overall progress by subject
- Progress across all courses
- Course lesson details
Progress by Subject
This first chart contains the “biggest picture” of your student’s progress, showing one currently-calculated grade for each subject area. The calculation of this grade is of course, only as accurate as of the latest lessons we have received and finished grading.
The height of each bar also represents the percentage of the course the student has completed. For example, Henry is about 75% done with his religion for the year. If there is a small “alarm clock” icon near the letter grade, this indicates the student is behind your custom school year schedule and free generated lesson plans.
Progress by Course
This section is similar to the previous, except that here the data is broken down by courses rather than subjects. We realize this might be confusing, and you might wonder what the difference is between a subject and course. To understand the difference, please note that some of our courses are actually “master courses” which contain other courses. For example, our “Sacred Scripture 1” course contains the sub courses “Genesis”, “St. Matthew’s Gospel”, and others. (Each of these books of Scripture could be taken as a separate course on its own, which makes it convenient for parents who really want to customize their student’s program). On the other hand, some courses like “Algebra 1” have no sub course; for such courses, there indeed is no difference between the subject (math) and the course (Algebra-1).
In other words, this “progress by course” chart contains a bar of information for each course and sub course.
There are also two important details on this chart:
- If an alarm clock is showing, this chart also shows how far behind the student is.
- If any bars are red, this indicates we are missing coursework for that course. For example, let us support Henry has submitted lessons 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 of his “Heart for Europe” history book, but for some reason forgot to send us lesson 4. That course would show a red bar.
Course Lesson Details
PLEASE NOTE: The “Course Lesson Details” chart is unfortunately not yet available. We have the information and are generating the charts, but our system is not yet emailing them or making them accessible on the parent portal of the website. We apologize! If there is a need, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and request a chart for a particular student and course.
This chart offers the most detailed information, including the individual grades received on each lesson within a course. This really helps to explain the “why” of the currently-calculated grade for that course. For example, you might wonder “Why is Robert’s chemistry grade so low?” Expanding the details of that course would show that he did poorly on his Review Lesson for chapters 1 -4 (as shown here).
Missing Coursework Reports
Part of the Academic Progress Report is a Missing Coursework Report. This report indicates you what coursework we should have received, but have not. NOTE: This report has nothing to do with the academic schedule; it only indicates “gaps” based on the coursework you have submitted. Those gaps can happen for one of two reasons:
1. We have received coursework from a lesson, but are missing coursework from a previous lesson. For example, let us say we have received coursework for Joseph’s Biology, Lesson 35, yet we have never received anything from Lesson 34.
2. We are missing coursework within a lesson. This happens when we do not receive all the pages for a Lesson. For example, Lesson 16 might consist of pages 35-40 in the exercises manual, but for some reason, we are missing pages 36-37. NOTE: Please remember to submit all pages, even the blank ones or ones with just pictures.
Here is a sample report:
|Exercise 2.1||1, 2, 3, 4|
|Exercise 2.2||1, 2, 3, 4, 5|
|Exercise 2.3||1, 2, 3|
Course: Catechism Level 3
|Exercise 3.1||1, 2, 3, 4, 5|
|Exercise 3.2||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|Exercise 3.3||1, 2, 3, 4|
What to do about missing coursework
If your report indicates missing pages, simply find those pages wherever your student stores them (we suggest that after you scan and submit the pages, simply put them in a folder or box; do not throw them away), and resubmit them. Please only resubmit the missing pages – do not resubmit pages which are not listed. Thank you!