For My PGCPS Friends: The What-If Report

There’s ongoing and increasing talk of the Growth Mindset going around.

And, more often than not, all it amounts to is bulletin boards chock-full of motivational sayings.  And little else.

Instead, wouldn’t it be nice to do something for your students that actually helps them connect effort and achievement?

Enter the What-If report.

Say you’re like me, and have that kid (or kids, or all of your kids) who never completes more than 60% of an assignment.  Frequently-cited reasons include:

  • I don’t know what I’m doing, so my score’s not going to improve by doing more work anyway.
  • 60% is passing, isn’t it?
  • It’s just not worth my time.

To start proving to them that the work would have paid off, I started placing three grades at the top of each assignment:

  1. Your grade in my class right now
  2. Your score on this assignment
  3. What your class grade would have been if you had received full credit on this assignment.

The kids loved it and started putting forth more effort.  This is even more effective if you do make-up assignments or have a robust system in place for revision.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Pull a grade report from SchoolMax.

Go into SchoolMax, click on Reports >> Grades, and pull a “Student Assignments and Grade Listing” Report.

Make sure to export to CSV.


Step 2: Make a copy of this Google Spreadsheet.


Click the screenshot, go to File >> Make a Copy, and it’s yours to work with.

Or, open the file directly from the link:

Step 3: Insert the grade report into the What-If Spreadsheet.

Open the tab named GR101.CSV, delete all the contents, and paste the contents of your grade report.

Step 4: Pick the assignment.

Return to the first sheet, and pick an assignment.

Nota Bene: For this to work, all of your assignments in SchoolMax must:

  1. have unique names, i.e. “Homework 9/16/16” instead of just “Homework” each week.
  2. be unique within 40 characters, i.e. “Revised first draft of analytical essay on <<topic>>” will get chopped to “Revised first draft of analytical essay” and you’re back to problem (a).

Step 5: Read off the appropriate values.

Note: This was written for 3 reporting categories, as tends to be the case in PGCPS.  If there are more than 3 categories, you’re screwed.  Let me know and we’ll work something out.

Step 6: Enjoy a lovely beverage.


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