Converting XP into Grades (Gaming in Teacher Education)

A couple of weeks ago, I promised to explain how I converted the XP students could earn in my Explorations in Literacy course into a grade. In this post, I will share with you ALL the assignments for the course including links to the directions (if you want them), what the XP are for them, and then how I turned the XP into grades.

Background on Grades

I’m no different than anybody else. No matter what I think about grades, at the end of the semester I am required to assign them to each student. The class I am using as an example in these posts is a Masters class, and you can see here how grades are assigned at the graduate level (this would also include Ph.D.). There’s not a lot of info there. I have four options: (a) High Pass, (b) Pass, (c) Low Pass, and (d) Fail. So before we get into converting XP in these four options, let me tell you how I break down each one percentage wise:

  • H = 90-100%
  • P = 80-89%
  • L = 70-79%
  • F = 0-69%

Before you start trying to convert XP into grades make sure you know what those final grades need to amount to. Additionally, head over to Chris’ blog to read what he has to say about turning XP into grades.

Ok – so I understand what my final grades have to be. Now let’s take a look at all the assignments and how much XP I assigned to them.

Assignments & XP

I need to break out of the habit of using the word assignments. Assignments are quests. I’m gonna start using the lingo….now. It’s a habit.  I have four quests in my course. They are

  • Blogging
  • Post of the Week
  • Explore Projects
  • Becoming Connected

I have created a single document for you that has the directions for each. At the end of the document I have a chart that shows the XP for each quest. Remember that some XP is not required for grades. Any XP that is not counted towards grades is marked with an *. I will share in future posts what can be done with this extra XP and how it all plays out. Please feel free to use my quests as you see fit. Everything here is for your use. If you use what I created – or modified it or it inspired something new for you – I hope you will tell me. I would love to discuss it!

To keep us focused, here is a copy of the XP chart:

Type of Quest XP
Heroic Quests (Blogging)
  • Writing Posts
Posts 1-10 500 each
Posts 11-14* 800 each
For a second post in a given week* 500 each
Using appropriate links/pictures/video* 300 per post
  • Writing Comments
For each weekly comment 200 (x2 per week = 400)
Additional comments after the weekly minimum* 300 per comment
Write 20 or more additional comments* 400 per comment (starting with #21)
Side Quests (Post of the Week)
  • Post of the Week
You lead an in-class discussion 500
You created a video and posted it on You-Tube 800
  • Online POW Discussion
You left a comment 100
You contributed to a sustained and engaged discussion 200
Epic Quests (Explore Project)
Unlock your project 500
Share your project for feedback 500 (each time)
Present Your Project 2000
Social Quests
Open (or have) a Twitter Account 200
Get a picture on your account 100
Link to your twitter page 200
Follow everyone 300
Follow 5 new accounts each week (starts 8/31) 500 (each week)
Follow more than 5 accounts each week 800 (can earn each week)
Complete the weekly social challenge 1000
Complete an extra social challenge (prove it!)* 2000 (can earn each time)


Notice that the XP is tied to very specific actions. I don’t say a student gets 500 XP for writing an outstanding blog post. In the directions for blogging, I explain what is expected in a post. The one sticking point in giving out the XP occurs when someone creates a video for Post of the Week. Since the video will be posted online, students will be expected to view and discuss it. I have noted that they get 200 points for contributing to a sustained and engaged discussion. But what the heck does that mean anyways? Well, in the directions for Post of the Week I note that we will define our criteria together as a class.

So yes, I know that part is vague, but I’m going to give most of the ownership of what it means to the students. I will likely come back to this chart after we have defined those criteria and add in the meaning for them.

Converting XP into Grades

Making the XP into an actual grade (an H, P, L, or F) is now very easy. First I added up the total amount of XP a student could earn XPthat was not marked with an * (because asterisks denote optional activities for additional XP). There was a tiny detail I had to pay attention to though. Since this class is a hybrid class, when we do Post of the Week students either lead a discussion in class or create a video to have a sustained conversation online.

I gave students a bit more XP if they did a video because, based on my experience, students are more likely to think creating a video is more challenging than leading an in-class discussion. However, no one can be penalized for doing one versus the other so it just makes the point spread a tiny bit different depending on what route a person goes.

One thing I noticed about myself is I am being very mindful of how I assign XP and how I then convert it into a grade. My advice here – go slow when you are adding things up.

Here is how I explain the XP to grade conversion to my students:

Translating XP Into an Actual Grade

There are two different approaches to earning your grades in this class, and there are very slight differences. If you choose to lead an in-class discussion around Post of the Week, you will not earn as many XP as someone who does a video. However, this does not effect your grade. If you selected to do an in-class discussion you just have fewer possible XP to earn. You are not penalized for this.
Track One
Use these guidelines if you lead an in-class discussion for Post of the Week

H = 26,640-29,600 XP

P = 23,680-26,639 XP

L = 20,720-23,679 XP

F = 20,719-0 XP
Track Two
Use these guidelines if you created a video for Post of the Week

H = 26,910-29,900 XP

P = 23,920-26,909 XP

L = 20,930-23,919 XP

F = 0-20,929  XP

The spread is still the same percentage wise regardless of what track the student ended up on. You still need between 90-100% of the total XP to get an H and 80-80% of the total XP to get a P and so on.

Until Next Time…..

I do have a second course I am gaming, and I will share those quests and XP too at some point. Maybe it will help to see more examples. However, in my next post I will talk about Achievements/Badges and what to do with some of that extra (and optional) XP.

One Year Ago Today


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