Getting Serious About Games: Part 4- Grades and Leaderboards

Figuring out how grades and the grading system will play out is probably the most daunting task of gamifying your class, but also the most logical to completing the gamified setting. Just deciding to use XP and AP and leaving it at that would be a major detriment to your students and the flow of the gamified class. And parents, much like their children, want to see how their child is performing in your class.

Once the basics of a gamified class are underway: XP, AP, and Badges, the next task is synthesizing all of the student work into one log to showcase their accomplishments. Enter the leaderboard…

For each assignment that the students complete, decide how much XP it will be worth and what the mastery level will be. This is how much the students will achieve when they complete or MASTER the assignment or task at hand. For example, when my students take a quiz, the level of mastery they must achieve before moving on is an 80. Once you do this, you’ll have to manage all of these points, as well as AP into some type of leaderboard. There are a lot of different tools out there for doing this, but I used a Google Sheet that tracked everything via underlying scripts. The leaderboard looked like this:

Screenshot 2016-03-16 at 8.22.49 AM

What is nice about this leaderboard is that is keeps track of everything I need. I can sort through “spendable AP”, I can show student “learner tags”, I can even check total class individual XP achievements. I took this leaderboard and ended up posting it on my class Schoology page as well as my teacher website. Students knew exactly where to look to be able to keep track of their progress. It helped motivate a lot of students and added a little competitive edge to the class.

A side note: The leaderboard really adds another element to the class. My students used it as a motivator. They would track their classmates progress and push themselves to do better. I took my gamified class a step further and had students form “Houses” (Game of Thrones style) in which this was their set team to work with during Social Quests/group assignments. So my students competed individually, as “Houses” within the class, and across classes. It trully added another element to the whole atmosphere.

True story- one of the more difficult students in my school, who rarely completed any assignments for other teachers, ate my class up. He was one of the best students I had using the gamified model. It even got to the point where one day he asked if he could use the restroom. I replied, “Do you want to spend AP?” (students could spend AP points in my class on things like going to the locker/restroom, etc.) He looks at me for a bit, then turns around and continues to work at his desk. A student who rarely stayed in class for a majority of teachers took it upon himself to make a decision that completing work was more important than using the restroom. He wanted to keep his points to “beat” his other classmates. Win-win for me!

As your students complete tasks, make sure to stay on top of the leaderboard. Add any XP improvements, AP additions, and most definitely make any changes regarding students changing their “Learner Tags” (which they love to do using AP). They will not let that go should you not change it. But what this shows, is their involvement in the class. Their enjoyment in competing and learning, at the same time.

If your looking for information on how to set-up the leaderboard, Chris Aviles has a great video that will walk you through the nuances of setting it up. You can find his video here.

One thing I really enjoyed about the leaderboards, was the overall excitement my students (even Highschool students) got over it. They were serious about how they would be perceived by other students, and perception can go a long way. Shoud you have any questions, reach out and drop me a line.




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