Grading with XP??? Gamification Part III

Grading System with XP????

At this point it is important to discuss how grading works in my course. Students’ day-to-day course work of reading and understanding the material tends to get them little to no Experience Points (XP). Students earn most XP in class activities or on side quests.

Students earn Class XP from work times, simulations, and good demonstration of teamwork. Royal Rumbles are review days held on some Fridays, and these are always a good opportunity for points. This is a time when I ask each guild questions from this current unit as well as earlier units to test their knowledge. Coming up with creative activities that test students understanding of the material and still present a challenge to them is the key. Some examples are:  a mapping activity known as Geo Challenges; Engineering Days, where students can build structures; Great Debates; a huge class tableau; and much more.

Once you get started, the ideas will start flowing. Students earn the bulk of their XP from side-quests. These side-quests would be the equivalent of what you might have offered as extra-credit projects in the past. This time they are only for XP and no extra-credit. Students have pushed themselves to earn as much XP as possible in my course. This will help them use more powerful items, unlock extra privileges, and earn leader-badges that will help them on their path to glory.

Quick Grading Tips:

  • Don’t take away XP. Just like knowledge in real-life, I am trying to show that once XP are earned, no one can take them away.
  • When picking a XP point system, always choose a higher total.  If a student did a great job on a project (92%), don’t just give 92 XP – that’s not that fun! Give 475 XP , which will get kids excited. Take a page from the video game world – more is definitely better. Also, it will help make your game/class different.
  • Make it increasingly difficult to upgrade.  In my system, each level requires another 100 points to upgrade to next. For example, if level one is at 1000 points, level two is at 2100, level three is at 3200 I think you get the idea
  • When giving XP on side quests, I am a very harsh judge. Unlike the traditional grade system where you rarely use the first 50% of the grading system, I do! If students don’t produce their best – something extraordinary – they will not receive a high percentage. Only the very highest percentage earns the leader badges (see below).

If it was not clear to this point, XP does not equal a students’ grade. I have told them there is a correlation between the two. Students who tend to try to earn the most XP will also be students who often do well on our tests and projects we have in the year. I made the decision early on to keep my XP system separate from my grading system, which is the traditional grading system. Points earned on test, quizzes, and projects (with a little participation percentage) create their grade within my course.

Keeping the two separate presents several benefits. First, with the XP not being their grades, I can make the leaderboard public with out too much guff from parents. Secondly, I can award XP for what ever comes to mind. This gives me tremendous opportunities to motivate and inspire kids in our story line. Students find it very refreshing that things don’t have to be so “schoolish” all the time in the Realm
When a student does what is expected, he or she will a grade but no XP. Going above and beyond, taking on side-quests, and committing yourself to excellence within the Realm all lead to great rewards within the game environment. This means more XP, more items, more badges and greater abilities for the student.


Reporting Progress…

Within the Realm of Nobles citizens can see their progress on the Realms leader-board, which I post to the class Moodle.  I use a Google spreadsheet to simplify my life, while adding tons of data for my students to look at and interpret.  I highly recommend teachers use Google Docs/Spreadsheets, as they will give adequate feedback for students, and status to those who struggled for those points along the way. This public display helps give feedback by simply measuring their day-to-day progress and comparing it to the Realm. This system is found in most games. A public leaderboard helps push everyone in the game system to achieve his or her personal best. I was very curious if it would only be motivational to the top producers. I was pleased to see that it was motivational at all levels. The top was pushing each other to do better and better, while the middle was keeping a close eye on the top, seeing where they could make a move and rise in the rankings. The bottom was striving to get ahead and looking at their personal rank within the game system. Below are some screenshots from my Google spreadsheet.

Gamification -Leaderboard

Figure 1 – Leaderboard




>>> This figure shows the leaderboard. There are columns for total XP, Guild Total, Class or House they are in, Guild they are in and XP percentage  based on the total points available within the game so far.





Standing within the grade chart

Figure 2 – Total XP grade level chart




>>> Figure 2 shows a bar graph of students’ total XP for the entire grade level. This is a nice visual of how they are stacking up with the other students, without seeing all the names.





Gamification - House Total

Figure 3 – House Total



>>> Figure 3 shows house totals. This is very important to my storyline. Within the class I have a house leaderboard as well, containing the four houses names on display in order of points. Students always want to update this based on the most recent standings.




Gamification - Guild Total

Figure 4 – Guild Totals



>>> Figure 4 shows guild totals. This one is more for pride than anything else. I have some items that work based on guild rank but other than that this is just more fun info for the students some even get swept up into the data.



This kind of data and public display really captivates and motivates students. I have seen students checking this during their free time and asking classmates to join them on side-quests to earn more XP for house or guilds. With Google’s ability to embed these forms on webpages, I only need to update my original and all my embedded copies get updated automatically. I think we should all work smarter, not harder. Thanks Google! Think of ways you can cut the data to display information for your students. I highly encourage you to use some kind of leader board and offer student access to their standings, as it is one of the central points in Gamification.

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What’s Next?

Grading in a Gamified Classroom – Gamification Part IV

<——- Enter The Realm – Gamification Part II



  1. I’m interested in your decision to separate the grade and the game. Is this because of community push-back? In my context, I have trouble getting my kids to even care about one grading system. If I introduced a second, they would certainly ignore it…or get upset that it didn’t affect their grade directly.

    • John,
      Great question. I have found because of the game system and mechanics that students are more interested in their XP. The grade system isn’t inspiring enough to affect real change in attitude or behavior. When they start to move through your game, leveling up and earning badges, they will be learning your material as well. One system, a more inspiring system, will increase their grade as well. This will create a postivie loop that will help them see their effort affects their outcomes in life and in the game.

  2. This is fantastic. One question, as I am using the sheet right now. Can students belong to more than one guild? There are columns for up to ten guilds, so how does that work RE entering on the sheet? Guild 1 column is my student’s teams that they are already divided into by the school. They also want to make their own guild’s…possible?

    • There are room for up to 10 guild names. This is if you wanted to switch guilds back and forth. You can only display one at a time but on the control panel you can select what guild you are using. I hope that makes sense. I use it to show how well they would have done if you kept old guilds. Just a fun stat. I am glad you like the spreedsheet. It is crazy powerful.

      • Got it. Changing the guild number reflects on the charts. That means I can compare by class, by school team and by their own guilds. Where I was getting confused was when students wanted to be in TWO of guilds of their own making. SO I have it figured out now. You can tell there was a good deal of excitement introducing this! Their homework is to come up with exciting level titles 1-20 for the game. To be honest not sure how it will play out as I haven’t planned the whole thing out. What’s the best way to contact you for advice, Twitter? Cause I’m sure I’ll need some more at some point!

  3. This is great information–I feel like I can’t get enough! Can’t wait for your book to come out–or at least be listed on Amazon so I can add it to my wish list! 🙂

    At ITEC, I think you mentioned that you switch up the guilds every quarter or so, while the houses are obviously tied to the students’ periods… how do you navigate or explain the switching of guilds? I like the idea of getting them to work with others, but wonder A. how to incorporate that into the story and B. wonder how you decide which kids go where… and actually, C. whether you have the kids pick new guild names each quarter or if they just move around within the ones that were created initially.


  1. Enter The Realm – Gamification Part II | - [...] Grading with XP??? Gamification Part III | - [...] <——- Enter The Realm – Gamification Part II [...] [...]

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