Perhaps the most essential component to PaySoft is the grades menu and all of its utilities. It is here that you create assignments, assign them a due date, point value, and enter in student achievement on each of those assignments. Once done, PaySoft converts all earnings into commissions, assigning a $1 value to each point earned on assignments, up to the affixed value that each assignment is worth. Assignments no longer become matters of pass fail, but set commission targets for students to work toward to achieve, increasing their bottom line and moving them up the economic ladder in your class.
Each pay period screen consists of two pages. The first page is where you list your individual assignments, the date assigned, the date due, and the total point value of the assignment in question. Obviously, as stated earlier, each pay period consists of a two week time frame, and you will see that each week has ten open slots in which to list assignments, giving you twenty open assignment slots for each pay period. Considering the standard for most school districts is one or two graded items per week, this should provide you with ample room in which to record all of your assignments. Future rollouts of Classonomics, in their own standalone format outside of Excel, will give you the ability to create assignments without limit.
Based on the dates selected on the main Grades page in the Select Date Range cell, this page gives you a quick summary of the achievement ranges for all students in both areas of academic achievement and attendance. This sheet, while possible to print, would span over several pages and be in a rather confusing format. For your convenience, a printable version of this information can be obtained under the Printables section from the Control Panel.
Individual Student Point Totals
Originally designed as a background calculation sheet, it became apparent to me very early on that you would need an area in which to alter individual student points to compensate for students who register for your class in the middle of fiscal quarters, have excused absences, etc. For those students, whose average cannot fairly be calculated against the full point total available for the grading period, you may lower the overall point total which their grade is figured against for the earnings period in question.
Due to the fact that you can suffer from visual pollution based on the amount of information presented on this page—which attests to the fact that it was originally designed as a back end caluclator, not a front end input screen—I have formatted the screen so that you can only edit the light grey cells. This, as stated a moment ago, gives you control over lowering the overall point totals that the student’s commission total is calculated against to give a percentage and letter grade representation of student achievement levels.
The Close Gradebooks button closes the grade book menu and returns you to the Control Panel.
This menu is self-explanatory, but there is one thing of note to mention. That being the “Select Date Range” cells on this page control not only the grades and averages represented on the Class Averages page, but these cells also cause PaySoft to calculate the total cost of a grade based on points available for the date ranges selected between both attendance and commission earnings. The only other cell you have control over in this window is the “Select Student” cell. All others automatically show you student achievement levels in the area of academic performance, attendance, and behavior bonuses and fines.
While this will only require a brief explanation, it is a tremendously important part of the Classonomics system. This window gives you the statistical information you will have to enter into the appropriate price list, stating how much each individual grade will cost. These price lists, which are printable under Printable page, should be posted in adequate time for students to submit payment in a timely fashion before report cards go home. Which brings us to a very important discussion about this entire system: Are you prepared for a student to be able to purchase a grade that is lower than what their respective achievement level was during that term?
You have to prepare yourself for the eventuality that an A or B student will not manage their “financial house” well enough throughout the semester to be able to purchase a grade that is an equivalent representation of the quality work they did during the term leading up to grade purchase time.
Likewise, some industrious student may have done work below a particular grade level, but have managed to acquire enough funds to purchase a grade outside of their performance range by starting their own business or receiving loans from fellow students. Whatever the case, you must be prepared to deal with situations where students either cannot purchase a grade they have earned or have acquired funds to purchase a grade above what their assignment performance would dictate.
As with real life, very well paid individuals can get into debt problems by overspending on discretionary items to the point that they cannot fund their monthly obligations (mortgage, rent, utilities, etc.). This simulation of real life is exactly the point of Classonomics, to learn such lessons now, even if at the expense of a lower grade, so that they do not wind up with debt later on that destroys their credit and lead to emotional problems, which the debt ridden usually suffer from.
And, as mentioned just above, some of the wealthiest individuals on the planet are ones that did not excel at book work, but struck out on their own and made a fortune as an entrepreneur. This should be encouraged as a facet of real life simulation and helping students find the things that they excel at.
The Black Market
I will not practice deception and act as if a simulation of real life may not be susceptible to corruption and/or extortion. Just as it is possible that a bully could attempt to force a student to complete their homework assignments or allow them to cheat off of a test, it is possible a student of similar caliber could attempt to force fund transfers from “rich” students. It is your job to be ever aware of possible situations like this, or even hiring an auditor to examine student accounts to look out for fraudulent activity.
However you choose to structure this system within your classroom, it is recommended to keep in mind that, just as industrious enterprises can spring up amongst your young entrepreneurs seeking to take advantage of the economic liberties granted by Classonomics and your superior instruction, it is possible that corruption could come into play as well.