If you've been to one of our presentations at a conference, you know that we don't think of MBTN as an assessment tool. We believe that both the tutorials and the problem sets are essential parts of the learning experience or "textbook".

However, we also acknowledge that professors need to assign grades to students and recognize that if MBTN is positioned only as a resource or an optional assignment, most students won't do the work. A related wrinkle is that because MBTN is designed to encourage practice and mastery, it allows students to work on the problem sets until they get all the questions correct. This makes a 100% score possible for any student who puts in the work. So the issue becomes, how do we encourage practice and mastery, yet at the same time get some type of grade out of the system? I'll share with you some of our recommendations as well as some more creative approaches other professors are using.

Approach 1: Use MBTN as a Graded Assignment
Pros: Simple, Encourages Practice
Cons: Not a Good Distribution Curve

The simplest approach is to make MBTN a graded assignment worth up to 20% or so of their overall grade (that % may vary considerably depending on how many modules are selected). Their grade becomes just the average of the scores on the modules. By definition, this means that if they do work and invest the time, it is possible for all students in a class to score 100% on all the modules. We don't think that is a bad outcome!

There are many variations of this approach. For example, full credit for achieving the Brand Manager level (defined as 2 out of 4 problem sets completed with all questions correct or 80% of questions correct). We don't recommend lower than that to receive full credit. Both of these approaches will typically not achieve a good distribution curve. But it will provide good motivation to do the assignments and then the content should be covered in the mid-term and/or final exams.

Approach 2: Withhold Problem Set 4 For In-Class Quiz or Use Score on Certificate Exams
Pros: Good Distribution Curve
Cons: Problem Set Requires Manual Grading, Certificate Exams may not align with course objectives

We have several professors who choose to only assign 2 or 3 of the problem sets and then use the withheld problem sets to create in-class quizzes or exams. We are happy to generate a pdf of the problem sets with answer keys for any professor interested in this approach. Each semester we can generate a unique problem set with different random numbers in it.

If you are teaching a marketing class and are taking advantage of the certificates, you may also use the scores on those examinations to generate more of a curve. Do recognize that if they don't pass on the first attempt, they will have another opportunity in 7 days. The certificates can also be used as a nice way to receive extra credit (as well as enhance their LinkedIn profile).

Other Variations: Accuracy Scores and Effort Measures

We have a few professors who include the accuracy scores as part of their grading process (questions answered correctly / number of attempts). If you choose to include the accuracy measures, we would suggest it be under 20% of the overall MBTN grade. At the other end of the spectrum, we have a handful of professors who only use the effort scores (e.g. did a student at least attempt all the questions in the problem sets) and don't worry about if they answered it correctly or not. While we don't necessarily recommend these measures for various reasons, in some situations it can make sense.

General Recommendations

At the end of the day, our recommendation is to have MBTN worth up to 10% of the overall grade (that would be for a class using at least 6 modules) and that students would receive full credit for reaching Brand Manager level. Be sure the module topics are covered in the primary means of assessment (exams, case preparation, etc.). If students don't get to Brand Manager, reduce their credit based on their score. For example, a 60% score would give them 75% on a module (60% / 80% = 75%, where 80% is Brand Manager level). You'll also probably find that some students will spend additional time on the problem sets and surpass the Brand Manager level. That is additional preparation for the exam and additional practice and learning that they've chosen to do. We hope they'll take that extra step and gain a sense of mastery on their own, because after graduation, that's how the world works!