tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5458172893016186479.post1083285036426612753..comments2021-01-04T06:53:55.596-05:00Comments on Thoughts on Education Policy: Pittsburgh's ExplanationCorey Bunje Bowerhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/09764159604965707919noreply@blogger.comBlogger4125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5458172893016186479.post-23675349855176839932008-09-27T20:41:00.000-04:002008-09-27T20:41:00.000-04:00nancy flanagan,We teach a two-week unit, with a mi...nancy flanagan,<BR/><BR/><I>We teach a two-week unit, with a mid-point test and a final test. <BR/>Billy tries hard (and turns in all assignments) but gets a 0% on his first test. Something clicks in Week Two, and he gets 100% on the final. So--is his grade 50%-- a failing grade? If we re-weight the grades, making the first test worth, say, 40 points and the final worth 100, he squeezes in with a just-barely C. But he's mastered the material. He now knows it cold.</I><BR/><BR/>I very, very much doubt it. He has memorized enough to get 100 on the particular final assessment but how much has he really learned? Give him a similar test in a month and I would bet a substantial amount of money that he would get a significantly lower grade.<BR/><BR/>This gives a significantly different meaning to "student achievement."Roger Sweenyhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/12734128265493099062noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5458172893016186479.post-27602237056747217752008-09-23T17:13:00.000-04:002008-09-23T17:13:00.000-04:00What's missing from all these mathematical discuss...What's missing from all these mathematical discussions is the key question: what's our real purpose in using grades?<BR/><BR/>Are we measuring learning? Are we rewarding effort? (And those are two different things, of course.) Are we thinking that grades function as motivation for students? Or are we using grades as a competitive sorting/selecting mechanism?<BR/><BR/>Sorry to get all pedagogical here, but choosing the right scale is moot until we decide what grades are supposed to do or tell us.<BR/><BR/>Suppose we assert that the highest purposes of grades--measuring student achievement, giving that feedback to students and parents--are our goals. We teach a two-week unit, with a mid-point test and a final test. Billy tries hard (and turns in all assignments) but gets a 0% on his first test. Something clicks in Week Two, and he gets 100% on the final. So--is his grade 50%-- a failing grade? If we re-weight the grades, making the first test worth, say, 40 points and the final worth 100, he squeezes in with a just-barely C. But he's mastered the material. He now knows it cold. What are we measuring? <BR/><BR/>There are teachers who prefer to give recorded grades only at a summative point in the learning cycle--a place where we truly can measure the effectiveness of the lessons. But--there are school districts which now require a minimum number of posted grades per week (and on-line open gradebooks making helicopter parents antsy).<BR/><BR/>A poster in your previous blog wrote about grades as a competition and comparison model--and for many observers, the sole purpose of grading is figuring out who "should" be rewarded. For many students, after the first round of being told their work is substandard, grades have virtually no motivational effect. That doesn't mean we shouldn't rigorously critique student work--we should, and frequently. What we need to re-think is grading. <BR/><BR/>I saw a presentation once where, using the same 4 pieces of graded work, the final grade could be calculated as an A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C- or D+, (somewhere between 90/100 and 69/100 points) depending on the scale and rational weighting formulas. Let's face it--grading is a crapshoot.Nancy Flanaganhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/00047575960944913289noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5458172893016186479.post-27238200711234728122008-09-23T09:51:00.000-04:002008-09-23T09:51:00.000-04:00I don't entirely understand the rationale behind t...I don't entirely understand the rationale behind the new system. The district states that this will help avoid discouraging students who would not be able to pass a class once they got received a ZERO on an assignment. <BR/><BR/>Looking at the numbers, this is incorrect. Assuming assignments are weighted equally, one ZERO plus two 100% equals 66.7% = D. One ZERO plus three 100% equals 75%= C. One ZERO plus four 100% equals 80% = B.<BR/><BR/>Basically, if a student fails to turn in an assignment and receives a 0%, in a typical quarter of say 20 assignments, the student can easily pass the class by turning in subsequent assignments. <BR/><BR/>A method used by some teachers of mine in the past was to allow one or two "passes" per semester. For instance, if you didn't complete a HW assignment, or bombed one quiz, you could drop that from your grade. This might be a more effective method than pretending all ZERO's = 50%.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5458172893016186479.post-76133029917736157122008-09-23T01:45:00.000-04:002008-09-23T01:45:00.000-04:00The effect is basically the same as the 0-4 GPA sy...The effect is basically the same as the 0-4 GPA system. The average of 50 and 100 is 75, which is a C. The average of 0 and 4 is 2, which is a C.RDThttps://www.blogger.com/profile/08566356038836885187noreply@blogger.com