Bumping Grades

Discussion in 'General Education' started by RadiantBerg, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    Nov 30, 2013

    We have a math department wide grading policy of 60% tests/quizzes, 20% classwork/homework, and 20% marking period exam.

    The computer calculates a grade 89.5-92.4 as A-, 79.5-82.4 as B- etc, and inevitably I get kids with grades in the range 89-89.4 who ask me if they can do something to make the grade an A- instead of B+. I've asked other teachers what they do. Some bump everyone within half a point, some bump no one and go solely with the computer, and some offer kids within that range the opportunity to "argue" points back. The difference between 89.3 and 89.5 is generally around 4 or 5 points on a test grade.

    What I've decided to do is use the marking period exam to decide whether I bump anyone up (I won't bump anyone lower than what the computer says though). If a student has an 89.3, but got an A on the marking period exam, then they know their stuff at an A level so I bump it up. On the other hand if a student has an 89.3 and got a B- or C+ on the marking period exam, I would keep them at the B+ grade.

    How do you handle this, and do you think my system is fair?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think it sounds fair as long as you apply the same rules to everyone (and it sounds like you do). It also sounds like it could be a lot of work for you, depending on how many students are affected.

    Grades in my district are easier because they are whole grades (A, B, C...no pluses and minuses). I bump everyone up with a __9.5 or higher overall grade to the next letter. So, 89.6 = A. I have my gradebook set to do this automatically, so it's no extra work for me.

    If I had a system like yours, I might also add in one more component and require students to have no missing work in order to receive the bump.
     
  4. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    I offer a lot of purposeful "cushion" grades throughout the grading period as well as opportunities for corrections and grade replacements. I may review my tutorial records and award extra credit to regular attendees who put in the extra effort, but I do not bump grades. Students who are running around trying to get extra credit the day before grades are due kill me. It's not fair to bump them to an A if they didn't care about that grade earlier when other kids worked their hardest all along. An 89 means they could have done 1% more...maybe it'll motivate them for next time.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that this is also mostly fair. I don't offer a lot of cushions, so that's why I don't mind a small bump at the end.

    I see that you teach 6th grade. Do you think that there is or should be a difference in bumping policies between middle school and high school?
     
  6. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I bump a grade up if it's .5 or above. (79.5, 89.5)

    I offer students the chance to redo an entire test problem after a test, so I think that's generous enough. Thus, I do not bump grades at the end of a marking period.
     
  7. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    I do make great efforts to make sure parents are aware of the situation and the opportunities I offer. I probably work harder in 6th to keep parents informed than I would in high school because, let's face it, 6th graders usually aren't as responsible or "big picture" concerned as juniors and seniors. But I think by 6th grade, kids know how school works and what's expected, so I don't think there should really be much of a difference.
     
  8. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    My school only uses whole numbers, but I always bump up final quarter grades 2 to 4 points based on student behavior as a way to reward the well-behaved. Poorly behaved students (those who are always talking, constantly cursing, disruptive, disrespectful, etc.) simply get whatever the computer says their grade is. I never lower a child's grade for behavior. Also, I rarely fail kids; I try very hard to never fail anyone.
     
  9. RadiantBerg

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    Good suggestion.

    I view the 20% classwork/homework as a bit of a cushion, though every marking period I have a couple of kids who have higher test/quiz grades than classwork/homework. That kills me because CW/HW is such an easy grade.

    That wouldn't fly in my district as behavior isn't a big issue, though I recall you are in an inner city school? I could certainly see it more applicable there.
     
  10. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    Shouldn't their grades reflect whether they fail or not? *I* have never failed a kid grade-wise; students have, however, not mastered the skills necessary to pass my class.
     
  11. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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    I have been thinking about how to approach the end of the semester in regards to bumping grades if they are close. Since this is my first year, I don't know how much crap I will get from students about bumping their grades. I was leaning on bumping grades on a case-by-case basis meaning even if you're at a 89.99%, it doesn't mean I will give you an A.

    I would factor in a lot of things that aren't necessarily quantifiable such as effort. In other words, it would be based on whether I feel you deserve it. My only problem with this approach is that I would inevitable get accused of favoritism since there is no hard way for me to show whether a student deserves a bump over another. I mean ultimately if we want to get technical, I shouldn't even consider bumping grades. But I really don't want to be faced with a parent breathing down my neck asking me to explain why I bumped Johnny's 89.5% and not Mary's 89.99%.
     
  12. RadiantBerg

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    I know what you mean. I like to reward effort too, but it can sometimes be hard and misleading in math. Some of my kids try to move up to honors for the next year. I've found that the ones who worked really hard in my class to earn the necessary A sometimes can't make it in honors because if you have to work really hard in CP, sometimes honors can be too much of a challenge. Honors in my district requires a bit more "talent" in math as a lot of it is applying math and they don't directly teach you everything you must know. On the other hand, the kids who get the A in my class without putting in much effort usually do well if they move up to honors.
     
  13. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    My thought is that there always needs to be a hard cut-off somewhere. It stinks for the kids who just miss the cut-off, and it's a nice bonus for the kids who just squeak over the cut-off, but that's life. If your cut-off is something that rounds to 90, that should be the cut-off. If kid A gets an 89.5 and kid B gets an 89.4... good for kid A, too bad for kid B... but if you let kid B slide up, what about kid C with an 89.3?
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think you need to have a "line in the sand" somewhere. There has to be a point where THIS grade is passing, and any grade below it is not.

    Mostly for simplicity's sake, that point for me is 64.5 (passing is 65.) So if I can round your grade to a passing grade, you'll pass. If it doesn't round up to 65, then I'm very sorry, but you didn't pass.

    For what it's worth, in 28 years of teaching, it's probably been an issue twice or 3 times. The kids in danger of failing either pour it on at the last mnute, or they don't. It's very rare that any of my kids end the year with a 64.anything.

    I do warn my kids that I don't do any "magic." i report the grades they get.
     
  15. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I think it is very fair. I like it, and I would use the same system if I taught high school. :thumb:
     
  16. RadiantBerg

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    I've yet to have any major issues with passing vs. failing. It always seems to be at that B+/A- borderline that my kids start sending me emails....
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think that, if you're going to agree to bump grades,your system is about as fair as you can get. You only bump kids who have demonstrated that they know the material.

    I'm still more comfortable with my own rationale, but if you're going to bump grades, your system makes sense and is easy to defend.
     
  18. 2ndTimeAround

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    I will only bump grades if it is a matter of passing or failing. I wouldn't get any support from admin or the district if a student with a 69 failed my class, for instance.

    I will consider students that are on the border of a grade IF something major happened to them during the semester. For example, I had a student whose grandmother, who he was very close to, died unexpectantly. The student failed to turn in a report and bombed a test the next week. Even with extensions and extra help. As a result his grade dropped a whole letter grade. He rebounded and got back on track but his final grade was one whole percentage point away from his previous letter grade. I felt like the computer's calculation wasn't a true picture of his mastery so I bumped it up.
     
  19. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    This is what I usually do for my 4th graders in math only (not science). Let's say I'm giving them a classwork assignment and it's worth the basic 100 points and I want each problem to be worth 10 points. Instead of giving them 10 problems, I will give them 9, maybe even 8. So basically if someone puts their name on it, writes down the problems, and AT LEAST attempts the problems they will score no lower than a 10 or 20. This method doesn't inflate the scores because the students who get As and Bs will still get those grades whether there are 8 problems or 10. This way gives me a way of giving some credit to students, Grades below 70 are allowed to do corrections to boost say a 58 to a 70.

    I think those are sufficient, so I never adjust final grades each term.
     
  20. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I offer many opportunities for extra credit (with extra work) and redos. I really don't care what grade I give a student- I care about whether or not they know the content. Our new grading system is so bizarre that I don't have a lot of respect for it (20% tests, 20% alternative assessments, 35% classwork, 10% homework, 15% final exam). If a student is close, I'll give them a chance to argue or work their way up. At the end of the day, as long as they know the material, I don't care if they get a B+ vs an A-. So, if it's within 1%, I'll give them a chance to move up.
     
  21. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    They frown on a lot of failures at our school, too. Therefore, often times, there's A LOT MORE than .5 to 4 points added to final grades to make that happen!

    ;)
     
  22. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    This type of attitude (from schools and teachers) is one reason our education system fares so poorly on PISA.

    A large, diverse student population is another (but is largely out of our control).
     

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