Case against zero

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by MikeTeachesMath, Oct 13, 2012.

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  1. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Oct 13, 2012

    In my Ed Psych class, we've been talking a lot about fair grading and what should make up a final grade. We talked about how a student's final grade for a course should not be simply an average of all their grades, since that "muddies" their final mark. On a similar note, we should not be giving grades for things like participation, readiness, an organized binder, etc., since those things do not test how well the student knows the course material.

    I'm able to fully subscribe to everything up until the case against zero. I understand that putting in a 0 for an assignment that's not handed in is kind of unfair in our current system, since that 0 will get averaged in and thus the student's final grade won't be representative of their knowledge of the material.

    So what do you do? If you want your final grades to accurately represent knowledge, you can't give a student a 0 for a missing assignment. But in the same strand, you can't NOT give them a 0, since other students put time and effort into the assignment. Do you give them a grade of "failing minus 1" (i.e. 65 - 1 = 64)? What about the students that actually worked on it that failed?

    One article we read said that you should never assign a grade of less than the failing cutoff, i.e. if 65 is failing in your school, you should never give a student a 64 or lower on a completed assignment.

    Then we read an article that said we should stop grading assignments from 0 - 100, and instead from 0 - 4, with 0 being "did not meet expectations," 3 being "met expectations," and 4 being "exceeded expectations". Then the final grade will be based on their assignments, plus a final cumulative exam.

    What do you think of all this? I guess I'm just so used to the current system that it seems a little strange, but the articles make very good points.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think the problem with zero is that it's an easy out. It allows a kid to opt out by not doing the assignment.

    An Incomplete, on the other hand, means he gets no credit for the course until he fulfills all the major requirements. My school is great about allowing us to give Incompletes.

    LIkewise, I think the case about not giving a kid a failing grade is about pushing the kid until he knows the material, as opposed to giving him that failing grade and moving on.

    As a parent, I HATE the 1-4 scale.
     
  4. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Agreed. I'm definitely guilty of simply not doing an assignment in HS just because I didn't feel like doing it, as long as it wasn't something that would affect my grade too much.

    Where do you draw the line between "major requirements" and all other assignments? Will the student get an Incomplete in June if they don't make up one quiz from November?

    Why don't you like the 1-4 scale?
     
  5. McParadigm

    McParadigm Companion

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    It'd be fantastic if we could apply this everywhere. Unfortunately, it doesn't work well if you're working within the social promotion years, or if you've got a combination of angry parents and weak administrator.

    Absolutely agree. I understand that adding a grade to them means being able to have a ready-made consequence, but it's both damaging to the grade as a system for communicating content area acquisition, and frankly unnecessary. I can't imagine that any of us couldn't think of an alternative way to get kids to bring their books and a pencil to class.

    As far as the big zero is concerned, there are a lot of different things being tried, and not a lot being embraced. It's one thing to recognize "this is not the best method," and a whole other to determine the preferred alternative. Answering a question usually takes longer than asking it.

    Trend scores have good intentions, but don't work well in a lecture-and-worksheet environment. They just result in less work being turned in, and a lot of confusion.

    I'll tell you what I started doing about 6 years ago, and it's counter intuitive but it worked really well: I never talked about grades. I talked about expectations, and goal setting, when introducing an assignment. I kept feedback immediate and related to the stated goals. And, I counseled with students at least every other week about their success in my class. But instead of phrasing it in terms of percent and grades, I talked about and had them talk about what they were doing well, what was challenging them, and what they just didn't get. We did a lot of goal setting like "By this time next week, I'd like to be able to..."

    It took about 5 weeks each year for students to stop asking about their grade, but nobody ever came bursting in surprised/angry if they got an F at the end of the quarter. And the amount of work getting turned in actually increased, substantially.

    Last year and the year before that, my district was using trend scoring. All anybody could complain about (besides how confusing it was...but that was down to poor district training) was how so much less work was getting turned in. If I had 20 assignments in the gradebook for a quarter (I tend to focus on project-oriented pieces with posted rubrics, so 20 would be on the high end for me), I averaged between 5 and 10 missing assignments for a class, total. Class size averaged 25...so that's 5-10 out of 450 spots, in a rough middle school with kids who have "sussed" both the social promotion system and how to use trend scoring as a reason not to do work...and more importantly, the work I was getting was better. The kids weren't focusing on "what do I have to do to get a C...I'm happy with a C." They were looking at assignments as events in their lives rather than events on their report cards.

    It doesn't answer the "should a 0 be acceptable?" question...but it does just about eliminate the need to ask it.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Tests and quizzes aren't a problem for us... a kid who has missed too many will be pulled in on a Saturday.

    But a kid who hasn't handed in a project or paper will receive an Incomplete.

    As to the 1-4, I guess it's the math teacher in me. I don't want to read something like "partially met expectations"-- it's too vague. I like percentages. Tell me how often the expectations were met, or which ones were met how often. I think this is another area where we've gotten too PC, desperately trying not to say too much or risk offending some parent with the idea that his or her child might not have learned the material. I would much appreciate a solid "68%" over a touchy-feely "Barely met expectations" because it tells me what I need to know; that just over 2/3 of the time my child understood the material on the test. That's the funny thing-- the tests haven't changed. So Kira will come home with a spelling test with 20 questions on it. You and I both know that if she got 16 of them right, she's earned an 80%. Yet the grade on the paper will be a "3"-- the same grade as if she had gotten 15 or 17 of them right.
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mike---I'm not sure what will happen in the world of high school, but many middle and elementary schools are moving away from class grades to standard grades. So basically a student is meeting the standard or not meeting the standard. This will mean that practice is just that and if a student chooses not to practice there will be little consequence reflected in his/her grade. Only assessments (whether it be oral, a test, project, etc) will count in the grading.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My school has switched to a 4-point weighted scale this semester. So far, it's working well. A missed assignment isn't the end of the world, but the student who skips all written assignments in favor of the multiple choice quizzes isn't going to do well. Those quizzes are weighted with a 1.0 while the short answer quizzes are weighted 2.0. If they skip longer writing assignments that are weighted 2.5 - 4.0 (only the final portfolio assignment is weighted with a 5.0), it will still bring down their grade, but not as badly as if they'd skipped a 100 point assignment.
     
  9. Cerek

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    I have no problem giving a "0" for work that is not done or for a deliberate lack of participation in class.

    If a student does not turn in an assignment, then they have not demonstrated any knowledge of the material. If they do understand the material, they will have a second chance to demonstrate that on the test. That won't erase the "0" on the missed homework assignment, but will help offset it somewhat. If they don't know the material, then the test will highlight that as well.

    Even so, I normally leave missed assignments "blank" in the gradebook software. That gives them the opportunity to bring the missing work in (and receive a grade on it), but still counts as a "0" at the end of the grading period if the work was not turned in. Right now, I do not penalize students for turning work in late. If they turn the assignment in on the last day of the grading period, they still get credit for it.

    The only time I actually input a "0" into the gradebook is when the student miss every problem on the assignment or simply refuses to do the assignment at all. Last week, one student got angry in class because I made her throw away the candy she was eating in class (which is not allowed). I gave the students an enrichment exercise to do in class that day. She literally threw her assignment in the floor and refused to do it. So she got a "0" on the assignment.

    I do NOT agree with the policy of never giving a grade lower than a "50" on an assignment, because that is not a true reflection of the student's knowledge or mastery of the material. The vast majority of kids who score below a "50" on any assignment do so because they are not paying attention in class or taking notes. In other words, they are making no attempt to learn or understand the material, so I have no problem giving a grade that accurately reflects that lack of understanding. If a student IS trying their best and still struggling, then I will bump their grade up based on their effort. I posted grades for our first 9 weeks yesterday and did this for 2 students. They both had averages that were a few points shy of passing, but they always give 100% effort in class, do every assignment and ask lots of questions when they are struggling, so I bumped their grade up enough for them to receive a passing grade.

    I also give the students a chance to bump their own grade. I give a "Bonus Question" at the beginning of almost every class. The question is based on the material we covered the day before and is usually a fairly easy problem. This is my version of a "Bellringer" or "Do Now" activity. Each Bonus Question is worth 1 point and those bonus points are added directly to the students' score on the next test. I try to make sure the kids have a chance for at least 10 "bonus points" on each test, which could potentially raise their test grade by at least one letter grade.
     
  10. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    Oct 13, 2012

    I teach in a 7-12 school. Our 7s and 8s are on one type of grading scale and our 9-12 are on a different type.

    For our 7s and 8s, we do have a 4 point system, except they're letter grades:

    A - they've met all of the learning outcomes being assessed
    B - they've met most of the learning outcomes being assessed
    C - they've met some of the learning outcomes being assessed
    D - they've met few of the learning outcomes being assessed

    It's a fairly good system - in it's own bubble. The problem is the transition to number grades when they get to grade 9. For example, I just gave my grade 9 class a test. One student, who was a straight A student for me last year, got an 88% on her test. Why? Because mistakes that were "overlooked" on the A, B, C, D scale are now being "marked".

    For example, she was given a question where she had to find the length of an unknown side of a right triangle. She set the question up properly, showed her work, but miscalculated a step. She said that 8^2 = 16. Now, I KNOW she knows that 8^2 = 64. And, when she was in Grade 8, I would have given her an A because I would have been assessing her ability to understand the Pythagorean relationship - the answer was somewhat irrelevant. In Grade 9, I had to deduct partial marks for her miscalculation. So, our Grade 9s struggle a bit with the transition.

    As for the 0 grades, we aren't allowed to give them until the last second. During the semester, we have to give incompletes. Nearing the end of the course, we have to give our students clear instruction on when the last day to hand assignments in is. After that date, we can change any incompletes to 0 to calculate their marks.

    I have a bit of a problem with the no 0 policies, though. I truly believe that school isn't just a place to learn material. It's where students learn social skills, life skills, etc. In the real world, a boss isn't going to just overlook an employee not getting their work done on time. The employee might be the best at...I don't know...writing that particular report, but if he or she never writes it - says "oh, yeah, I'll do it later" - that person is not going to keep their job. I don't find that there are any consequences to not handing work in.

    In my Grade 9 class, I have a group of boys who don't take their work seriously. They don't do the practice problems, don't pay attention, etc. Last year they were getting As and Bs. Well, last week I gave them a quiz. They all bombed it. At the end of class, when I was handing them out, I kept the boys back. I looked at the (little) work they had produced during class and I told them that the fact that they weren't taking my class seriously and that they weren't doing their practice problems was affecting their mark. Gave them their failed quizzes back and sent them on their way.

    The next day, they showed up and did their work and managed to pass their test at the end of the week. Sometimes a failing grade is the wake up call some kids need to smarten up. JMO.
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Even when I still had the 100-point scale, I would leave missing assignments blank in the hopes something last minute would come to me. The only time I would give a flat-out zero was if the assignment was plagiarized, and that would include a phone call home (still does). I knew teachers who would fill in all blank assignments with a 50%, but that would actually dissuade the student to bother turning in work if a grade was already entered.
     
  12. SCTeachInTX

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    May I say... Such a good answer! But I do wonder about the "other" assignments we give... Ones that do not REALLY test what kids know. ie. an organized notebook, participation, reading logs, etc. Should we only test content knowledge?I know these grades do not count as much as a test. But should the count at all?:)
     
  13. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    When I taught using percentages, my school wanted us to put in the zeros for the assignments not completed. However, many teachers would wait until the end of the grading period and then a student would drop from a C to a D- or F or an A to a C+. Well, then parents would get irate because all grades are available online for parents to check. Knowing the policy, I would put in a zero (so that the grade would reflect the score) and then add a comment so that the student knew it could still be turned in for more credit. When parents saw the D or F, they were on their child to complete the assignments missing and if the parents didn't step up, I would offer more support to complete work missing.
     
  14. paperlabs

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    Oct 13, 2012

    Back in the 60's I was always able to calculate my grade by averaging up my test grades. My calculations came out exactly the same as the grade on my report card. I got a citizenship grade that depended on whether I did the homework assignments which were given every day of the week.
    I failed 6th grade, but won the New York State chemistry regents award for my school. We were a poor farming community, but our school was ranked as one of the best in the United States and 3rd in New York.
    Now days schools want grades to reflect effort. I think this is either to give students a chance or to overwhelm teachers or both. I think some students actually deserve a grade of less than 0 because they enjoy working the system. I have students who actually say the acronym "NCLB" in their excuses as to why they should be passing. Other students have even become frustrated trying to help them during group activity time.
    I think teachers are in oblivion in the current system and that is the way it is meant to be.
     
  15. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I enter "missing" in my grade book. This counts as a zero, but it is obvious why it is there.

    If a student turns in lousy work, I have no problem giving them a 20%. This probably means they only completed 20%.

    They can resubmit or complete an alternate assignment and have the grade changed. Many don't bother, but many will, especially when they see what a 32% does to their grade.

    I have a hard enough time getting kids to turn in assignments as it is. This is a school culture issue. It doesn't help that admin encourages us to accept anything at anytime without consequence. This usually means Kid A copies from kid B and then fails the test because they didn't learn anything.

    Without grade accountability, what carrot or stick would I use? I'd rather a carrot.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think this issue is a problem with the scoring rubric, not with the 1-4 scale itself. A good rubric won't simply say "partially met expectations"--it will explicitly outline what was and was not present in the evidence submitted by the student.

    My problem with percentages is that it's really hard for me to understand the difference between 83% and 85%, especially when it comes to a big project or paper--both of which are a "B" and will appear on the report card as such (unless your school does +/-, which mine doesn't). To me, on a big project or paper, it's much easier to look at the evidence and decide that it meets expectations, approaches expectations, etc., instead of trying to justify a handful of percentage points. I think that the 1-4 scale allows teachers and students to see the big picture, the overall product--not just a sum of parts--and I think that's the point of school and education. Having said that, I do think that there are some assignments where a straight percentage would make more sense, like your spelling test example and other, knowledge-based activities where answers are objective, right or wrong, etc.

    When it comes to zeros, my feeling is generally that all letter grades should carry the same weight on the scale. If the range for a letter grade is 10 percentage points (90-100, 80-90, etc.), then an F should also be 10 percentage points (50-60). In schools that use a different letter grade scale, like 7 percent or something, the same principle applies. I think that missing assignments should appear in the gradebook as 50%--not because students have earned 50%, but because that's the bottom of the scale.

    In my gradebook, per my school's (constantly changing) grading policy, missing work is entered as a zero. At the end of the quarter, however, it rounds up any overall percentages to a minimum of 50%, for the purpose of combining grades at semester time to calculate the student's overall semester grade.
     
  17. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    We have to reset grades to a minimum of 50% at the end of the quarter.

    The kids love this. They get a B or so for the first half of the year then realize that they will pass by doing nothing for the rest of the year. They have the math all figured out.
     
  18. Go Blue!

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    This what I do. If a student doesn't hand in an assignment when it is due, I put a 0 in our online gradebook so students and their parents can see what the student's grade will be if they don't hand in the work. But, I allow all students to hand in any late work until the end of the quarter for partial credit.

    I made the mistake my first year we started using an online gradebook of not putting in zeros and leaving blanks for missing grades. When the quarter ended and I put the zeros in, some kids grades dropped from 80s or 70s to 60s and below, which did **** some parents off.
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This is why there should be a policy in place to prevent this. Maybe so many missing assignments will result in an incomplete on the report card, regardless of actual grade earned in the course.
     
  20. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Most of our work is classwork, so they do the assignments if they are there, they just don't take them seriously. Ditto tests and quizzes. I think it becomes a discipline issue. Every year, I have one or two of these per class.
     
  21. Go Blue!

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    I am unsure of what reset means, but my kids are the same way. They have realized that they can get a 65% every quarter (which is barely passing) and then fail the fourth quarter and still pass for the year because the lowest grade we can give in MS is 50% and a 60% is passing.

    Or worse, we have students that get at least a 70% the first two quarters and then they know they can fail for the last two quarters because this will still avergae out to a 60%. These kids don't care and just act a fool for the second half of the year.
     
  22. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    We use the same policy to determine if our middle school students need summer school. So basically all Fs are rounded to 50% and then we calculate their average over the year using each grading period. Well, basically, unless they earned an F each grading period, they pass for the year.
     
  23. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    There was some talk of enacting this policy. Too many teachers protested. I know of at least one who threatened to resign on the spot if it became school policy. The 4-point scale seems to be the best compromise.
     
  24. BumbleB

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    Teachers at my school were recently told that, if a special ed student has missing assignments in a class, that should NOT be reflected on an interim grade. Instead, it should be noted that they are "missing assignments" somewhere on the report. We are still unsure what happens if they still haven't turned in the work by the time report cards come out? Give them 50% (like Case Against Zero would say) or is it a zero that is now "officially" reflected in the grades? If it is turned to a zero, I feel like a lot of parents will be angry that their child's grade dropped dramatically.

    I am on the fence about Case Against Zero. I feel like an F is an F, whether it's 0% or 50%. So by giving a student who completes no work a 0%, it's really no different than giving the student a 50%. Likewise, if a student actually completes the work and genuinely scores something below 50%, it would just default to 50%. I think the grade book (and report card) needs to reflect that 50% is the "default" grade, and teachers should be able to note in the grade book whether the assignment is missing or never turned in.

    However, there needs to be SOME accountability for these students who consistently do not do work. They can't just keep getting 50% for each missing assignment and passing along. One of my colleagues mentioned that her son's school institutes a "working lunch". If a student is missing an assignment, they have to sit at a special table in the lunchroom (not with their friends) and get the work done. If it is not completed to the teacher's satisfaction, they are back at the table the next day to fix it. The student can return to their chosen table once ALL missing assignments are completed to a satisfactory level. I think this idea would provide punishment for not being responsible with the work, as well as sending the message that neglecting to do work and getting a 50% is not an acceptable choice or an "out".
     
  25. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    But not all Fs are created equal. A 0% is very different from a 50%. Imagine that there are only two assignments in the gradebook. A student does one assignment and earns 100% on it. He doesn't do the second assignment at all. In a minimum F scenario, his overall average will be 75% (100% and 50%)--still passing, still motivating him to continue being successful, maybe treating the missing assignment as a single bad decision. In the other scenario, his overall average will be 50% (100% and 0%)--failing, potentially causing him to shut down with an attitude of "I'm going to fail anyway, so why bother?", treating the missing assignment as the end of the world.
     
  26. Ron6103

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    I think part of this issue becomes less of a problem if you don't use a percentage based system for your grades. This was a major discussion this year at my school, and we have moved entirely away from percentages. I realize grading varies from school to school, but here is what we had:

    Many teachers simply had every single assignment in the gradebook entered as a percentage. Everything was thus out of 100 "points" (which was not really points, but the percentage). Therefore, a 9/10 on a short 10 problem quiz was entered as a 90/100 in the gradebook. Similarly speaking, a 50 question test with a score of 40/50, was entered as an 80/100. And so on and so forth. In this scenario then, a 0 on even a simple homework assignment was painful. Multiple zeros were catastrophic.

    Thus in THAT sort of grading system, I can see why an argument against zeros can be made. However, when we switched to a total-points based system, the problem was alleviated. A ten problem homework assignment was worth ten points, while the 50 problem test was worth 50 points. Therefore, a zero on the homework was not anywhere near as painful as it once was. Kids still get zeros when they fail to turn work in, but other work carries more weight.
     
  27. BumbleB

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    Statistically, I know they're not the same. I guess I mean the idea behind it (the "failing" aspect). I agree with you (and see it all the time) where a student makes one bad choice and his grade is destroyed, and then they feel like they can't do anything to bring it up. One of the classes in our grade does a "binder check" grade (basically on organization) that is worth ALOT of points. Students who don't turn in their binder (or don't have any of the required parts) get a 0%, and that really wrecks their grade. It's hard to see them give up on an entire quarter just because of one binder.

    I am getting the sense that you are for case against zero, Caesar. Am I correct? I'd like to hear more about your ideas...
     
  28. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    If we stick with our current system, I believe that all letter grades should carry the same weight. Beyond that, I think the whole system needs to be re-evaluated and revamped. There are too many opportunities for grades to inaccurately reflect actual mastery--excessive or inappropriate extra credit, overall grades carrying too much "practice" weight and not enough "assessment" weight, behavior/citizenship issues being rolled into grades, etc. I'd prefer to see a standards-based grading system, where mastery of each standard is scored on a 0-4 scale.

    I also believe that students shouldn't be permitted to opt out of assessments. They should earn an incomplete and be forced to retake the course if they've got too many missing assessments. If a student hasn't provided evidence of mastery, either through failing an assessment or not doing it at all, then he shouldn't be permitted to be passed through the system to the next grade, course, whatever.
     
  29. BumbleB

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    Me too. I don't know why there is such resistance to that idea...maybe someone else can enlighten me on that issue.

    Another issue I have with our current system is that a student must move up 60 percentage points before reaching a D, yet only has to move up by increments of 10 to achieve the next higher grade from then on. It's as if when kids get stuck in the F range, they are in a bottomless pit that is very difficult to climb out of.
     
  30. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Oct 13, 2012

    But, on most assignments, a kid who puts in even a moderate attempt is not likely to score too far below a 50. My tests are mostly short answer, and almost any kid can get enough partial credit to get a 50 just by trying to answer the questions. I'm big on partial credit.

    Most kids who try but still have an F grade end up in the high 50s or low 60s.

    This seems contrary to previous post, but I do like the fact that a kid who fails a quarter or two can dig out of the whole. I just hate the flip side unintended consequence.

    Also: I don't believe that any sincere attempt should result in a "carved in stone" grade. If a student is willing to improve and learn the missing material or fill in the gaps in understanding, I will do anything I can to facilitate that.
     
  31. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Oct 13, 2012

    I worked in a school where the lowest grade a student could receive was a 20%. That made more sense to me. It still gave a student hope of passing, if they had a rough few weeks, but it still made it challenging to get up to the 68% that was needed for passing. Also, it kept students from just spacing out and not doing anything.
     
  32. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Oct 13, 2012

    We used to have a no zero policy at my school. The lowest possible grade was 50% - even if they actually scored a 20% on a test. And what we found was that a boatload of students who should have been failing classes and entering remediation were being passed on by the skin of their teeth. They were not prepared to move on to the next grade level... but they did anyway.

    Since we've gone back to giving zeros/lower than 50%, the kids who really, truly need remediation get it. Test retakes are required, so we know that the kids who fail a course are failing because they aren't mastering the material despite multiple chances. I usually have 1 or 2 kids a year who need remediation.

    K-2 are piloting the 0-4 scale in my district. In theory, it sounds good to me, but in practice... I'm not sure just yet.
     
  33. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oct 13, 2012

    I think it's important to note that a grade should not simply reflect how well a student knows course material. In school, and at least in middle school, students are taught skills and many other things outside the curriculum that they will be expected to take with them to the next level.

    In fact, curriculum almost takes a backseat to the social skills, organizational skills, study skills, and general breadth that teachers should be giving students at this age.

    Grades measure more than understanding. This is especially true for the genius who knows it all, but refuses to do the work and receives a failing grade for not turning in homework.
     
  34. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    While I agree those skills are important to develop, I disagree that they should be part of the grade. If I'm passing a kid with an "A" in my calculus class, it's because he knows an "A-worthy" amount of calculus, not because he's a responsible young adult.
     
  35. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oct 13, 2012

    Hence why participation, organization or other things generally are weighted fairly low.

    Still a student could know everything there is to know about science, and he would still receive an F in my class if he refused to do the work or participate in tests.

    In my camp of thinking, effort towards learning counts every bit as much as learning, and it should be reflected in the grades.
     
  36. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 13, 2012

    Agreed, 100%.
     
  37. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Oct 13, 2012

    That's different, though. That's outright refusing to participate. Of course a student would fail a class with no grades to be entered.

    But I'm not going to give out free points if they have an organized binder, or if they hand in their homework on time, or if they participate in class -- all things they should be doing on their own anyway.

    "Effort towards learning" is fairly ambiguous anyway. How do you know Sally actually went home and studied for 5 hours and tried really really hard to pass? If she gets a 50 on the next test, you can either sit there and say "Okay, she tried." and she'll sit there with a smile on her face because she fooled you.
     
  38. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Oct 13, 2012

    Glad you agree :).

    Foreign language and math are a lot alike. You need Latin 1 to understand Latin 2 to understand Latin 3 to understand AP. In math, you need algebra to understand geometry to understand trigonometry to understand calculus.

    If I had a kid in geometry who only passed algebra because they "tried" or because their grade was inflated because of "good effort" grades, it's only hurting them and making my job more difficult, because not only do I have to teach my curriculum, but I have to help bring that student up to speed.

    I assume it's the same with Latin, except you're the only Latin teacher so you don't have to worry about teaching differences. But say there was another Latin teacher who sent kids from Latin 1 to Latin 2 ill-prepared, riding on participation grades. It's doing nobody any favors.
     
  39. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 13, 2012

    Very well said. Couldn't have said it better myself, in fact. :)
     
  40. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Oct 13, 2012

    I will geade participation if we're doing Socratic seminar or anything similar. They have to do a lot of prep for it.

    There's no possible way to pass my course if you fail my tests and quizzes.
     
  41. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Oct 13, 2012

    If a student chooses to only do half the work assigned in a class, they deserve a grade that reflects that effort (or lack of effort). If the assignment was missed due to circumstances beyond the students' control, then accommodations could be made for the student to do the work later. If they just decide they don't want to do the second assignment, then the 50% more accurately reflects their effort and teaches them that decisions carry consequences.
     
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