Does anyone have a strong preference for once system? Why? (Think high school, that's the grade level I'm doing) I have to choose between these two systems (for the computerized gradebook that my school uses). I'm leaning heavily towards total points because I feel like it gives me more flexibility. I can give a homework or classroom assignment the exact # of points I think it's worth not just a "homework average" that's worth 20%, you know? My concern, however, is that it's less intuitive and predictable for the students. I won't be able to say "your test average is worth 50% of your grade" because it will depend. Precisely how much your homework is worth at the end of the quarter is not going to be known right away. It will depend on how many points the tests end up being worth, how many points classroom activities end up being worth and how many we do. I'm just not sure what to do.

I am EXTREMELY partial to total points! The kids seem to see each assignment as more of an opportunity to earn points....They can also track their grades and calculate their average at any time by simply adding and dividing -- no percentages to make it more complicated..... Also, I felt I was able to control the impact of an assignment easier during the marking period by making worth a particular amount of points..... Its good to have an idea when you go into the first couple days of class (and esp back to school night) what amount of points on average will be used for tests, quizzes, hw, etc...so you can give examples.... Hope this helps!!!

I teach Jr high... I do total points and each assignment has a different weight in my gradebook. The only reason I do the weight system is because we have a computer system that does the calculating. If I had to do it by hand, I would have some assignments be worth more points than others. I agree, points is an easy way for kids to keep track of their own grades.

From my experience in using percentages, I would recommend total points. Kids can keep track of their own grades. There was also a glitch in the way the electronic grading system rounded percentages. I don't remember the specifics but it made a difference in several student's grades when I calculated by hand. If you like the idea of percentages, you can still use it in a total points format. For example, if you wanted to have homework worth 25%, quizzes 25% and tests 50%, you could have 400 pts total where 100 are homework, 100 are quizzes, and 200 are from tests.

Percentages are ridiculously hard for parents and students to understand. Like Taz just said, you can ultimately makes points work as percentages anyway.

I don't teach this level, but what happens if you decide to give an extra quiz for some reason? Or an extra assignment that wasn't planned before hand? I'm just thinking of reteaching or times when something else comes up? Are you not able to do this?

I think I might be confused on your question, but I think these situations are where total points is so beneficial. Extra assignments can just be assigned a point value and added in.

I am not a fan of straight total points. I tried it this year and my big problem about it was that I had to take the time to assign point values accordingly so that my assignment grades did not out weigh the tests and quizzes. Also I grade every assignment for accuracy and it as tough to grade each assignment like this and give the assignments a low point value. I also did not like the fact that if I was not diligent in assigning point values my grade would not be reflective of the way I want. With percentages I always know how everything will play out. With percentages in the past I have done two things. I have just recorded all grades as a percent (meaning everything has the same weight) and I have recorded each grade as points earned/possible so that assignments graded out of a larger point value will have a greater weight within their respective categories. This year I am just recording as points earned/possible with in each category and the occasional assignment may be worth 2-3 grades. My percentages are set up like this: AP US History: 40%: Tests, Major Projects, and Papers. 25%: Quizzes 35%: Homework, Classwork, and AP Writings. Geometry CP: 25%: Quizzes and Binder (2 times per week) 25%: Homework and Classwork 50%: Tests US I Honors: 35%: Tests and Major Papers/Essays/Projects 25%: Quizzes and Binder Checks 20%: Homework 20%: Classwork **Minor projects and essays can be a hw, cw, or quiz grade.

So Brendan, you essentially do total points within a percentage system? This is interesting, because my main problem with percentages is that all assignments in one "category" (e.g. Tests, Homework) are given equal value. I like that total points allows me to give a more involved homework more weight than a less involved one. With your system, though, I could do that within the categories, but still have a percentage system to make sure that the total impact of a category is fixed. I like that, I'm going to have to give it more thought. Thanks!

My system is similar to Brenden's. I do total points within a catagory, then each catagory is worth a percentage of the final grade. I had to get our IT guy to help me set it up in the electronic gradebook, but it worked out perfectly.

That is exactly what I do. I like it because in my AP class I can make a workbook assignment a 25 point homework grade and then make a DQB a 75 point homework grade.

I'm thinking of using the total point system in my classes. My co-op teacher used it, and I liked the flexibility and the fact that students who test poorly can still keep their grade afloat by doing well on all their assignments. I remember my days of school figuring out how one test I bombed was going to affect me - and the pain in college of having straight As in one class but doing poorly on the final and my grade being pulled down to a B+. Anyway, could some of you either post or PM me HOW you explain the point system on your handout to students. I was never quite happy with my co-op's explanation - it seemed a little confusing for the student. I could just use some help in presenting it. Also, do any of you count in class participation points? How do you work those out - are they preset? Do you say, give 20 points total for class participation, or do you actually do a percentage for that part?

I would say something like: grades are based on total points system with no weighted grades. The following formula is used to determined grades: total points earned by student/ total points avaliable. Lindsay, what system did you end up using?

That's the question I had about it for my first 2 years as a teacher. I finally realized that a "Total Points" system wasn't out of 100, so I didn't have to plan each assignment and each worth -- imagine how few points each assignment would have to be worth to equal 100. A test could only be worth something like 5 points and homework would have to be worth only 1! But then I finally realized that the Total Points system actually works from a much larger tally. I currently have 30 assignments whose values total to 460 points. One student has earned 452 of those points, so she has a 98. Another student has earned only 65 of those points (not a typo) so he has a 14. Count me as another teacher fully on board with the Total Points system. Much more flexibility for both the students and the teacher!

I prefer percentages, because I don't like grading assignments using different point values. I think it is easier for students and parents to understand how a student did on one particular assignment when everything is graded consistantly (i.e. out of 100 points).

I've done both. Last year I used total point and this year I'm using a method similar to Brendan's and, to be honest, I like Brendan's system a lot better.

I use total points and am very happy with it. Students know that an in-class project worth 55-85 points carries the same weight as a test, which are usually 70-100 points. They also know that the smaller 10 point assignments do add up, but it won't kill their grade if they miss a couple or do poorly on one. I hated using percentages in a class I took over last year that had class participation as 30% and I found it hard to justify having 30% of their grade be devoted to that. Since I took over the class for a maternity leave I had to keep the system, but it really made me want to not use it in my future classroom. Also, projects were worth 15%, so if a student struggled on tests and already had a 100% in the projects part of the grade (they usually did 3 projects per quarter), they couldn't help their grade at al by doing a really good project. It was mighty tough explaining to a hard working (but poor test taker) 12 year old that her grade of 92% would drop if the next project she handed in was anything less than 100%.

I always use percentages. If I need to I can place weights on scores within a category (quizzes/exams/projects/...ect) if I want one item to count for more.

I will be using total points next quarter instead of my current percentage system. Children just understand it better when they see how many points an assignment is worth instead of telling them that certain types of work are weighted differently. From what I'm reading, there seem to be many advantages to total points.

I'm one of the few at my school who use points instead of percentages. I find it gives a truer grade and allows me to weight scores easily. (It's easy for parents to see that the 48 point science test weighs more than the 15 point lab assignment.

I also use total points. It is very difficult to explain to students and parents how their grade works using percentages. You can't just figure in how turning in a missing assignment will improve their grade. Using total points, it is easy to do that. Out tech/reading teacher uses percentages in her class, and it works for her because 50% of her class grade is for reading and the other 50% is for computers. She makes it work and it is relatively easy to understand, but for a class that isn't split, it is a little more confusing. I agree that if you do it by percentages, then it would be best to do it by categories: tests 50%, assignments 20%, participation 20%, and so on. Good luck deciding!

I also do total points within percentages. I have a huge problem with total points, unless you have a strong grasp of exactly what you will be assigning throughout a given semester before you set up the system. I have seen teacher's gradebooks who do total points, and one semester the total points will equal out to be 80% homework and only 10% papers and 10% tests, but then the next semester it might be the opposite, and the teacher doesn't even realize - they just plug everything in. My department has a mandatory 30% formative, 70% summative requirement for the gradebook. We are trying to lower formative even more, to 10-20%. Some are even suggesting recording it but not counting it at all, but that's probably a different thread entirely.

Each grade is a percentage grade but like Brendan I also use category weighting. I tried points within the category weighting and found it to be more trouble than it was worth, so I went back to percentage grading. Occasionally an assignment may be worth double or triple depending on how much time was expected to go into it.. My grades are on line so students can check it at any time.

True, but hopefully the teachers will tell them how they are grading. In high school I didn't even realize there was anything other than total points because not one teacher ever said they were grading by percentages. I don't know if that's because every teacher I had used total points or because they just never discussed it with the students. I prefer to use total points to calculate my grades.

That was exactly my same problem, by collecting one assignment you could change your percentages a lot.

I do a combo of both...it's all total points except the homework score, which I make equal to one major chapter exam of 100 points, of which there are usually three per quarter.To say it simply, I set up a proportion of the number of completed HW divided by the total number of HW possible, = X divided by 100. This gives me the HW score to be added into the total points. I do this to give a student a chance to balance a poor exam grade with a good HW grade, which is entirely under the student's control since I grade HW by completion and following directions. (If I had my druthers I'd not grade HW at all - since it isn't done in front of me, I have no real idea who did it.)