# percentages vs. total points

Discussion in 'General Education' started by each1teach1, Jun 13, 2009.

1. ### each1teach1Cohort

Joined:
Feb 12, 2007
Messages:
716
0

Jun 13, 2009

I did percentages last year and that was a pain in the butt. Some of the more organized teachers on campus use the total point system. I'm somewhat interested in the total point system but I want to know more about it. Is there anyone here who uses it and loves it? Can you explain some of the pros and cons or point me towards a website that can explain it well? I'd REALLY appreciate it.

Thanks,
E1T1 :thumb:

3. ### Ron6103Habitué

Joined:
Jul 25, 2008
Messages:
838
7

Jun 13, 2009

I imagine that by total points, you mean that instead of weighting category percentages, a teacher would simply assign different point values, and the final grade is simply based on the total points possible?

I use this system, but only because its easier on my own feeble math skills, and my terrible gradebook software. I still end up weighting things through the point system. For example, a test might be worth 100 points, while a daily homework assignment might be worth 5. The point value you place on an assignment essentially determines the weight of the assignment. The trick is simply keeping it consistent.

4. ### each1teach1Cohort

Joined:
Feb 12, 2007
Messages:
716
0

Jun 13, 2009

This is exactly what I'm referring to. I'm intrigued by the idea that if you do it right, you can know the students cumulative grade within seconds just by dividing their total points scored by the total points possible.

But I still had a few questions, such as do you determine how do you decide how many points you'll have each six weeks and is it an absolute must that you know how many assignments you'll have each six weeks and how that'll add up to the goal total. And what happens if you decide to throw in an enrichment or re-teach assignment? I'm leaning towards this system but I need to know more about the cons of the system and some of the logistical issues that people occurred when they chose to use this system.

Joined:
Sep 28, 2004
Messages:
3,319
12

Jun 14, 2009

I've used both, but much prefer percentage. I also use Blackboard to post my grades, and it figures up the averages for me. Actually, most any spreadsheet will do that.

6. ### Mrs. QCohort

Joined:
Jan 31, 2007
Messages:
518
0

Jun 14, 2009

I've known a lot of people who do the total points system, including my current college professor... but I've never really understood it. We used percentages all through grade school, so that's just what I'm more familiar with. I would love to hear the perspective of someone who uses it and can explain the details.

7. ### Ron6103Habitué

Joined:
Jul 25, 2008
Messages:
838
7

Jun 15, 2009

Although I generally know what assignments I'm going to have (I'm obsessive like that), it isn't required. Last year, while I was re-vamping a lot of curriculum, I didn't know how many points I was going to end up with within each marking period. And with re-teaching or enrichment, some class periods ended up having more total points than others. But ultimately it doesn't matter... if all you're doing is taking their points and dividing it by the total points possible to obtain the final grade, do you really need to know how many total points you will have in advance? I haven't had to.

The biggest trick I had to learn was to give assignments the proper point value. My system is now as follows:

Tests: 100 Points
Major Projects: 100 Points
Quizzes: 50 Points
Assignments (1 page papers, or maps, typically): 20 Points
Homework: 4-5 Points

I've found this works well for me.

8. ### wigDevotee

Joined:
Oct 30, 2005
Messages:
1,036
1

Jun 15, 2009

I agree with Mamacita. Each assessment gets a percentage grade. I set up the weighting in the grading program I have and it does the rest.

I never could get the point system to work right for me, but obvously others have. So I gues the best thing is to use what you are most comfortable with.

9. ### BlkjacqCompanion

Joined:
Mar 16, 2009
Messages:
123
0

Jun 15, 2009

I do the point system too (and let Blackboard do the math for me). I suppose it's like weighted grades because most of the quizzes are around 50 points and labs are 10-15.

10. ### BrendanFanatic

Joined:
Jul 2, 2004
Messages:
2,974
1

Jun 25, 2009

I've done straight total points, total points within weighted categories, and percentages within weighted catergories. This year as an experiment (Wig I copied this one for you), I kept my gradebook as total points within weighted categories on engrade. Then at the end of the year I determined 4th term grades using straight total points and then straight percentages. To be totally honest the only difference in grades was 1-2%, not worth it in my book.

So I am going back to straight percentages next year, its what I am more comfortable with.

11. ### dbelmoRookie

Joined:
Sep 12, 2007
Messages:
86
0

Jun 26, 2009

does anyone have a handout that explains total points to the parents? I have been thinking of going total points for a few years now-- my gradebook program at school allows us to select either way.

dbelmo

12. ### kidsr#1Companion

Joined:
May 24, 2009
Messages:
228
0

Jun 26, 2009

I'm switching back to points next year!

For the last several years I gave percentages because it was easier. Next year I am switching back to points. Another teacher explained her reasoning to me like this...If you have a student get +7/10 that would be 70%. If you give a test and the student scores 75/100 that would be 75%. The average of the two is 73%.

Grading by points only would be 82/110 for 75%. Students score a couple of percentage points higher on a points system, and some students need all of the help they can get. (This of course is on a non-weighted system.)

Just a thought...

13. ### BrendanFanatic

Joined:
Jul 2, 2004
Messages:
2,974
1

Jun 26, 2009

I don't think straight percentages is a good way to go at all. In what world should a test score be worth the same as a homework score.

14. ### CheyenneCompanion

Joined:
Mar 28, 2009
Messages:
112
0

Jun 26, 2009

I agree. I use percentages, but weigh them. I, like several other posters, am trying to wrap my mind around the point system. I just did a sample problem here, and I came out with a 4% inflation with the point system over a strict percentage system. That seems like a huge difference, but maybe I didn't have enough scores and maybe I needed to weigh my percentages?

15. ### ancientcivteachHabitué

Joined:
Jul 20, 2006
Messages:
771
0

Jun 26, 2009

I think people were talking about weighted percentages, Brendan.

I believe that percentages are easier for children and parents I think to understand like "I got 100% on my homework" and "I got an85% on my test".

In my gradebook, the homework average is only worth 10% of the total grade, but I give each assignment a percentage out of 100.

My big thing with points is the one or two times I've tried it, things have ended up counting more than I wanted them to, so I use weighted percentages. My best friend swears by points. The funny thing is that when we worked together, our grades for students at the end of the marking period were always pretty close to each other.

16. ### froggerDevotee

Joined:
Jan 23, 2008
Messages:
1,057
2

Jun 26, 2009

I have a program that we use in our school that does it for me - it is by percentages.

17. ### ChristyFModerator

Joined:
Jun 27, 2003
Messages:
6,699
66

Jun 26, 2009

I have always used points. If a child's grade is low, I will go back and reaverage with percent just to make sure I'm not causing them to have a lower grade. It's never been different. I don't set an assigned number of points each six weeks, I just make sure that my tests are worth more than my simple assignments. We use JPams now, and it does either easily. Before that, I used Excel which averaged using points. I don't have a handout, but I talk to my parents about it. They know if their child makes a D on a 12 point paper it doesn't weigh the same as on a 40 point test.

18. ### kidsr#1Companion

Joined:
May 24, 2009
Messages:
228
0

Jun 27, 2009

Just to be clear, I will continue to mark papers/tests with the point value and what the percentage is. I think parents still want to know how their child scored an 85% on a test and a lot of time they are capable of looking at a paper and figuring out how I arrived at a 17/20 (for example). In the gradebook I will record the point value.

19. ### wigDevotee

Joined:
Oct 30, 2005
Messages:
1,036
1

Jun 27, 2009

The difference is just not enough to make it worthwhile to switch from something one is comfortable with. If the grading program has the capability of weighting different categories of grades, to me the percentage system is the easiest.

20. ### Lindsay.LouCompanion

Joined:
Jun 27, 2008
Messages:
198
0

Jun 28, 2009

Last year (my first year) I used total points because it seemed like it would be easier for students to keep track of their grade. I quickly realized that students are more familiar with percentages.

I constantly had students asking me "is this going to worth a quiz grade?" "Does this count as a homework?"

I tried to explain to my (high school!) students that "You can call this a quiz if you want. It's worth 20 points. You're next 'quiz' might be worth 35 points...or 10 points."

They would just stare at me. They didn't get it. They seemed to think in categories (i.e. homework average, test avg, quiz avg, etc)

21. ### BrendanFanatic

Joined:
Jul 2, 2004
Messages:
2,974
1

Jun 28, 2009

My kids didn't get it either. They really didn't get how the 100 point CW grade was worth more than the 20 point CW grade.

22. ### ahsilaCompanion

Joined:
Apr 18, 2005
Messages:
206
0

Jun 29, 2009

I use total points because (speaking from personal experience) some people just aren't good test takers. I don't want to disadvantage a student simply because they were stressed about taking a test, so I use a total point system.
I have run into the problem of some students figuring out that if an assignment is worth "only" 15 points and another assignment is worth 50, the 50 point assignment is more important. I have to prioritize my assignments and make sure that the critical skills are worth more points, but I still prefer total points.

23. ### BrendanFanatic

Joined:
Jul 2, 2004
Messages:
2,974
1

Jun 30, 2009

Just make sure both the parents and the students know you record the points earned over total, NOT the percentage earned.

24. ### loves2teachEnthusiast

Joined:
Aug 1, 2005
Messages:
2,311
0

Jun 30, 2009

I have always graded with percentages. I "tell" the computer what to do, and it does it

Joined:
Sep 6, 2005
Messages:
251