Question About Grading

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5 thoughts on “Question About Grading”

  1. I use the following rubric for a lot of things (I modified one of BVP’s rubrics for this)
    3- Student can do the task with ease
    2- Student can do the task, but with some difficulty
    1- Student can’t do the task
    0- Not enough to evaluate.
    Then I assign different point values to the scale (because a 2/3 would be failing). 3= 100 percent 2= 80% 1= 70%
    As long as you have other grades in the gradebook to pad their grades you’ll be fine.

  2. Robert Harrell

    Does your grading program allow you to work “in the other direction”?
    That is, can you enter a letter grade and give each letter grade a numerical value?
    For example:
    A = 100
    B = 85
    C = 75
    D = 65
    F = 55
    Adjust it to whatever your school’s scale is.
    This way, you still keep your five-point scale but give it a traditional look.
    Most people will be satisfied if you can do this; they understand – or think they do – when you say, “That was A work” or “You earned a C on that assignment”.
    BTW, contrary to what most people think, the 100-point scale is highly inaccurate for anything less than 100 actual points. For example, if you give a 10-question quiz and must convert it to 100 points, the error factor is +/- 2. A student could receive a letter grade up to two grades away from actual proficiency. Three-to-five category scales are MORE ACCURATE than the 100-point scale. Besides, do we genuinely believe that an assessment can differentiate between a performance of 89 and a performance of 90? And yet, that is usually the difference in a letter grade.
    The primer section has an article I wrote on the History of Grades. I believe it reveals the arbitrary and subjective nature of grading scales, especially the 100-point scale as used in most schools in the US.

    1. Robert Harrell

      I just came up with a new response to people who want to use the 100-point scale:
      Why would you want to use something so inaccurate?
      That could start an interesting conversation.

  3. I have a student who moved to Chicago a year ago from Nigeria, Pelumi. She hardly speaks. She’s very sweet and smiles a lot. Gradually, she’s opening up to her peers as she makes sense of their sophomoric silliness. Today the class wanted Pelumi to be the second actor in a Matava story, “The Love Letter.” She verbally refused. And insisted. As a class we were chanting her name and trying to get her up. She’s acted before, but she insisted, “No NO NO.” So we calmed down. She smiled and giggled. A moment later I asked the class again, “Who is DeAnte writing the love letter to?” Pelumi said aloud, “Yarimar!” another student in the room. It’s good to see Pelumi jousting with the class a little.
    Pelumi is a quite one. She doesn’t always answer my questions. And sometimes she is not fully paying attention. I know. I can tell. But you better believe I’m going to give her an A. I know she is trying her best. Sometimes I have to talk with her about my teaching style and what I’m expecting of her and about the language gains that are happening in the process. By working with me in this negotiation of language and meaning, she deserves an A. Some students work with me by settling down, resting their attention on me, avoiding chatter. Others, like Pelumi, work with me by taking the risk to get pulled out of their introspection and into the collective dialogue.
    As long as they don’t significantly disrupt the flow of language; as long as they consistently listen with the intent to understand (and physically showing me so), I say, give them an A.

  4. Right on Sean! This is pretty much what I do, and I have the numberZ to prove it (haha) by doing pretty much what Robert and Greg share above.
    My school does a “combo” of numerical grading AND “competency based assessment.” It’s a royal mess and a totally mixed message in my opinion. But I use it to my (and the students’) advantage. Because I am assessing observable skills (interpersonal) along with evidence of comprehension (interpretive) I use a 1-4 on my rubrics. Then I just assign a number (from the 100 scale) to each rubric level. I use 4=95; 3=85; 2=64′ 1=50. The 64 is because in our system 65 is “passing” but in my rubric 2 is not yet meeting the standard, so I set that number at 64.
    I add random “extra credit” points when kids go above and beyond in whichever category (interpersonal is heaviest weight, then interpretive). These points are earned legit but I do not have a real system of keeping track, so it’s mostly from the illusion of “tallying” that I play, such as when a student spontaneously blurts out something amazing in L2, especially if it is in conjunction with celebrating another classmate, raucous unbridled creativity, etc.
    “Interpretive mode” or the extent to which students understand what they hear or read is assessed based on student progress at their own pace. So it is easy to get an A or B unless you are willfully refusing to complete a task, interfering or disrupting the flow.
    So far nobody has questioned me. I am ready with this defense: “The school is moving toward competency based assessment. I am already doing this by assessing observable skills and evidence on a 4 point rubric. Unfortunately the grading system requires a numerical equivalent, so I worked with Ms. Dennis (math teacher) to come up with equitable numbers to reflect observed competency. I’m happy to show you the details.”
    Hope this helps!

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