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Dear Grade Doctor,

My daughter is a junior in high school and is taking chemistry. After attending one of your conferences, the Chemistry team at my hometown decided to use the following grading scale:
homework 0%
quiz 2%
tests 98%
Can you please educate me on the research they heard at your conferences that they said supports this decision?

Kim Bingham


Thank you for your question Kim. I am very pleased to get questions from parents here.
Research is very clear that when assessment is used to support the learning process, e.g.,
quizzes and most homework, the greatest learning gains occur when students receive
specific descriptive feedback NOT scores or numeric marks. So in my view the chemistry
team is moving in the right direction by having assessment FOR learning count for only 2%
of each student's grade and having assessment OF learning count for 98% of the grade.
Where I have some difficulty, in the way you describe it, is that all of the assessments of
learning are apparently tests. This is putting much too much emphasis on one type of
assessment. Quality assessment requires variety in the types of assessments used. As one
of my colleagues (Damian Cooper) says - to show what they really know students need
opportunities to "write, do and say."