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Question

The urban high school where I teach is trying to transform to the standards based grading system. One of the things we are asked to do is to not give zeros. I am comfortable with that when it means that I can mark an assignment "incomplete" and require the student to come in and show me what his level of mastery is. What I am uncomfortable with is that we have a policy of never giving a grade lower than 50%, including when a student scores lower than 50%. What is your opinion of automatically assigning a score of 50% vs using 'incomplete' at the high school level?

2011-12-03
Connie Navarro
 

The
Grade
Doctor
says:

What is your opinion of automatically assigning a score of 50% vs using 'incomplete' at the
high school level?

I believe you should use Incomplete as a grade if a student does not provide sufficient
evidence. (This does not mean they have to provide all the evidence you expected.)
However if you are required to provide a grade based on percentages you should use 50%
as the minimum because it is mathematically incorrect not to do so and because it gives
students the possibility of recovery that is denied by zeros.

 

Matt Slocomb's
Comment

2012-01-29

I'm not sure if you can accurately use the term "mathematically correct" without more
information. Let us say for example you give a student a test on the 50 states in the
United States. If the student gets 10/50 correct, the student knows 20% of the
information. Bumping them up to 50% in this instance gives you an inaccurate picture of
what the student knows and is able to do.


The Grade Doctor's
Comment

2012-01-29

You are obviously correct that the score of 10/50 is 20% correct. The mathematical problem is created by the use of grading scales with many points for the bottom level and a smaller number of points for each of the higher levels (most commonly 50 10 10 10 10) and the use of the mean as the measure of central tendency.

 

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