Question

Our high school has moved to an 80% summative grade/20% nine week assessment system. We are not allowed to give zeros, and cannot give a grade less than 50%. I grade with points and typically most assessments are worth 5 or 10 points. Students are permitted to retake summative assessments. If I have a student who earns 2/10 points on a summative assessment despite retakes, why do I have to give that student a 5/10 when I go to average my grades? Right now, I have 150 points in summative assessments for this grading period, so I feel I allow for a fair amount of chances for students to prove their learning.

20121026 Susan Nolan 

The Grade Doctor says:

Because the mean is skewed by outlier scores. If you use the median or the mode it is
acceptable but not preferable to include very low scores.
One thing puzzles me in your question  how do you have summative assessments that are
worth only 5 or 10 points? Assessments worth a small number of points are more likely to
really be formative assessments.



B. Martin's Comment

20130124

The amount of points for the summative assessment is not terribly important if there is the
80/20 balance; more depends on the number of assessments in the category and total
points. Makes no sense to have 80/20 balance with summatives worth 100 points (for
example) and formatives worth 10 points. While the disparity is regulated by the 80/20
balance, the use of student time becomes skewed and unimformative.


The Grade Doctor's Comment

20130124

I don't understand your point about the use of student time. We practice and get feedback on formative assessments to (hopefully) improve our performance on summative assessments. Nothing I do with a golf pro or on the range directly impacts my score for a round but the better a teacher the pro is and the better and the more I practice the more likely it is that my scores will get lower.
