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In our district we use a weighted system for grading where homework/group work is
weighted at 30-35% and assessments are 65-70% depending on the department. Some
teachers put the actual points into the system (I'll call it actual) while others convert all of
their assignments to 100 points so that the grades read like a percentage (I'll call it
percentage). My dilema is that every time I do the math, it appears that the grades in the
percentage form suffer greatly when they have a missed assignment/bad performance. We
use a 45% floor, but even so the percentage way appears to be double jeopardy because
the grades are already weighted. For instance, if a homework is worth 4 points and the
student forgot it, they would get a 0. Over the grading period there will be many attempts
to "recover" those 4 points, but in the percentage approach the student is trying to recover
100 points. Another way of looking at it is in the form of eating pizza. If person Actual
orders a small and person Percentage orders a large and both pizzas are cut in 8 pieces. If
they both eat 4 pieces, it is true that they both ate 50% of their pizza; but Percentage
would have to work out a lot more to burn off the extra calories consumed ("recover the
lost points"). My question is, am I off base with this thinking? Can you help with another
explanation if I am on the right track? My administrators still aren't convinced that it
matters, even though I have shown them the math. Thanks

Chad Oaks


You are correct but the real problem is that we should be eliminating percentages from
grading and just thinking in terms of (2 to 7) levels of performance.