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Richmond, Michigan - High School has implemented a 80/20 grading system. 80% testing scores, 20% homework. I feel like this system is a detriment to struggling students like my son. Students who struggle with school do not turn in the homework because it’s “only” worth 20%. They do not study for the tests because they can “retake” them. And what happened to turning in homework on a due date?! Instead of preparing them for college (like I was told this system was suppose to do), I find that students are no longer being taught that hard work, i.e. doing their homework and turning it in the next day, or on a due date and getting a proper score for their efforts, in turn creates proper study habits. And I think it was a terrible mistake for the struggling students to get in the habit of “retaking” tests. If they even bother to do that since it’s the students responsibility to request and properly set up a retake. Preparing a child for college to me means showing a young student the immediate rewards of turning in an assignment on a due date which reflects in their grades. For the students who are already doing well, maybe a 80/20 system works for them, but for the students who do not test well, this grading system is hugely flawed. I have not voiced my concerns about this system to my son as I feel like he needs to take responsibility, but I vehemently oppose the 80/20 system. In Middle School when testing started to get harder, I was always able to ease testing worries by saying just do your best and do your homework, and you will be okay (I struggled as a student – I did not test well and I was a good student that studied – I passed because I did my homework). I have nearly lost my son now that 80/20 has been put in place. I am fearful that he will “give up” and possibly dropout. Isn’t that what we are suppose to be preventing? Not all students test well no matter how much they study. I am frustrated, and running out of options to “motivate” my struggling student.



Thanks for your question. I too am very frustrated by the 80/20 system as I favour a 100/0
system - 100% of grades should come from summative assessments which should be high
quality and varied - tests, performance assessments and personal communication
(interviews, oral tests, etc). I am also frustrated by your view of appropriate motivation as
extrinsic motivation when the motivation that makes students successful independent
learners is intrinsic motivation. I strongly suggest that you read "Drive" by Daniel Pink,
especially the section directed to parents and teachers. I strongly believe that reassessment
should be available but only after students have engaged in and provide evidence of
correctives. The way we prevent dropouts is for students to be engaged (not just
compliant) learners who know their strengths and areas that need improvement and who
work hard to improve those weaknesses. Another suggestion for you to get a better
understanding of educative assessment is that you watch Rick Wormeli's You Tube videos.
You would also benefit from observing or participating on Twitter in #sblchat at 9 PM EDT
on Wednesday nights. #colchat hosted by MI educators on Mondays at 9 EDT also provides
great learning about learning.


Jennifer 's


Okay, I will do that. Thank you

The Grade Doctor's


Good, I expect that you will find ideas that will help you help your son.



I just asked a similar question about the 80/20 system, but my boys are in middle school. My
problem with it is the types of assessments being used (mostly multiple choice). I would be
okay with 80% of grades coming from assessments if the assessments weren't like this.

The Grade Doctor's


I agree- assessments should be varied and multiple choice should only be used to assess low level recall knowledge. Teachers should seek evidence from students writing, doing and saying.