Q&A #6485

Assigning Grades to Classwork-What does Zero mean?

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From: Roya (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jun 09, 2001 at 14:58:29
Subject: Re: Assigning Grades to Classwork-What does Zero mean?

I copied your post to an internal discussion board and Terry Trotter had the
following to say:

When I taught Algebra and Pre-algebra, I usually set a grading floor.
It wasn't always 60%, in fact, seldom more than 40%.  But then I
countered that by awarding partial credit on the individual test
items, based on the work shown.  Say a given problem was worth 4
points.  If a student's error was minor, I took off 1, giving 3 (or
75% credit), etc.

So I felt the final score received was usually quite fair.

What really always bothered me was the GPA business, where A = 4, B =
3,..., F = 0.  Say 60 was passing.  You got a 61 and passed the course
(D = 1).  But your friend got a 59, or 58, and flunked the course: F =
0.  The knowledge ratio of 61:59 is a lot different than the GPA ratio
of 1:0.

My favorite story about this concerns Bobby R.  A dreamer, always
looking out the window instead of paying attention to me, got a high
50+ in Algebra I.  Hence, he failed the course.  During the summer
school course, where if he had passed, he would have received credit
and gone on to Geometry.  But as luck would have it, he got in trouble
during break one day, and got expelled from my school.

He went then to another private school, where he soon got the
reputation for being one of the better students there.  When his
classmates there asked him why he was so good in math, he answered,
"Mr Trotter taught me!"  Obviously, in my class he had learned
something, yet in our records for GPA, he was branded a 0.

[This incident was related to me by Bobby's mother.]

I guess this is why I don't like GPA scales (or any grading policy)
that contain a "0"."

-Roya on behalf of Terry, for the T2T service

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