tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5781401.post2673478184757987474..comments2021-02-23T20:42:18.812-08:00Comments on What It's Like on the Inside: Grading Roundup: November 2009The Science Goddesshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02846516022505481326noreply@blogger.comBlogger3125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5781401.post-84286073538650245862009-11-25T18:18:37.156-08:002009-11-25T18:18:37.156-08:00SG, I think you are 110% right. If equal intervals...SG, I think you are 110% right. If equal intervals are going to fly, I think we've got to do away with percentages. It's confuzitating.<br /><br />Also, this week's EduCarnival is chock-full of bloggy goodness. Pop on by :DClixhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/04460380696875928585noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5781401.post-32270376664924731772009-11-24T05:44:17.274-08:002009-11-24T05:44:17.274-08:00I also mention to teachers that the scale is not a...I also mention to teachers that the scale is not about percentages. It's the percentage part where people starting getting their knickers in a twist: "The lowest grade is a 50%!" No, it isn't. You have a 50-point scale, with 10 points (not percentages) devoted to each letter range. A "50%" is now about 75 points (or if you're using a 0 - 50 scale, 25 points). This seems to help a lot of people. <br /><br />Personally, I find it simpler to let go of the whole percentage thing altogether. Plus, with a range of 10 points per letter grade, you still have too many nuances to distinguish.<br /><br />But it's a start.The Science Goddesshttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02846516022505481326noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5781401.post-48905826981979846312009-11-24T00:08:10.965-08:002009-11-24T00:08:10.965-08:00My comment was:
If you are looking at 50% minimu...My comment was: <br /><br />If you are looking at 50% minimums in grading as "something for nothing," you're missing the entire point. The controversy is not about giving away grades, but rather providing a numerical "floor" in a percentage-based grading system.<br /><br />Visit the average classroom and you will find that really low grades at report card time are usually the result of punitive grading...often with arbitrary zeros averaged into the assessment mix because a student missed or was late with an assignment.<br /><br />Any kind of report card grade should reflect what a student actually knows, understands, or can do, not be some cobbled-together number that requires the individual teacher's classroom grading guidelines to interpret (think Rosetta Stone). <br /><br />Zeros are statistical outliers in a percentage system, which means they distort the measure of central tendency that the report card grade is supposed to indicate, and that's why the Texas school districts are suing...because they are battling the "horrible numerical illiteracy" (a quote from Ken O'Connor) of adults inside and outside of the classroom. Failure to recognize the need for statistical integrity of grading is rampant. That's the numerical illiteracy Mr. O'Connor refers to.<br /><br />Here's an abbreviated version of a discussion I had not too long ago with a colleague...I call it<br /><br />The Math of Zero in a Percentage Scale<br /><br />I was talking to a colleague recently about how although there is no one “right” way to grade, there certainly are justifiable and unjustifiable grades.<br /><br />Then I said, innocently as I could manage,”…and giving kids zeros as a penalty for late work or for work not turned in is a perfect example of unjustifiable grading.”<br /><br />He immediately went on the attack.<br /><br />“I’ve heard that the school board is about to require us to not give zeros! That’s outrageous! No work, no grade! We have to teach kids to be responsible!”<br /><br />I didn’t know which of those four positions he had taken to reply to first, so I chose the easiest.<br /><br />“Nope,” I said, “the school board is not yet about to require the high school to quit giving zeros. We’re in a conversational mode, and I hope people are willing to think about standards-based grading and talk it over.”<br /><br />“However,” I followed up with, “have you given any thought to the math of zero?”<br /><br />“What do you mean, the math? Zero is zero. Nothing is nothing. No work, zip. End of story.”<br /><br />Realizing that I had no graceful exit strategy from this conversation if my colleague proved resistant to my charm and logic, I set up a problem for him to analyze.<br /><br />“Think about this,” I suggested. “Everyone is familiar with a 4.0 GPA scale, right? What if the F (a zero, right?), in a 4.0 scale had the same weight as a zero in a scale of 0-100, the percent scale we use almost universally for grading?”<br /><br />“What are you getting at?” he asked.<br /><br />“Just this,” I said. “In a 4.0 scale, A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, and F=0. The difference between a D and an F is just one point. On the percentage scale, the difference between a D and a zero is 60 points. Does that seem proportionate to you?”<br /><br />“No,” he said, as the math began to register. “On a 4.0 scale, if it were equivalent to a percentage scale, the F would be, what, negative 6?!”<br /><br />“That’s in the ball park,” I said. “Isn’t it amazing that we teachers don’t ask these kinds of questions more often when we talk about grading?”<br /><br />“Yeah,” he said thoughtfully.<br /><br />“Look,” I said, “here’s a two-page article from the Phi Beta Kappan on the destructive effect of zeros (google "Doug Reeves" + zero, scan my blog post, and scroll to page 21 of the pdf on the Reeves site). It’s written by Doug Reeves, an international education consultant based in Colorado. He explains it far more eloquently than I can. Check it out.”<br /><br />The following week, I asked him if he liked the article. “Man,” he said, “I am DONE with zeros!”<br /><br />“Pass it on,” I said, “because there’s more…”Hugh O'Donnellhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/07294517971286376134noreply@blogger.com