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Four Key Questions about Grading

There’s an excellent article on grading in a recent issue of Cell Biology Education-Life Sciences Education. It offers a brief history of grading (it hasn’t been around for all that long), and then looks to the literature for answers to four key questions.

Giving Student Choices on How Assignments Are Weighted

Not so long ago in the blog we explored the weighting of course assignments. The more certain assignments count in the grading scheme, the more time students are likely to devote to them. That makes determining how much each assignments counts an important decision. Since then I’ve come across several reports and some research that suggest we should consider giving students a choice on assignment weightings. For example, if the course contains a number of quizzes and collectively they count for 20% of the grade, a student could decide at the beginning of the course to raise that percentage to 30 with the weight of the major exams decreased by a corresponding amount. Or, say there are three assignments in the course that equal 75% of the grade, the student could designate a weight for each assignment between 15% and 45% but the three must total 75%.

Grading Practices: Liabilities of the Points System

The November issue of The Teaching Professor newsletter contains highlights from a speech given by Diane L. Pike at the 2010 Midwest Sociological Society meeting and subsequently published in the reference below. It’s a great speech that identifies three dead ideas in teaching and the tyranny that results from holding those beliefs.

A Great Book on Grading

I’ve just finished reading the second edition of Barbara Walvoord and Virginia Anderson’s book on grading Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment in College). The book was first published in 1998, and since then it has established itself as the go-to book on grading. I see it referenced more often than any other