What good are grades? What is their purpose? I’ve done my fair share of grading but a series of articles from Educational Leadership made me really think about the role of grades and how they are concocted. One simple example: I would typically use a 1-10 point system; 10 points for outstanding work and zero for missing work. However, if grades are supposed to reflect student knowledge and/or ability is a zero for missing work really accurate? I’ve seen the effects of zeros and how it can drop a students’ gpa significantly, regardless of what a student knew.
Ken O’Connor and Rick Wormeli suggest the elimination of 1-10 or even percentage systems because they are not standards based. A standards based system would grade more specifically on a students ability to demonstrate mastery of a standard. Accordingly, the suggest a four “point” system which would for students showing (1)little or no understanding of standard (2) demonstrating some understanding (3) demonstrating understanding (4) showing mastery of standard. You could play with this somewhat to align to the traditional A-F grades but the idea is that even if a student received a 1 it would not necessarily doom that student because the weight of that “1” would be more fairly balanced in comparison to other grades.
What do you think? How do/would you grade?