What Is Essential in a Grading Policy?
Learn the merits of absolute grading versus grading on a curve, the pluses and minuses of letter-based and point-based grading, and whether—and how—to properly weight assignments across a semester.
Important insights on critical grading questions
New teachers need to decide—and experienced teachers sometimes need to reassess—what their grading policy is going to be.
It’s not a trivial matter: Grading policy can be an important driver of what students learn, how they learn it, and how successfully they master the content and competencies your courses are meant to impart.
Maryellen Weimer, Ph.D., says there are three fundamental decisions you need to make about your grading policy, and she provides a thoughtful analysis of them in What Is Essential in a Grading Policy?
In this insight-filled Magna 20-Minute Mentor program, you’ll consider the merits of absolute grading versus grading on a curve, the pluses and minuses of letter-based and point-based grading, and whether—and how—to properly weight assignments across a semester.
Along the way, you’ll discover how a grading policy can shape student behavior—sometimes in ways conducive to healthy learning, and sometimes not.
It’s knowledge you need in order to establish the most appropriate and meaningful grading policies for your courses, to encourage learning, to keep students engaged, and to properly recognize their performance.
Make sure your grading policies merit an A+ (or a 100, as the case may be); order What Is Essential in a Grading Policy? today!
Product Code: PM15PA | Date Recorded: 7-20-15
Like many aspects of good teaching, grading policy is a nuanced issue. “One size fits all” simply doesn’t apply.
The methods you choose to recognize student performance can impact their motivation, their engagement, and ultimately, their mastery of the content and competencies you’ve challenged them to acquire.
In What Is Essential in a Grading Policy?, Maryellen Weimer, Ph.D., will share insights borne of a long teaching career as she highlights the benefits and the pitfalls of three key grading decisions.
In this fast-paced program, you’ll gather invaluable insights on:
Absolute grades versus grades on a curve
Do you want students to demonstrate well-defined levels of learning? Or do you want to assess their performance relative to that of their peers? In some cases, the latter is appropriate; in others, the former is a necessity. In her presentation, Dr. Weimer will help you determine the best approach for the material you’re teaching. She’ll also alert you to the impact your choice could have on classroom dynamics, including students’ willingness to participate and collaborate.
Letters versus points
Which is more objective, “A-B-C” grading or a points-based system? And, reality aside, how do students perceive that objectivity? Dr. Weimer explains how you can establish meaningful, defensible standards for grades of both types. She also cautions against using criteria that encourage counterproductive student behaviors like “grade grubbing” for a point here, or a plus or minus there.
Should the final paper or test be weighted more heavily than the rest? If so, how much? What does this do to students’ commitment to a particular assignment? Dr.
Weimer will share recommendations about weighting assignments based on your course goals and objectives, and help you develop a method for identifying and prioritizing those.
At the conclusion of What Is Essential in a Grading Policy?, you’ll be able to:
- Articulate the pros and cons of different grading methods.
- Make policy decisions that are aligned with your objectives for student learning.
- Make feedback more meaningful, more constructive, and more reflective of student performance.
Add this 20-Minute Mentor to your teaching toolbox today!
Maryellen Weimer has edited The Teaching Professor newsletter since 1987 and writes the Teaching Professor Blog.
The Teaching Professor Blog features a new weekly post from Maryellen on such topics as: the scholarship of teaching and learning, classroom policies, active learning, assessment, generational differences, and student performance.
She is a professor emerita of Teaching and Learning at Penn State Berks and won Penn State’s Milton S. Eisenhower award for distinguished teaching in 2005. Dr. Weimer has a Ph.D. in Speech Communication from Penn State.
Dr. Weimer has consulted with over 450 colleges and universities on instructional issues and regularly keynotes national meetings and regional conferences throughout the US and Canada.
She has published several books, including: Inspired College Teaching: A Career-Long Resource for Professional Growth (Jossey-Bass, 2010), Enhancing Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning: Professional Literature that Makes a Difference (Jossey-Bass, 2006), Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice (Jossey-Bass, 2002).
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