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Grading math - on what do you base your final grade?


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On what do you base your final grade for math? How much weight do the tests have in the overall final grade? Do you count daily assignments? If so, what percent of the final grade is the daily work?

 

My son did very well on his daily work, but doesn't test quite as well. I want to average his daily assignments into his final grade, but don't know what would be appropriate as far as percentage goes.

 

Any advice? Thanks!

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My kids take one math final each semester that is comprehensive and covers all material studied during the semester. This is their grade.

 

The goal is mastery, and mastery is mastery only if they can do the problems after a week, a month, six months, a year.

Daily work is necessary, but does not demonstrate mastery. Neither do weekly tests over that week's material. The only way to test for real mastery is a comprehensive final exam.

 

This said: there is no "appropriate" that fits everybody. Even in college, we are pushed to give points for homework, in class work etc which means grades no longer reflect just knowledge, but to a large extent work attitude and following instructions.

So if you decide to count daily work, you could justify that, too.

 

ETA: in the end it matters little because any grading structure can be rigged by the design of the tests. So, if one person gives a percentage for daily work, and then designs very challenging exams, it can not be compared with a person who only gives a final but make this an easy test. With any given way of weighting points, I can generate you any given grade outcome for most students simply by design of the assignment.

Edited by regentrude
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70% tests (10% of that is the final or midterm+final)

30% problem sets (this is for completion only, so he generally gets all the available points here)

 

Note that for a kid who has a 90% average on exams, this only gives him 93% for the final grade.

Edited by EKS
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We use Saxon. Tests come with it, including a final. He got an A- on the final. But the tests (which came every 4 lessons) varied. His overal test average was a high B.

 

Homework was mostly A's, a few B's, and a just a couple of C's. (I think there were maybe 5 C's out of 120 lessons.)

 

I feel he should receive a B+ grade on his transcript. Most of his mistakes were careless arithmetic errors - I commented to him frequently that it seemed like he was always in a hurry to finish, hence the careless mistakes.

 

What do you think?

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We use Saxon. Tests come with it, including a final. He got an A- on the final. But the tests (which came every 4 lessons) varied. His overal test average was a high B.

 

Homework was mostly A's, a few B's, and a just a couple of C's. (I think there were maybe 5 C's out of 120 lessons.)

 

I feel he should receive a B+ grade on his transcript. Most of his mistakes were careless arithmetic errors - I commented to him frequently that it seemed like he was always in a hurry to finish, hence the careless mistakes.

 

What do you think?

 

I think you should do what you think is best.

 

However, if this were my son, I would have had him correct the homework problems that were wrong (back when they were assigned, not now after the fact). I also would have had him tell me where he went wrong with each one (sometimes harder than simply doing it over).

 

Also, are you grading on answers alone? Or do you give partial credit? For every problem that my son gets wrong, I first do it myself to be sure that I understand it, then I go over his answer with a fine toothed comb to see exactly what the problem was. If it was some dumb thing--miscopying a number, for example--I wouldn't take off as much as if there was a conceptual error. Grading this way also got him to see the value of showing his work carefully and thoroughly.

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Do you write your own final? Do you pull representative problems from earlier tests? Use earlier problems but change the numbers involved? Write totally new problems?

 

Yes, we write our own math exams. (Art of Problem Solving does not have tests). There are no earlier tests to pull things from- one final test per semester, that's it.

 

We model the test questions after practice problems covered during the semester. Sometimes just different numbers (in straightforward calculations such as linear or quadratic equations). For word problems, where translating the story into equations is important, we write new ones.

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However, if this were my son, I would have had him correct the homework problems that were wrong (back when they were assigned, not now after the fact). I also would have had him tell me where he went wrong with each one (sometimes harder than simply doing it over).

 

:iagree:

My kids have to do every assigned problem until it is completely correct. To me, it does not make much sense to just give a bad grade for wrong homework problems. That's one of the reasons I do not grade homework - it is done and redone until it is perfect.

 

Of course now it's too late to go back... but I'd be inclined to ignore HW grades.

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I think you should do what you think is best.

 

However, if this were my son, I would have had him correct the homework problems that were wrong (back when they were assigned, not now after the fact). I also would have had him tell me where he went wrong with each one (sometimes harder than simply doing it over).

 

Also, are you grading on answers alone? Or do you give partial credit? For every problem that my son gets wrong, I first do it myself to be sure that I understand it, then I go over his answer with a fine toothed comb to see exactly what the problem was. If it was some dumb thing--miscopying a number, for example--I wouldn't take off as much as if there was a conceptual error. Grading this way also got him to see the value of showing his work carefully and thoroughly.

 

Yes, I would always have him rework the problems. He never seemed to have difficulty then - we would chuckle about it sometimes!

 

And, yes, I often would take off just a point for a minor error. I told him he was not only learning math, but learning to be thorough and precise.

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:iagree:

My kids have to do every assigned problem until it is completely correct. To me, it does not make much sense to just give a bad grade for wrong homework problems. That's one of the reasons I do not grade homework - it is done and redone until it is perfect.

 

Of course now it's too late to go back... but I'd be inclined to ignore HW grades.

 

:iagree: We don't grade homework - wrong problems are re-worked until they're right and understood. Grading is up to you, but if his final was an A- and his other tests were close to that, I'd go with that as the final grade. In public schools I've heard of homework counting for as much as half of the final grade. And homework isn't even graded - students are given 100% if it's completed. So while I don't inflate grades like some public schools do, I don't think it's unreasonable to give him an A-. IMO the final grade should reflect how well they've mastered the material in the course.

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You may find this thread interesting:

Help with high school grading scheme!

 

For Geometry this past year, I bought the assessment book with quizzes and tests. I wanted to incorporate daily work because we go over every single problem assigned and that's worth something to me.

 

I used (imitating FaithManor in above thread):

Daily Work 35%

Quizzes 15%

Tests 50%

 

And homework isn't even graded - students are given 100% if it's completed.

I believe this is how our PS works.

Edited by Sue in St Pete
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  • 1 month later...

I'm working on a syllabus for Algebra for the year. This is for my 7th and 8th graders, but I intend on noting it on their high school transcript (above the line).

 

This is what I came up for for a grading scheme. I'd appreciate comments.

 

---

 

Text: Art of Problem Solving, Introduction to Algebra

Grading:

Exams (one each semester) 50%

Quizzes (after each section – total 22) 50%

Extra Credit: Extra work from review or challenge questions by arrangement with instructor. You may replace a low quiz score by mastering extra work from that chapter.

There is no grade for homework. The problems and exercises in the book are intended to help you learn how to do the math. If you get something wrong, keep working it until you understand the proper way to do those problems. Don’t give up until you understand (ask for whatever help you need). Because all of your grade will be based on quizzes and tests, carelessness on them will hurt you a lot.

 

---

 

This will be the first year that my kids will be getting grades. In the past, they have tended to have B+ averages on tests, mostly due to careless errors.

 

Any comments would be appreciated. (Especially if I'd be painting them into a corner with the weighting.)

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This is my thought on it... The higher the percentage of the grade comes from exams (and possibly papers or projects in other subject areas,) the closer it comes to what most would consider college level grading. So I started out with an easier grading scale from 9th grade, and I am increasing the amount that exams comprise each year as they get closer to college-level work. Most courses this year will be 60/40 (exams versus quizzes and daily work) for my 10th grader. Dd's APCS course this year, though, will be entirely projects and exams with no daily work counted, as that should be college-level work now.

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This is my thought on it... The higher the percentage of the grade comes from exams (and possibly papers or projects in other subject areas,) the closer it comes to what most would consider college level grading. So I started out with an easier grading scale from 9th grade, and I am increasing the amount that exams comprise each year as they get closer to college-level work. Most courses this year will be 60/40 (exams versus quizzes and daily work) for my 10th grader. Dd's APCS course this year, though, will be entirely projects and exams with no daily work counted, as that should be college-level work now.

 

Good point. This is just the sort of thing I'm trying to think through.

 

I suppose I also have the option of simply noting the course as completed, by marking it as "completed before 9th grade" and not including it in the gpa.

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