Monday, December 15, 2008

The 75% Solution

This certainly would make for some interesting staff lounge conversation. I'm sure there's a way to game the system--there always is!--but on its surface it sounds quite interesting:


With American productivity and initiative in mind, the Adam Smith Academy would like to propose the 75% Teaching Solution. It works like this:

1. In the creation of student curriculum, Teachers teach 75% of a student’s total course grade. On a straight PASS/FAIL grading system (80% equals a Passing grade, anything below Fails), students are tested on the standard, or minimum 75% of the course’s curriculum. Should the student PASS all the exams for 75% of the coursework, they shall receive a grade of “C”. They have done the minimum, satisfactorily.

2. Should they FAIL certain exams or portions of the curriculum, the student would then fall within the range of “F” to “C” for the course.

3. For a student to obtain a better grade than the satisfactory, “C”, he/she voluntarily does more coursework on his or her own, and will PASS/FAIL any exams based on the additional coursework. So much more for a “B”, and even more for an “A”. Therefore, they must take the initiative to produce more.

This solution gives whole new meaning to the words, “Extra Credit.” Or, in actuality, it takes these words on their face. To do beyond the satisfactory level, students do “extra” and receive a better “credit.”


I could work for a school with this philosophy.

10 comments:

Ellen K said...

I would love to see this happen. But sadly, too many parents would complain about their children failing. I have groups of high achiever, high income kids who have no idea what it means to do more than you are asked. They have no goals, no ambition except to make lots of money. Let's see what Obama will do with those voters.

Donalbain said...

I never quite understood the obsession with giving out grades as often as Americans seem to do it. I, for instance, do not give homework a grade as I do not see a value in doing that. And the only grades that *matter* in the UK systems are the final grades you get at the end of your five (and seven) years of high school in that round of exams. There is no equivalent of the GPA here..

Darren said...

Most interesting.

Donalbain said...

The best blog to read on the subject of grading is

http://repairman.wordpress.com/

He is a big advocate of moving away from letter grades and towards formative assesment.

Darren said...

Letter grades are just fine with me.

Donalbain said...

Why? What is the value of a letter grade? It adds nothing at all to the learning process, which is, after all, the reason we teach. The point of education is not to know that you know 80%-65% of the material, it is to be told what parts you dont know, and how to improve. The best way to mark work (other than final summative assesment) is with formative comments. Reading "You need to put a title on your graphs" gives far more useful feedback than simply "3/4". And as for putting both, the evidence and experience shows that if a grade AND comments are put down, only the grade is actually looked at, especially amongst the higher end kids, who might well be recieving As and thus believe that they have no need to improve.

Darren said...

You create a false dichotomy. Who's to say you can't write *both* on the paper?

I certainly do.

Donalbain said...

Quoted from my last comment..

And as for putting both, the evidence and experience shows that if a grade AND comments are put down, only the grade is actually looked at, especially amongst the higher end kids, who might well be recieving As and thus believe that they have no need to improve.

Darren said...

So the problem with letter grades is that *students* won't consider anything else?

Donalbain said...

Yes. And the students are the targets of education. The reason we do anything in school is to enable the STUDENTS to learn.