Thursday, June 02, 2005

Every Point Counts

Every teacher should have a story like this one. If they don't, they should create an apocryphal story like it.

But mine's real.

I'm obviously a softie. I'm entirely too generous when it comes to grading--and if anyone says different, they're mistaken. I crafted a policy this year, one I hadn't had in the past. Any student scoring 98% or more in my classes would not have to take the final exam.

And I allowed a small amount of extra credit in one of my courses this semester--some word problems from the book, each correct answer being worth 2 test points. I assigned 8 word problems for a total of 16 test points of possible extra credit. That's not very much.

But it was almost enough.

See, one student asked if he'd have to take the final. He had less than a 98%--but the extra credit hadn't been put in yet. He asked what grade he'd have if he got all 16 extra credit points, and wouldn't you know it, the answer was 97.9%!!! So I graded his extra credit assignment and he did get all the points. Would he have to take the final, he asked? Of course.

What? What's this? I see in my gradebook that he didn't turn in one of his homework assignments from two weeks ago. Usually I accept no work that's over one week past due. He opened his textbook and found the assignment, complete, just sitting there. Mocking. Smiling at me, knowingly.

Of course I told him that it's over a week past due, and you know what that means.... But I was starting to enjoy it too much, so I gave him 1 homework point (out of 5 possible) for the assignment, a bending of my policy that I do quite often. That one point was enough. He won't be taking the final.

Sometimes, every point really does count.


Anonymous said...

All because of me, if I had not of told him, he would be talking the final. As you always say, "Bow your head low". I think i just might have to say that to him now.

Darren said...

I think he owes you lunch at Willie's next Friday.

Anonymous said...

I agree! Good plan and I'm glad I thought of it.... :-)