Grading Tests

It kills me to say this, but any honest description of my grading would have to include the word “holistic”.

This tendency is getting worse. My normal method for a quiz: I assign points before hand, weighting the important problems heavily, and then grade the tests. I do not curve, but if I discover all students really tanked an important problem, I go back and re-weight, with a growl and a sigh.

Today, I was grading the data modelling quizzes I described in an earlier post, and just didn’t feel like assigning points.

Here’s the quiz (Click to enlarge):

Yes, yes, some of you will say “But this is algebra I material! Pre-algebra, in fact!” Newsflash: many, many students still don’t understand this. So get over it. The students had to create a table of values, graphs, and linear equations for four word models, and then four table of values and graphs for given equations. I included one more difficult equation (a difference equalling a constant).

I am usually pretty good at timing tests–I’d say 1 out of every 10 tests, I am genuinely surprised when my students don’t finish. In this case, I was certain that some students wouldn’t finish, but I was interested in fluency. How many students would be able to finish the whole thing? But even so, I would have been better off with three questions in each section.

Anyway–I wasn’t really interested in finely tuned grades here. So I created four categories before looking at the student tests:

A–finished 6 of 8 problems accurately or with minor errors. Identified the equations and came up with reasonable word models in most OR completed and graphed the difference equation.

B–did all of one side correctly and clearly didn’t finish the second half (I’d given them the option to come in at lunch or after school to finish), or did parts of both sides correctly.

C– To get a C, students had to have done 2-3 problems correctly in full (table of values, graph) OR done one part of several questions correctly (e.g. table of values done for most problems, no graph).

D/F–Very little completed, with a range of 1-2 problems done somewhat correctly to clearly had no clue.

So then I reviewed the tests and put them into those categories without any markings. I got a nice heap of Bs and Cs, more Ds/Fs than I’d like, but still within reason (only 2-3 absolutely no clue), and about 10 As. Tonight I’ll go through them and point out errors.

Points, schmoints.

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