Grading is an important part of teaching and a source of motivation for teachers and students. When designing a grading method for a course, an instructor should begin by listing the course objectives (Walvoord & Anderson, 2011). Importance should be attached to the objectives that are critical to the understanding of the course and should include items such as exams, periodical assessments and projects. This paper looks at a criterion-based grading system, highlights its approach and weaknesses, and proposes avenues for its improvement.
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Description of Approach
The grading approach that I prefer is a criterion-referenced model, which measures the performance and development of students against an established standard. This approach evaluates the performance of each student in comparison to established performance levels. The model enables the educator to ascertain each student’s progress in learning particular skills. In this system, each student is assessed alongside an absolute scale. In this approach, students are graded by percentages compared to a pre-established standard as illustrated in the below table.
|F||Less than 50%||Poor|
This grading approach takes into consideration other factors like class attendance and participation apart from the academic performance of students in examinations and course assignments. For instance, the total classes attended by an individual account for ten percent of the final grade. This is to prevent the habit of missing classes since comprehensive learning cannot take place if the student misses most of the classes or does not participate in class activities (Walvoord & Anderson, 2011). A point is deducted from the total number of classes assigned to each subject every time the student misses a class. The remaining points are calculated as a percentage of the total classes and account for ten percent of the student’s grade.
Participation in class accounts for another ten percent while coursework and class assignments cover a further twenty percent. Class participation is evaluated in terms of major and minor objectives. A high score is awarded to students who complete all the minor and major objectives of the course. This is to ensure that the grading is relevant to the course objectives. The remaining sixty percent is attained in the final exam. To score highly in the exam, the student must demonstrate a clear understanding of the subject matter of unit.
Problems Encountered in Employing the Grading System
There are mixed reactions to grading in general with some scholars arguing for it and others against it. Grading is often accused of being subjective in cases where student performances are compared to each other. This approach deals with these concerns by establishing objective standards for grading.
One of the main challenges of using the criterion-based approach lies in the difficulty it presents in setting a sensible standard upon which students are graded. Most experienced instructors set the standards using the knowledge they have acquired over time. These standards are often based on the usual student performance in the subject (Johnson, 2003). Instructors without such experience may encounter difficulties in designing these assessments.
Every educator knows that students are inspired by grades. The main advantage of this method is that students do not compete against each other, but against a set standard. In addition, a student’s grade is not determined by the performance of the whole class. Despite the barriers, this approach provides a way to keep students motivated without unnecessary competition that often results in sour student relationships. I also find this approach easy to implement due to its simple and straightforward nature.
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Johnson, E. V. (2003). Grade inflation: A crisis in college education. New York: Springer.
Walvoord, E. B. & Anderson, J. V. (2011). Effective grading: A tool for learning and assessment in college. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.