Thursday, November 17, 2016

About Grades

Here are some facts about the course grades to date and also moving forward.  Recall that the course was designed to have 1000 points.  So far 415 points have been allocated and then there was an extra 10 points for that early quiz just to verify that the functionality worked.   I've looked at students performance to date and it is running okay now, so I will not make any adjustment to the grades at this time.  Also note that in spite of prior warnings, I declined to give students penalties for submitting work late.  Treat that as a gift.

There are still 585 points to allocate.  10 of those are on the last Excel homework.  The rest are for the Class Project, worth 150 points, Blog Posts and Comments for the second half,  worth 150 points and 75 points respectively, and the last quiz (the final) which is worth 200 points.

You will note that the points are "rear loaded" which means that while most of the semester is behind us most of the points are still forthcoming.  That is by design.  In class today we'll talk about seniority pay.   The concept is essentially the same here.  In the next paragraph I will  critique the approach as it pertains to grades.

I have tried in the class to separate out giving you feedback, which I think is important for learning, from giving you numerical awarding of scores on your performance, which doesn't help much and can block things especially since you learn by failing and I wanted to encourage that.  But some of you are so wound up to be aware of grades that by being less forthcoming about them I may have hindered your motivation in the class.  The rear loading of points assumes you have the rationality to figure out the rewards possible at the end of the course.  Maybe there needs to be some shifting of points to earlier in the semester just to keep students in a good frame of mind.

Personally, I'd prefer the class just to be pass-fail.  If wishing would make it so.

As to the final, since it is worth a big chunk of points and some of you might otherwise freak out about that, my plan is that between 50% and 75% of the points to come from questions you have already seen on the two quizzes (with the points in the graphs relabelled so you can't simply copy your answers from previously).  There will be some new stuff.   Exactly how much is to be determined.  Also,  the final won't be that much longer than the previous quizzes.  I will just amplify the points per question.

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