Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Is it Time to Stop Averaging Grades?

By St. Gil, Marc, 1924-1992,Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17119541
Educational consultant and author, Rick Wormeli, makes a strong case that it does not make sense to average grades. He suggests that finding the mode might be better. Consider this data:
Cheryl gets a 97, 94, 26, 35, and 83 on her tests, which correspond to an A, A, F, F, and a B on the school grading scale. When the numbers are averaged, however, everything is given equal weight, and the score is 67, which is a D. 
Wormeli argues that this is not an accurate measure of Cheryl's grades.

The same logic applies to averaging two scores on the same test. Doesn't the student show mastery on the material if he or she scores higher on the second test. And if so, why then should we average the two scores?

In addition, doing away with averaging should cut down on students trying  to game the system.
[It] will help eliminate teacher concerns about students who “game” the system when their teachers re-declare zeroes as 50s on the 100-point scale. These students try to do just enough— skipping some assessments, scoring well on others—to pass mathematically. 
It would be nice if our electronic grade-books would give us an option to find the mode instead of the average.

2 comments:

Kapil Chandok said...

Good post thanks for sharing.
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Mr. Sims said...

What do you see as the mode in your sample set?

I think that would be helpful, because depending on how you look at the example, there is either no mode (numerically) or it is bi-modal (letter grade). So, the student would either have no grade or have an A/E....which would be a.....?