21 August 2008

 

Request for Comments Regarding a New Grading Scheme

Earlier this summer, I participated in a Course Makeover class that was offered by ERAU's Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence. The courses that got the facelift were CEC 410, Digital Signal Processing, and CEC 411, Digital Signal Processing Laboratory.

As part of the makeover, I'm moving away from a homework/problem set with exams for grading model to one where section outcomes are assessed at the start of the next meeting via a short quiz with a couple of problems on it. The problems will directly resemble practice problems assigned that ought to allow students to develop mastery of the content corresponding to the desired outcomes. Each problem is an Assessment, and each Assessment is graded on an Excellent/Exceeds, Satisfactory/Meets, Unsatisfactory/Needs Improvement basis.

I've come up with a grading scheme based on the performance on the Assessments, and I'd like comments on it. In words:
Grades are based on the fraction of assessments scored Satisfactory or Excellent. A putative grade will be assigned as follows:
• In order to pass, a student needs for 50% or better of all assessments, less excused absences, to be Satisfactory or Excellent;
• If a student passes, and if the fraction of Excellent assessments out of Satisfactory and Excellent assessments is less than 10%, then the putative grade will be a C;
• If a student passes, and if the faction of Excellent assessments out of Satisfactory and Excellent assessments is 10% or better but less than 50%, then the putative grade will be a B;
• If a student passes, and if the fraction of Excellent assessments out of Satisfactory and Excellent assessments if 50% or better, then the putative grade will be an A;
• Each student is allowed one unexcused absence. The actual letter grade will be the putative letter grade decreased by one for each unexcused absence beyond the one allowed.
The draft information sheet is available here, complete with a nifty C/Java implementation of the above, and the course schedule, for those who want to see what the section outcomes are, is here.

I'm curious as to what people think about this, particularly students. So, feel free to flame away in the comments, or send e-mail to timatollah@mackandtim.net.

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Comments:
Seems like a confusing plan, but it works. At least confusing for us students. I would say give a few more unexcused absences. Like maybe 2 or 3 and then the 4th one starts knocking off a letter grade. That's a big hit for getting stuck in Orlando, waking up late or a broken water pump on the car which must be replaced immediately (all of which I've had).
 
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