Dealing with the fear of being a boring teacher.


To Drop or Not to Drop?

It’s been a wacky week in the world of Cornally: hospitals, psychotically long programming assignments, thunderstorms with a bit of extra wrath, you know, Iowa on a good day.

Also, I’ve been busy. The SBGradeBook fall-semester launch is mere days away! I’ve migrated to my own servers so that I can 99% insure your data’s fidelity and FERPAtitude. I know, I’ve never been so excited for a piece of grading software either…

So, until then, I’ll leave you with this assessment nugget:

An unnamed instructor in an unnamed land decides to drop the lowest quiz score from each of his/her students’ final grade calculation.

Attack or defend this assessment practice in the comments. I’ll mail bacon to whoever first guesses how I feel about it.

Some discussion starters:

  1. Why did the instructor give the quiz if s/he was going to just ignore the information it yielded?
  2. This could conceivably be a different assessment for each student, is this fair?
  3. How does this help a student who has yet to assess less than perfect?
  4. How does this help a student who has yet to assess at a proficient level?
  5. Does this “raising of the grade” help, hurt, confuse, or otherwise bewilder students?
  6. What does this communicate to students about points vs. understanding?
  7. Does this actually raise the student’s grade?
  8. What they hell does a grade mean then, if it can be raised on a whim?
  9. Oops, perhaps I’ve shown my cards. There’s still bacon in it for the most articulate of you.

Hamlet is my favorite play because it's the first book that a teacher ever took the time to find out if I actually understood it or not. Assessmenteffingmatters.

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Shawn Cornally • July 25, 2010

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