What Do Letter Grades Tell Us About Learning?

Earlier I said that letter grades don’t say much about learning.  Here’s one quick example to get you thinking about that.

A student takes a course and gets the following marks out of 10:

  • 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9 and one missing assignment
  • And then writes the final exam and gets 95%.
  • Assignments = 31/80       Exam = 95/100

Depending on how the teacher thinks about this, the student could get some very different final grades.

  • Some teachers would say that 126/180 is 70%    “C+”
  • Some teachers might put more weight on the exam and come up with a “B”
  • Some teachers might note the growth over time and the fact that the student had mastered the content for the exam – therefore 95%   “A”
  • Some teachers might note the missing assignment and say “incomplete” or “fail”

But what did the student learn?

Author: Judy

Educator, learner, thinker, innovator. With 30 years of teaching under my belt - 16 of those as a school based administrator who taught in the classroom every day - I am on a new venture as Principal of Special Projects. I'm no longer at "a" school - I'm at all of our schools. I no longer have a staff or students of my own. Instead, I think deeply about learning for all in our district. Students, teachers, support staff, me. This blog is my commitment to reading, thinking and learning about education and sharing it with all of the amazing educators out there.

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