Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Assessment Table of Contents/Assessment Chapter 4: Grading/Student Soapbox

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Assessment Chapter 4 Student Soap Box

Deciding what factors should be included in the calculation of students’ grades is an important and contentious issue. Discuss your philosophy for determining students' grades. Consider the following questions:

Should students' grades be based mainly on tests and projects? What about homework?

Should grades be a reflection of performance/achievement only or should effort be considered as well?

What about zeros and late work? How might these influence the grade a student receives?


Add your response below. Extra credit will be awarded to multimedia responses.

These articles really open my eyes to all the different aspects of teaching; assessment, feedback etc. I believe that all things should be considered in the grading process. Tests, projects, homework, performance, and effort should all be factored in the final grade. Learning is a process therefore, the grading should reflect just that. I do believe that tests/projects should have a higher value, but also include the homework/performance/effort/and class participation as well. Grading with a rubric is a great idea. This is easy way for teachers to make expectations clear for an assignment. When I was in school I never came across a rubric. None of my teachers ever gave me one. Man, would it have helped on many assignments. Sometimes when teachers give you an assignment you have no idea what to do or what they are looking for. Grades are one way of giving feedback so make it easier on teacher and student to know what is expected. I definitely agree that giving zeros is not an appropriate consequence for students because as teachers we are supposed to help students learn and try to motivate them to achieve. I believe giving them a zero does not support that. Aferg006 (talk) 01:54, 17 June 2009 (UTC)


What Makes the Grade?[edit]

Yes, I do think that students grads should be based mainly on tests and projects. I also think that enough tests and projects should be given so that the students grade isn't based on two or three grades. tests and projects are in my opinion the best way to assess knowledge at the end of a lesson. It is not the only way. Homework should only count towards a grade in the way of whether it was done or not. Perhaps a Rubric for homework grades would be 2pts for doing it well, 1pt for doing it at all, and 0 for not doing it. Take an average and that can be used to boost your grade but not reduce your grade. Effort should always be considered with grades. If there is a student whois an excellent achiever than that student deserves good grades for their hard work. If there is a student who does not achieve top status or even one who is barely passing but they work as hard as the excellent achiever than the teacher should take that into consideration when calculating grades. The dedication it takes to work hard at something is a quality that should be encouraged whether or not the student achieves top grades. As for zeros and late work and whether they are necessary I would have to say they are. If there were no penalties than where is the incentive to do what is expected. I think that the teachers should do all they can to help the students who are struggling but at some point if the student does not respond to the help and extra time given than the teacher may have to give a zero. However if the student is that disinterested in helping themselves than the zero probably doesn't matter much to them and there may be a larger issue to deal with. So I guess I am "on the fence" with whether or not to give zeros.Jnemo001 (talk) 23:49, 26 June 2009 (UTC)


No, I don’t think student grades should be based mostly on tests and projects. Homework and class participation should count as well. Many good students do poorly on tests because they simply get nervous and are just not good test takers. As a future art teacher, I think students that put forth a lot of effort towards class work should be rewarded. Some students just aren’t as artistic as others, but do very well in keeping up with class work and are very motivated. These students should definitely be rewarded! As I stated as my response to the article “The Case Against the Zero”, I do think that if a student fails to hand in an assignment they should (in most circumstances) receive a zero for the work they did not attempt to complete. Of course a zero doesn’t average in well with other grades that student is given, but if a student doesn’t even try to do the work I don’t believe they should receive a higher grade. For late work, points should be deducted from the grade. If points aren’t deducted, it wouldn’t be fair for the motivated students that do manage to turn their work in on time. Ldomm002 (talk) 01:38, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

I think that students' grades should be based on a multitude of assessments. I do not agree that students' grades should be based solely on tests and projects. I feel a students should be assessed on aspects of education that include tests and projects, but the students should also be graded on in class assignments, homework, class participation and attendance. I feel a strong way to assess students is to teach a lesson, and have the students write a paper or complete a project as one way of assessing what they have learned from the lesson. I also feel another strong way to assess a student is to have him or her or a team of students teach the lesson to the class. This is a great way to see what the students have learned over the course of the lesson. I look forward to using this philosophy in the future when I begin to teach.Lwill031 (talk) 17:13, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

No students' grades should not be based primarily on tests and projects. They should be taken into heavy consideration, but tests and projects are not the sure fire way to assess what someone has learned in the class. Effort can be easily determined and would play a huge factor in my determination of an adequate grade. If I had a student that made a hearty effort, but failed miserably on my tests, I would council him/her into showcasing another way in which to express what they had learned in my class. I am still on the fence concerning zeros and late work. Outside of a college level I would be profoundly for making a student do their work, if it means forcing them to. I would feel obligated to make sure they do what they need to do. However, at a college level I would inherently expect more responsibility from my students and would feel more obligated to hand out zeros. Late work I would stipulate that they must discuss it with me. If they made a habit out of it, their grade would reflect their lack of effort in getting papers/projects/homework in on time– and I think it would be just. There is just this fine line between using grades as punishment and giving people what they have truly earned. Hsmit022 (talk) 03:07, 19 June 2009 (UTC)


My philosophy for determining students' grades is that I really had not thought about it. I say, "I didn't give them the grade, they earned the grade". If a student puts forth 100% or 50% effort then they deserve the grade they get. I agree that tests and homework should make up the students' grades, but should also take into consideration the effort as well as the student's performance because this shows that the student is trying. When thinking about teaching my class, the only time the students would have homework is if the week's work is not done. I would not assign homework over the weekend. When teachers put a zero in the gradebook it is not letting the teacher know if the student knew the work or not. I think teachers should give students a chance to make up late work, give them a lesser grade instead of just putting a zero in the gradebook.Msmhobbs04 (talk) 14:31, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

I have a new persective on grading after reading these articles! I believe that grades should not be solely based on tests and projects. Homework, particiapation and effort should all be included. Perhaps some things will be weighted more than others, but all things should be considered. We have talked about giving feedback a lot recently and I think that the more feedback a student receives, the better. Grades are one form of feedback and can offer the students an idea of how he/she is performing. When using different tools, like rubrics, students can have a better understanding of where they are successful and where they may need to work harder. By incorporating homework, participation, and timeliness of turning in work, students can realize that ALL these factors are important. Giving a zero is not beneficial, since the main goal is to help the students learn and understand the information, right? So, make consequences and stick to them. Let the students know they will be penalized for turning work in late or not turning it in at all; however, they will be required to complete it and when they do, they will have a chance to earn some credit. This offers a situation where the students wont feel hopeless if they miss an assignment but also know how important it is to have things in on time! I hope to try to include all of these ideas in my teaching style! Khedl002 (talk) 17:57, 16 June 2009 (UTC)khedl002


I base a student's grade on tests, quizzes, special assignments (projects, etc.,), classwork which includes science labs, and participation. Tests are weighted 33.3% of the total and the remaining grades are grouped together with a weight of 66.67%. Homework is assigned regularly. However, I think that homework is something that is used for practice and to gage student understanding. I assign a value for completion, not a value for correctness. This ties in to my class participation grade which is based on class discussion, group participation, and homework completion. Students are given an opportunity to turn in late work, such as projects, and I assign a penalty for each day the assignment is late (usually 10 pts. per day). Make-up work is due 5 days after an absence unless there are prior arrangements. I do not randomly assign grades to my students. What they receive is an accurate account of their participation and effort as well as the work that they have completed. Grades should not be the end all-be all of education, but are the traditional measure of academic success. Acrow005 (talk) 14:04, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

No, a students grade should not be based on tests and project. I belive that is a disservice to the student. There should be many opporunities to earn grades. I, personally, do not believe in homework. I believe there needs to be a separation between school and home. I have heard many times with teachers, "do not take your work home with you." I believe this should apply to the student as well. Also, in many cases, homework is setting the student up for failure. Many times the work may be too hard for the student or there is too much given in one day. Performance, achievement, and effort should all be considered in a grade. Every aspect of a project or work should be taken into consideration for a grade. Never should a student receive a zero for being late or possibly not doing something right. I don't believe in late work. There will be a date set for the students who like to work that way and then other students will be given the assignment and have till the end of the year. As I said before, I truly do not believe anyone should receive a zero that has turned in work. It doesn't make sense. There is an effort placed in the assignment and that should be rewarded and then they should have the opportunity to make changes and improvements and receive a higher score. All part of the learning process. Sston008 (talk) 01:46, 16 June 2009 (UTC)


Grading shouldn't be something that a teacher can assign randomly. Student's grades should not only be based on academic work but also their attitudes and actions in class. Tests should count the most because they are a refection of what students have learned. Homework should be graded for completion and not always correctness. Other things that happen in addition to tests and homework (projects, etc.) should be graded based on their size and difficulty. Grading should be both a reflection of performance/achievement and effort. "Partial credit" should be awarded when a student has worked hard but not fully reached the ending goal. Zeros should be given if students blatantly fail to complete assignments. Late work should be handled on a case-to-case basis. For normal lateness (laziness) students should be penalized and have points deducted until the assignment is turned in. Sbutl016 (talk) 17:56, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

This year I co-taught with a teacher that has been teaching for 36 years. She was helping to show me the ropes my first year at the school. About halfway through the first semester the class had a project due. She let them know a head of time that it had to be turned in. She told them they couldn't just NOT DO the assignment. At the time I was wondering how she was going to enforce that rule. Time came for them to turn in the assignment and we both had about 5 kids that didn't turn it in. She then proceeded to assign them lunch detention till the assignment was done. At first I didn't agree with her, I thought she was holding their hand and not letting them take consequences for their actions. I later realized that she was having them suffer consequences and making them turn in their assignment as well. It was a valuable lesson for me this past year. Jtmitchem (talk) 01:04, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Grades should be something that students know exactly what they have to do to earn. I love rubrics and believe they can be used as soon as students begin writing. A good one will spell out clearly what the student needs to do to accomplish their task and how it will be graded when completed. I also agree with Douglas B. Reeves that giving "zeros" for not turning in work does not help a student in any way. I know more than a few students who would rather take a "zero" than complete a difficult project. I think the student should still be required to complete the work, be denied the "fun" class activities, and when finally turned in, be given a grade lower than if they had turned it in on time. Sciaston (talk) 15:54, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Student grades should be well balanced and should not be randomly assigned. Tests and projects should carry the most weight, as these are a direct relection of the students understanding of what has been taught. Homework should carry some weight in the grade, but should be graded for completion and not for accuracy. If a student completes their homework each night, this will help give their final grade a boost. Growing up, I knew many students who did great on tests, but did not complete their homework, so in the end they ended up with a low final grade. Grades should be a reflection of performance and achievement as well as effort. The way to grade effort is to factor in a participation grade. This will help the students who may not have fully grasped the material but put in as much effort as they could. If students fail to turn in the assignment, I think they should initially be given a zero, but they should be forced to complete the assignment. By this I mean staying in from recess or lunch and working until it is complete. The project should then be graded, with a percentage taken off because of its tardiness. Afett001 (talk) 17:21, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

I believe that grades are earned. In my book grades can be earned by completing homework, putting forth an honest effort, and taking tests. The tests would be graded differently because they are an assessment. However, if a student completes the homework and tries this will also affect his/her test grade. I know that when I didn't do my homework I done worse on tests than when I did do my homework. Homework should not be looked at as busy work, but as an understanding and practice of material that was presented in class. I also agree that homework shouldn't be graded, but to check to make sure students are doing it. If a student is really giving it his all and is not a trouble maker then I would more than likely add bonus points to his test for that six weeks. I am not a fan of the zero either. It is too devastating to a student. I like to grade by class average on some things. That way students see that no one is perfect and makes 100's all the time. Maybe it's the wrong thing to do. I don't know. Hcomb003 (talk) 01:51, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

I believe in giving grades for all three testing, projects, and homework. Consideration for effort will be given, on a project by project basis. Zeros and late work should influence the student’s grade. I feel that they fall under effort. If no effort is given then no grade should be received. I think a combination of the two grading methods will be considered when I grade my students. One thing is clear to me is that grading is not going to be an easy task. It is going to be a learning experience all by itself.Mlipl001 (talk) 16:41, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

These articles made me see grading in a totally different way than I used to think about grading. I believe that students' grades should be earned, because if they do not put forth the effort and initiative then they will not push themselves to do the best that they possibly can. I believe that certain assignments should be worth more points than others such as tests or quizzes, because in some cases students can forget homework assignments which should be weighted lower, in which they can put forth more effort and time towards the assignments that are worth more. I believe that students should understand completely what is expected of them for assignments, and that is why I believe that rubrics are a great grading assessment. It allows students to see what exactly they need to do for the assignment, and the things that they will be graded on. Regarding homework assignments, I believe that they should not be graded too difficult because they should assess whether the student completed the assignment or not, and not entirely on whether the answers are correct or not. I believe that participation and effort are important factors for the student to be graded on, although I do believe that it should not be weighted too heavily. The main reason I believe this is because some students are uncomfortable with speaking in the classroom, and participation determining their grade should not be a huge factor. I also believe that students' grades should not be solely based on tests and projects, because some students do not do well with testing and should be provided with other opportunities to raise their grades. Regarding zeros, I do not believe that it is to the student's benefit, because it is just allowing them to continue not to complete assignments. I believe they should be instead given some form of incentive or punishment that will cause them to do the assignment rather than a number received. Rburt005 (talk) 22:44, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Students need many opportunities for assessments, but they should be varied in their types and applications. Assessment could mean many things for someone teaching at the elementary level. Teachers could evaluate class participation, homework, quizzes, individual projects, group work, tests, reading, writing, art…the list could go on. As a teacher of this level, I am more concerned with the journey than the result. I want my students to retain what they are studying and I know that means providing a lot of engaging, sensori-motor activities. When students have some choice, some control of their studies, and are engaged in the classroom, they are better prepared and more successful at any type of assessment. In essence, they will retain more of what they learn because it will have functional value to them. Learning will be personal. Therefore, this dividing line or gap between learning and assessing will almost be nonexistent.

Every aspect of class a student partakes in should be considered in the grading process. Tests and projects are important and need a grade, however homework should reflect part of the students grade as well. Homework should not have as strict a grade, though, because the purpose of homework is to help students learn the topic at hand, not penalize them for not completely understanding the topic. Homework can become a type of assessment for teachers so they know what they need to spend more time on in class, and what students understand the most. A student should also be graded on their performance/achievement in the class because how well they complete an assignment and how well they do on the tests and projects should be a factor of their success in the class. Effort should be graded, as well, because some topics will be more difficult or confusing for a student. If they are giving their best effort to be successful on the topic at hand, they should be rewarded for their attempts. As the article read explained, zeros and late work should not completely go hand-in-hand. A late assignment does not always deserve a zero, students should be given the chance to makeup work they forgot to do or did not understand and need more help on. Hcogg001 (talk) 16:02, 18 June 2009 (UTC)


I think that grading a student's work is probably one of the hardest things that a teacher has to face. For instance the way that you choose to grade a certain paper could decide whether or not a student passes your class or not. I think that grading assignments should be the one thing that a teacher should take absolutely seriously. sometimes i think it is easier to assign a fair grade when you don't know who wrote the assignment. for instance it might be a little unconventional but I might tell my students to put their name on the last page of their paper so that as I read I'm grading for content and not thinking about Johnny talking back to me during class that morning. Grading papers should not be taken lightly. Also the different kinds of assignments should be graded differently . For instance, if you assign a research paper that is worth twenty five percent of the students grade the a quiz should not also be worth the same value. The value of the assignment should be determined by thinking about how long it should actually take a student to complete that assignment. What could be done is that if there are ten quizzes throughout the semester then all of the quizzes cold equal twenty fove percent of the students final grade. The over all grade of any given assignment should be based on the amount of effort that was put in and the quality of the final piece of work. Rcoll029 (talk) 16:49, 18 June 2009 (UTC)


Grading a student's work is not as easy as it sounds. These articles have really opened my eyes about things to consider when grading, making ruberics, etc. I think that a grading system should not be arbitrary. It should be set in stone and consistent across the board. Afterall, a simple grade on one assignment can make a pass or fail difference for a student. I think that homework, participation, in-class assignments, discussions, etc. should also have important weights within a student's overall grade. I don't think that tests and projects can assess a students true capabilities and there should be a wide variety of assignments to assess a students potential. By using different approaches the teacher is also helping the students learn in different ways and also being conscious of the fact that not all students are good test-takers and not everyone writes perfect essays. Teachers should put a lot of thought into each grade and make sure that they are fair, reliable and valid. The article by Reeves really made me think twice about assigning a zero for work that is not turned in. I agree with him that privileges could be taken away until a student decides to complete the assignment. This way, not completing the assignment is NOT an option. To some students, a grade is a number written on a paper, but sitting in detention or not being able to participate in a school activity may seem much more important. Alucy001 (talk) 01:44, 19 June 2009 (UTC)


Grades should represent the full spectrum of a student's work. They should be made up of homework, classwork, quizzes, tests and projects. Also there should be some consideration of effort. I factor effort into my student's grades by grading homework and classwork for completion not correctness. In this way, I am grading their effort to complete classwork and homework and rewarding those students who put fourth the effort and tried. Late work should be penalized and zeros should be used for work that was never completed. When I factor in effort into a student's grade that means that I am grading them less on what they know and more on how hard they try. This means less pressure for the student, but in return they must turn in their work on time. Accepting late work reaffirms to students that they do not have to complete assignments for a deadline, they can wait and do it in their leisure, or get by without completing it at all. This is NOT a life skill that high school students specifically need to develop. Is it okay for you to tell your boss, "Oh I'm sorry I just don't feel like doing that right now or at all. Sorry I'll just take a zero." No, it's not and in real life the person would be fired, so students need to learn early that work is to be completed on time. I think ISS or OSS maybe a good way to get students to see the consequences of their actions or lack their of when it comes to their school work. Scrai010 (talk) 16:37, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

This is a subject that I find is talked about over and over. I think it is so ridiculous for teachers to put such a heavy weight on tests. Not that I do not think that tests are important and needed, but to have tests carry the difference of passing and failing a course is preposterous. I have actually had a course that had a mid term and a final and those were the only two grades for the course. Thankfully, I do not have a mental block when it comes to tests but I know people who do. Those are the people that this practice does a total disservice. A student's mastery of a subject should be reflected in tests, quizzes, projects, homework, papers. etc. To give the weight of passing and failing to one or two tests does not take into account all of the students that are not regurgitators, people who take in the information and spit it back out. There should be an opportunity for all students to be able to be evaluated on their broad spectrum of learning styles. Also, grades should be earned not given. If we do not hold our students responsible for not completing assignments how will they ever learn accountability? If they are in the real world and miss a deadline, would they not suffer consequences for that? We are not only providing students the knowledge that they need to acquire as well-rounded members of society but we are also giving them the tools to go out and succeed in their work life and continuing education. If we do not show students the importance of earning their grades, being held accountable for work that is due, and realizing that the effort that they put forth will be rewarded in the grades that they receive, we are teaching them nothing. Jnewh001 (talk) 17:40, 19 June 2009 (UTC)


For a task that at a glance appears simple, grading is perhaps one of the most complex aspects of being an educator because of all the issues that surround it. While grades will continue to be an ongoing debate, teachers almost have to develop their own personal philosophy for grading. My own personal philosophy on grades is that the teacher should focus on the work, but they should also consider the student. When teachers are often assessing students’ work, they may hold some bias towards them when grading. This is when it is essential to use a rubric, particularly instructional rubrics because they can enhance learning and assessment simultaneously. It is very important that teachers grade without bias because they are not helping their students by not being honest about their performance or achievement, particularly on tests and projects. However, behind each assignment are students with feelings, and educators have the power to “make them or break them”. Even the most well-intended teachers can have a power trip when grading, and many do not realize the impact a failing grade on their students. Some students give all of their effort, and barely manage to receive a C. It would not be fair for the student to receive a failing grade just because the teacher may be holding a grudge against them. Teachers are also not mind-readers, so they may not know if a student is having personal problems at home.

This does not mean that teachers should or need to be sympathetic, because grades should reflect student performance. But student performance should also be balanced with student effort. A classroom will have some students do the hardest assignments with ease and have other students struggle on the easiest. I would grade a student’s assignments based on their general performance but I would also take note of their effort in doing the assignment by asking myself questions: Did the student appear to be struggling while doing the assignment? Did they frequently ask questions? Did they stay after class or school to receive additional help? Were they overall giving it their best shot? As for zeros and late work, it is more beneficial to have students complete the assignment on their free time than to give a zero. There have been many cases where I have gotten so frustrated with an assignment, I take the zero as the lesser evil simply because I did not want to do the assignment. While I personally think that making this decision is acceptable for a college student, it is not for a elementary, middle and even high school student because they do not yet realize how impacting a zero is. By taking away some of their privileges, like free period or extra-curricula activities, they will be more motivated to complete the assignment on time instead of not doing it at all. It may also be important to consider doing different projects based on student interest.Adart001 (talk) 00:35, 21 June 2009 (UTC)


I think that students’ grades should be mainly focused on tests and projects as a whole. Homework should be something that plays a role, but it should not be the main source of assessment in my opinion. Tests and projects are much more apt to truly give an understanding of a student’s capabilities than homework is, by the very nature of homework itself. It is work for the home, supplemental lessons but not the real “meat” of the curriculum. I think both achievement and effort should be included at all levels in grading. Every person has natural aptitudes and deficits in their capabilities. Educators should understand this and at least on some level consider effort when dolling out grades. Personally, I am against zeroes. They seem ineffective and more superstitious than inspiring. Zeroes were only looked at two ways when I was in school, either as the “boogey man” of grading or as a meaningless consequence. The phrase, “I’ve already got like three zeroes, screw it.” Was used quite often to describe a zero’s affect on the average student. I am wholeheartedly in favor of late work. Late work provides opportunity for improvement. To me that is an important basis for teaching, improvement. Without improvement, what’s the point? BitterAsianMan (talk) 02:11, 21 June 2009 (UTC)


I think that the determination of a student's grade should not be solemnly based on test and projects. A grade should be a reflection of a student's progress in different areas of the class. Such examples are class participation, homework, classwork, and other creative skills. As a aspiring teacher I believe in the learning strategies of visual and auditory learners, and should incorporate different lessons for the diversity of student's personality and learning approach. Motivation is a key factor in the classroom, for a teacher should motivate their students to do their absolute best and not settle. If the grades in the classroom are just based on tests which could lead to poor grades, then something is not working in my teaching strategy. Late assignment acceptance could also replace many "zeros" on the grade book. For one, I understand the "zero" if the student was given multiple chances and they still did not complete an assignment. I believe in fair chances, improvement and motivation... But that, is just a working relationship between teacher/student communication. Ehern004 (talk) 18:18, 21 June 2009 (UTC)


I think grading should be based on everything in the classroom. It should include tests, homework, classroom assignments, projects, attendance, punctuality, grammar, writing skills, etc. I also think extra credit is a great way to persuade students to set their goal higher and give 110% or more. Too many times I have witnessed students doing "just enough" to pass because they did not want to put forth any effort to go above and beyond "average". As for performance and achievement, I think effort needs to be a part of the mixture. Without including effort, we are including those who have different learning capabilities.Scarlett1 (talk) 23:42, 21 June 2009 (UTC)


How grading should be done depends completely on who the students are. If we are talking about college level students, then in most cases, the grade should be a composite of tests, exams, and projects. Nothing more is needed. How grading is done with the high school level alone should also vary according to circumstance. A teacher who teaches in a highly affluent county with 1% of the people in poverty should expect students to turn in homework and count this heavily into their grade (everyone can afford caculators for math homework). A teacher who teaches in a highly impoverished county, where no one can afford to buy their children calculators, should not weigh homework as a large portion of the grade. I think class participation and classwork should be a factor in one's grades, but I also think tests should be heavily weighted. Students who work extra hard should have opportunities for extra credit. Mbrowder (talk) 01:02, 19 July 2009 (UTC)