June 6, 2009

Bad at Math: Update

Posted in clues to the clueless, student mistakes, student stories tagged , , , at 2:59 am by profart

The email reply to my sending of the numerical grades and calculations of said grade, complete with noting that the actual number at the end of said crunch was actually a failing one, was a bit pathetic. It was to the effect of, “I thought my grades averaged higher than that.”

The only thing I can figure is not only did the student originally leave out the zeros for the assignments not completed, but continues to attempt to ignore those zeros, even when I clearly showed them in the tally and crunching.

Munch munch munch. I actually changed my grading formula a few years back, because I had loud complaints from students that reached admin ears that they couldn’t figure out their grades using my stated formula. This told me that many of my students could not handle basic arithmetic, which is a bit frightening. I stumbled on my original formula, which was midterm 30%, final 30%, quizzes 15%, writing assignment 15%, participation and attendance 10%. Then I changed it up a little later, Midterm 30%, final 30%, assignments 25%, participation and attendance 15%. Nope, that was too hard. Now I just smack it down: midterm, final, assignments, participation, 25% each.

And they still can’t do the math.

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