Weighted Vs. Unweighted Grades  Previous topicNext topicFirst topicLast topic

Grading – Weighted Categories Versus Unweighted Points

Class Action makes is easy to weight your assignment categories or use an unweighted, “total points,” system. The choice is yours.

In this section we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Unweighted Points:

Image UnwtdPts.GIF

Weighted Categories:

Image WtdCats.GIF

What Are Weighted Categories?

For an example of Weighted Categories open “A Sample Class,” and choose “Weighted Categories” form the Grading Menu.

Notice several changes in the Summary window:

Points are no longer listed, because they have meaning only when a weighting factor is applied.

The weight of each assignment category (that is, its contribution toward a student's grade) is listed under its name.

Students' grades are not the same as they were under the unweighted system.

Grades have been calculated as follows:

A student's percentage in each assignment category is multiplied by the weight of that category and the results added to get a final percentage.

Here is the calculation Class Action  made for Watson Brown in A Sample Class:

 
Category Weight   X Percent   =   Weighted Score
Homework .25   75.0   18.75
Classwork .25   92.0   23.0
Tests .50   81.7   40.85
Total         82.6%
 

What Are Unweighted Points?

The unweighted or total point, grading system is the most common grading system, probably because grades are easier to hand calculate. Every point, whether it is in homework, essays, tests, or whatever, is worth exactly the same as every other point.

Add up a student's points, divide by the total possible, and you have his or her percentage.

Relative Merits of the Two Systems

A major advantage of an unweighted or “point” system is that is familiar to most students and teachers. In an unweighted system, “a point is a point is a point,” no matter whether it was earned doing homework or taking a test.

Problems in unweighted grading systems can occur when the number of points in an assignment area becomes disproportionate to its “value” as an indicator of achievement. If you give more homework and fewer tests than you planned, students' grades might be too greatly influenced by their homework scores.

Such a situation cannot occur in a grading system using weighted categories. If you decide that homework is to be worth 25% of your students' grades then, no matter how much you assign, its contribution will remain at 25%.

This is the major advantage of a weighted system. It allows you more precise control.

The major disadvantage of weighted grading is that it can be a little more difficult for students (and their parents to understand). If you decide to use it, be sure you can hand calculate a grade(see the example above). Somewhere along the way you will need to explain your system to a skeptical student or parent.


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