The 90-10 Split

Yesterday I posted a blog post about my thoughts on why I assign homework.  I had some very interesting responses and some of you even suggested some rather rash (and humorous) ways to deal with the problem of students who simply choose not to do homework assignments.

Today I thought I would like to offer a grading strategy that is being used in a nearby school and would like to see what the blogosphere thinks about it through commentary:

Possible Grading Policy: All homework assignments and daily work are worth 10% of a student’s grade.  All projects (i.e. essays, collaborative papers) and tests are worth 90% of the grade.  Students are not penalized for not turning work in, but if a student fails a test they are tutored for a few days, but if they failed to turn in any homework assignment related to that test, they must turn in all of those assignments before being allowed to re-take the test.

In this wise, students are only being graded on performance and not on behavior.  It seems like a simple solution to a very ugly problem.  I must reiterate.  Homework is necessary in my class (A) because I need to know on a daily basis the student’s understanding of the material and (B) I need to know that a student can perform on their own without the help of others (we do a lot of group work in class).

Think about it.  Mull it over.  What do you think?

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

3 thoughts on “The 90-10 Split

  1. I think as a student I would have liked the system you described. Part of my resentment for homework was that others often passed around their work for others. It increased effort for the honest ones, and didn’t sufficiently reward knowledge on the test. Not sure how it would work with english classes, most of my time and efforts went towards the science classes, where knowledge is more quantitative than qualitative.

  2. I like the idea that it doesn’t penalize a student for behaviour – i.e. failure to hand in homework. Perhaps not all students need to complete the homework in order to understand the concepts being taught. However, by your own admission at (A) some students could be falling behind and you would be unaware. It puts a lot more emphasis on students being responsible for their own learning – I don’t know, I’ve been out of the school system for more years than I care to say – is that a reasonable expectation of today’s students?

  3. Effort and performance are inextricably linked. During most of my teaching, none of the grade was on daily homework. 30 – 50% was on tests, depending on provincial department of education’s separate requirements in that testing year.

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