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Ask Marilyn: A Zero Grade is Too Tough to Overcome
Augie Grant of Columbia, South Carolina, writes:
Marilyn: Your answer to the question about grades ignores one of the most important reasons for changing numerical grades. (February 3, 2013) If a student misses an assignment completely, the system you seem to advocate creates an almost impossible situation. Let's look at an example: Assuming that all assignments are weighted equally, if a student misses a single assignment, he or she must get a perfect 100 on the next nine assignments to earn the 90 average for an A. The four-point system allows a student to more easily make up for missed work. The system you advocated works if you assume that every student does every assignment, but in a real environment, it disproportionately punishes missed work. As a college professor for the past 29 years, I can assure you that there are very good reasons that the administrator in question advocated a change in the minimum grade.
Thank you. I do think, however, that it makes more sense to tailor individual grades based on circumstances (for example, deducting points for each day an assignment is late) than to change the entire grading system in favor of an easier one.