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February 23, 2017, 7:13:42 pm
 News: Talk online about your experiences as an adjunct, visiting assistant professor, postdoc, or other contract faculty member.
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 Author Topic: Assigned more points than syllabus states- what to do?  (Read 1165 times)
asparagus
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 « on: November 26, 2012, 1:44:49 am »

I typically assign work totalling more points than the syllabus states- maybe 5-8% or so, to allow for the fact that I don't drop a quiz grade.  Then I calculate the grade from the original value.  So if I said I will assign 1000 points, I would assign 1050, but then divide the student's total points by 1000.  Automatic extra credit for the students without extra grading and dropping quizzes for me.  Everybody wins.

I am teaching a new course this semester and assigned WAY too many points - about 20% too many.  What is the best and most fair way to calculate the grades?  I don't feel I still can divide by my original value stated on the syllabus, so I was thinking of dividing by my assigned value-8%.  Is this fair?
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kiana
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 « Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 1:55:05 am »

Drop some quizzes anyway.

This is easy to do in Excel if you have your grades there.
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voxprincipalis
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 « Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 2:00:08 am »

I am teaching a new course this semester and assigned WAY too many points - about 20% too many.  What is the best and most fair way to calculate the grades?  I don't feel I still can divide by my original value stated on the syllabus, so I was thinking of dividing by my assigned value-8%.  Is this fair?

Er, if it's on the syllabus, it's law -- UNLESS following the syllabus would result in students' grades being unduly low. If that's the case, adjust as necessary.

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oldfullprof
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Representation is not reproduction!

 « Reply #3 on: November 26, 2012, 2:29:55 am »

Proportion   x1/y1 = a1/b1.
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melba_frilkins
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 « Reply #4 on: November 26, 2012, 2:52:35 am »

Be careful about what your syllabus says and how you are going to explain the change to your students.

If the syllabus says something like 900 points = A, 800  points = B, etc., then that's a potential problem if you change the denominator. Because students who have earned a given number of points will believe they have already earned the corresponding grade in the syllabus.

However, if the syllabus says 90 percent = A, 80% = B, then you'll have an easier time of it.

Still, I'd be worried that a student who has been tracking his or her grade total so far and comparing it to the original "Total Possible" has been misinformed all semester about how many points it takes to earn a given grade.

I think it all depends on how much your syllabus emphasizes percentage of total rather than sum of total points.

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prytania3
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 « Reply #5 on: November 26, 2012, 8:55:54 am »

This is why I prefer the percentage system over the point system.

If I were a student, and I had earned 950 points (and believe me, I'm keeping track), and the syllabus says 900 points is an A, but I get something other than an A--I'm filing a complaint.

I think you might have to just eat this crow.
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fishbrains
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 « Reply #6 on: November 26, 2012, 9:23:27 am »

+1.

This is why I prefer the percentage system over the point system.

If I were a student, and I had earned 950 points (and believe me, I'm keeping track), and the syllabus says 900 points is an A, but I get something other than an A--I'm filing a complaint.

I think you might have to just eat this crow.
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asparagus
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 « Reply #7 on: November 26, 2012, 10:18:48 am »

Be careful about what your syllabus says and how you are going to explain the change to your students.

If the syllabus says something like 900 points = A, 800  points = B, etc., then that's a potential problem if you change the denominator. Because students who have earned a given number of points will believe they have already earned the corresponding grade in the syllabus.

However, if the syllabus says 90 percent = A, 80% = B, then you'll have an easier time of it.

Still, I'd be worried that a student who has been tracking his or her grade total so far and comparing it to the original "Total Possible" has been misinformed all semester about how many points it takes to earn a given grade.

I think it all depends on how much your syllabus emphasizes percentage of total rather than sum of total points.

I totally see posters' points about the number of points for a certain grade.  My syllabus states X points for exams, X points for quizzes, X points for homework, etc, to the total.  But then states that 90% is an A, 80% is a B, etc.

The reason I don't drop quiz grades is b/c they are all worth a different number of points.  If the chapter is long, the corresponding quiz will cover more material and therefore be worth more points.  If the chapter is short, then I write a shorter quiz, worth fewer points.

Thanks for giving me more angles to think about!
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cgfunmathguy
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 « Reply #8 on: November 26, 2012, 3:14:42 pm »

I do this in a course that I know is "hard" for the students. It allows built-in extra credit. I'd leave it the way you have it, and adjust the point totals (or number of assignments) the next time you teach the class.

By the way, the real killer is when you assign fewer points than are on the syllabus.
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melba_frilkins
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 « Reply #9 on: November 26, 2012, 3:20:39 pm »

Let me suggest that in the future if you are planning on including extra points, include a mechanism for topping it off somewhere. For example, I have a group of casual in-class quizzes which, as a group, is worth 200 points on the syllabus. Usually I give more than 200 points worth of quizzes, however I spell out on the syllabus that a maximum of 200 points will count toward the student's grade.

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