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Monday, August 23, 2004
I’d Give that Policy an “F”

By Steven Taylor @ 7:57 pm

Jeff Quinton points to this story about a grade policy at Benedict College in which students were awarded 60% of their grades based on “efffort” which led to the firing of two professors who bucked the policy:

Benedict College has fired two professors who refused to go along with a policy that says freshmen are awarded 60 percent of their grades based on effort and the rest on their work’s academic quality.

Benedict President David Swinton says the Success Equals Effort policy gives struggling freshmen a chance to adapt to college academics. He expects students to improve - the formula drops to 50-50 in the sophomore year and isn’t used in the junior or senior year. But he says he’s “interested in where they are at when they graduate, not where they are when they get here.”

Students “have to get an A in effort to guarantee that if they fail the subject matter, they can get the minimum passing grade,” Swinton said. “I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”

Well, yes it is if the point of grades is to measure the degree to which students have mastered the material. And how does one measure “effort” anyway? Surely the best test of how hard one has worked is how well one has mastered the material-and yes, some people have to work harder than others. Such is life, I’m afraid.

I understand the goal of trying to help those who are staying well behind the curve, but don’t call it college-level work.

  • mypetjawa v. 2.0 (beta) linked with Efforts Based Grading
  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Effort Grading Under Accreditation Scrutiny?

Click here to go to the main page.

2 Comments»

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  1. Don’t we sort of do this anyway? If I have a student who is a total dumbass but who shows up every day and does all the required work, odds are that they will get this 60 percent grade (a D) anyway.

    Comment by Professor Chaos — Tuesday, August 24, 2004 @ 12:03 pm

  2. I suppose it depends on how “total” of a “dumbass” he or she is. If they are there every course period and still have a 40% exam average, they get an “F". I will admit to building in some fudge factors and incentives (I give extra credit for 100% perfect attendance, for example-of course, people who are there fro every lecture rarely need the points, certainly not to pass).

    I have plenty of students who might pass, but not deservedly so, if they got 60% for “effort"-again, something I find difficult to quantify.

    Comment by Steven Taylor — Tuesday, August 24, 2004 @ 12:07 pm

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