A critical question is whether we, as teachers, focus on grading for success or failure.
I think most of us grade for failure.
Jaime has done four science labs. In the one in Oct., he got a 20, in Dec, a 40, in Feb., a 60 and in May, an 80. His last lab score was an 80. He improved from a low 20 to an 80. So what grade do we give him? Do we total his scores (20 +40 +60 +80 = 200) and divide by the number of labs (4) to get the average of 50? Or do we give him a grade of 80?
Also, Luisa was in the same science class. Her grades were 80, 80, 80 and 80. Her last lab was an 80. Her average is an 80. She showed no improvement throughout the year.
Both Luisa and Jaime ended up with the same last lab grade. Do we reward one student more than the other?
What does your grading reveal about your focus on success or failure?
My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.
Also, my book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.