A Point is NOT a Unit of Currency

One Point

A dollar has a fixed value. Points for assignments do not. On a 3 point assignment a single point has a lot more value than on a 100 point assignment. I think sometimes we are in the mindset of “taking off a point” when students miss something on the assignment regardless of the number of points possible.

Point Samples

 Points Possible One Point
 100  1%
 50  2%
 30  3%
 20  5%
 10  10%
 5  20%
 4  25%

On a 10 point assignment each point knocks a student down an entire letter grade.

Percentage Penalty

Is the percentage a point is worth equal in value to amount of penalty you are trying to leverage?

I recently created a spreadsheet where I put in one column the percentage I wanted to assign a student and then used a formula that rounded up the percentage after being multiplied by the number of points possible. I noticed that when I took off a percentage or two penalty that the students score remained the same. Link to spreadsheet. If I had taken off a point or two the students score would not have reflected what I intended to give them.

Use this spreadsheet if you would like to see how the points come out with the percentage after entering the number of points possible. Link to template spreadsheet.

Taking Off A Point

I would like to encourage a rethinking of the idea of “take a point off.” One point on each assignment does not mean the same thing.

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