I am passionate about not calling kids failures. As a math teacher I saw many students coming into my class already believing they were not going to be successful. A low score on an assignment or test reinforced to them that they were not smart.
When you give a 3 question quiz the score options are 100%, 67%, and 33%. An A, D or F. Odds are we end up telling students they are failures.
On a 5 question quiz the score options are 100%, 80%, 60%, 40% and 20%. Getting one question wrong takes you from an A+ to being on the verge of a C. Most of the possible score options in this scenario tell a student they are not that awesome. A 20% gap between scores seems irresponsible in accurately reporting student abilities. It is not even possible for a student to score “average” on a 5 question quiz. You’re a super star or a failure.
Even on a 10 question quiz, missing one question knocks you down a whole letter grade. A+, A-, B-, C-, D-, F, Low F, Really Low F, Super Low F. Odds are we are calling a student a failure again. Unless a student gets all of the questions correct they will have a MINUS next to their grade.
Do we really want to be telling students they are failures? Do we want to give negative impressions? Is the practice of giving percentages on assignments conducive to helping students feel good about themselves, their learning and school? I think it is time we stop abusing kids with math.