Category : Science and Education
Archive   : AFTSKL.ZIP
Filename : METHODS.TXT

 
Output of file : METHODS.TXT contained in archive : AFTSKL.ZIP

Averaging Marks and Determining Grades

AftrSkol determines a weighted average of marks
giving the teacher a menu of options for weights and
methods. It then assigns letter grades according to a
table (adjustable by the user). The program does not
average letter grades or their point equivalents. It
averages marks and then determines letter grades.

The average of the marks can be adjusted by the
teacher as can the resulting letter grade. This
provision allows for revision based on various
subjective factors and for cases that border closely
between letter grades (as well as for just plain
fudging).


**Year End**/{Terms/Activities/percent or raw}

AftrSkol determines the final year end mark as the
weighted average of the year's terms. The teacher
assigns the weights for each term including a weight
for any "term" that is a final exam or paper. The
program will accept up to nine terms. As for term
averages and letter grades, program determined year
end marks can be overridden by the teacher. The
override factor is also useful if an entire term is
"excused" as the program will give it a zero value
with the appropriate weight for that term.


**Terms**/{Activities/percent or raw}

AftrSkol determines the mark for each term as the
weighted average of the activities for the term. The
teacher assigns the weights for each activity. If an
entire activity is excused then the weights are
adjusted to total 100% for the remaining activities.
Letter grades are determined from a teacher adjustable
table relating average marks and letter grades.
Average marks and letter grades can be overridden by
the teacher.


**Activities**/{percent or raw}

Within each term there can be three "activities"
called "assignments", "tests", and "other". Each of
up to 9 terms can have 20 assignments, 9 tests and 5
others.

Within each activity any particular mark can be
excused for a student. It is excused for all students
if the total possible is not entered for the teacher's
record. Student marks are excused by entering any
non-numeric character other than a blank (which is
interpreted as a 0). Various characters can be used
to code different excused marks and those characters
then show on the Mark report available under the
reports menu. For example, P might be permanently
excused but T might mean temporarily excused but to be
edited back to 0 if not made up by term end (see edit
option from main menu).

The average mark for each activity can at the
teacher's discretion be the average of the raw marks
or the unweighted average of the percentages. For
example, if there were two assignments with 10 marks
possible in the first and 20 in the second, then
consider the average mark for assignments for a
student with 8 on the first assignment and 10 on the
second.

Under the average raw marks approach, our example
gives (8+10)/(10+20)=18/30=60.0% Under the percentage
method, the student's assignment average is
(80.0%+50.0%)/2=65.0%

If the default options offered by the program are
selected (enter is pressed rather than changing
values), then activities are averaged by the raw mark
approach and the three activities within the term are
then combined using a weighted average under the
percentage method. This allows the teacher to say,
for example, that assignments will count 40% and tests
60% without having to adjust the number of marks
possible in each activity.

If the so called "unweighted" option between
activities is selected, then it is equivalent to
averaging the raw marks of all activities. If the
student in the above example also had a mark of 80 out
of 100 on the only exam, then with weights of 40/60 on
the default option the term mark would be
.4*(60.0)+.6*(80.0)=72.0% Under the "unweighted"
method, the term mark would be
(8+10+80)/(10+20+100)=75.4% Under the percentage
method within activities as well as between
activities, our example becomes
.4*(65.0)+.6*(80.0)=74.0% If the cutoff for a job or
scholarship were in the range of 72-75%, method would
count for a lot!


What If?

The program gives the teacher the tools to "play"
with different averaging method and weighting schemes,
print out the results and see what difference they
make. Prior to "saving the term" under the Term
Average option, interim term marks can be calculated
and recalculated. Even after the term is "saved", it
can be erased from DOS or modified from the program
(edited student by student).


Many of us may take our favorite averaging and
weighting scheme as the only natural method. The
program makes it easy to test other methods and test
what we've been taking for granted. Seminars can be
run on the advantages/disadvantages of each approach.
The percentage approach gives equal weight to a 5 mark
and a 100 mark exam while the raw mark approach counts
the former as 20% of the later. How to determine the
mark to letter grade table provides hours of further
discussion.

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AftrSkol merely attempts to make the work easy and
the method explicit.
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