Final Examination

Prepared by:
Joseph Malkevitch
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
York College (CUNY)
Jamaica, New York 11451

Humanities 320 (Honors Seminar)

Due: (Day of the Final or Before)

Write an essay (no particular requirement with regard to length) which addresses the issue of how you would design a fair grading system for students in a college level course. Pretend you are a college teacher and are designing the system for your own use.

Issues to consider addressing include:

i. Will your fair grading system apply equally well independent of the subject matter for the course?

ii. Should the system use the grades:

a. A, B, C, D, F

(How would you describe to a student what A, B, C, D, and F mean in terms of performance in the course?)

b. A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F

c. A+, A, B+, B, C+, C, D+, D, F

d. A-, A, B, B-, C, C-, D, D-, F

e. Number grades (scale 0-100)

f. Other

iii. If you allow B+ and A-, how would you tell when to give a student a B+ and and A-?

iii. If the course is, say Chemistry, and a student learned all the Chemistry you expected, would you give the student a lower than highest possible grade because his/her writing was not on the same level as their work in Chemistry? If students in Chemistry courses or Mathematics courses are expected to write well to get a highest grade, is there some analogue in History classes for "Chemistry knowledge" or "Mathematics knowledge" in terms of assigning a grade?

iv. What do you see as the purpose of assigning a grade?

v. Would attendance and coming on time to class play any role in your grading system?

v. If a course is a General Education Course and the student works hard and attends regularly, under what circumstances might you fail the student?

vi. Do you think grading involves setting an absolute standard with regard to the content of the course or does it involve evaluating the student in relation to the other students in the class?

vii. If a student born in another country and/or the student's first language was not English, how might this enter into your grading system?

viii. If you knew the student had learning problems or physical problems, how might this enter into your grading system?