Fair grading

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    Hello, I saw this question on another board and I was wondering if I could get some input here. Thanks in advance. Let's say you're the professor in a class and you will throw out test questions if more than 50% of the class answers the question incorrectly. Which scenario would you use to calculate the new grade?Test was 50 questions, each question worth two points. Five of the questions were thrown out.Option 1: Give everyone 10 points.Pros - everyone gets credit for the missed questions regardless if they missed the questions or not (grade cannot exceed 100)Cons - could inflate grades, double points to those who got the questions right.Option 2: Give points based on if you got the question wrong. Pros - if you answered incorrectly, you could get up to 10 points.Cons - if you answered correctly, you get nothing even though you understood the question and possibly answered other questions wrong.Option 3: Throw out the questions and grade the exam out of 45 questions making each question worth 2.22 points.Pros - if you got the questions wrong, your grade would go up (say you missed 10 questions total, including the 5 thrown out. Your original grade would have been an 80, your new grade is now an 88.88)Cons - if you got those questions right and missed 10, your grade would go from an 80 to a 77.777.Is there another scenario that is not listed?What do you think is the most fair to all students?
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  3. 10 Comments so far...

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    In the LPN school, if 30% of the class it was thrown out, and they used scenario #3

    It worked out fair, I don't think anyone questioned it, because our opinion wasn't asked, and they didn't have to throw out any questions.
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    In my experience teaching, when I've thrown test questions out, I've recalculated all the scores based on the new number of total questions (option #3).
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    My professors have never actually thrown a question out. Every test they do decide to accept a couple extra answers for a question or two, and once they did accept all answers to a question, but it doesn't change the scale. Frankly I'd be infuriated if my score went down because a question I answered correctly was thrown out - my grade shouldn't go down.
    Of course, we do get our results immediately and then get grade adjustments later, so it would be a bigger deal than if it was all done at once.
    Last edit by Stephalump on Nov 21, '12
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    This question came up quite often during grad school and it normally boiled down to the option 3. Stinks if you got it right!
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    My A & P professor (known for very hard questions) would go for option #2.
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    If the number of questions involved is small -- like 1 question on the test -- I will simply say it was a "bad question" and give everybody credit for it. Some people's grade goes up, but nobody loses anything because I don't assign letter grades based on a curve. If anybody were to complain (which they don't), I would give them a lecture on generosity and graciousness.

    However, if a substantial number of questions were involved, I think I would truly "throw them out" and re-grade the test on the basis of their being fewer questions (option #3). I must admit though, I have never faced that situation. If a lot of people miss a question, I will review it -- but if I decide it was a fair question, I keep it in regardless of the number of people who got it wrong. This semester, I kept a test question after only 35% of the people got it right. It was a fair question that the students should have answered correctly. So it stayed in.
    KelRN215 and grownuprosie like this.
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    My school does option #2. That way no one ever loses points, but can only gain.

    Also applies for if students challenge a question. They then accept both answers instead of taking points away from anyone.

    I like it because at least I don't lose points, but sucks that I don't gain any.
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    My school never throws out any questions, regardless of the percentage of students who got them wrong. We don't usually review exams in class, but if there's a question that "fell out" then the instructor will review it during class time. Never have any questions been tossed. The instructors create the tests based on what they expect us to know. It all seems fair to me.
    nguyency77 likes this.
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    At our school when a question is thrown out 2 things happen:

    If you got the question correct, you still receive the mark for it and it counts as a bonus mark
    So, if you had 92/100, you now have 92/99.
    If you got it wrong, no harm no foul.


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