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June 6, 2020 64 min

Percentage grading systems that attempt to identify 100 distinct levels of performance distort the precision, objectivity and reliability of grades. And when averaging on a 100-point scale, the use of zeros is particularly damaging to a student’s grade. The mathematical problem with zeros is they represent an extreme score and their effect on the grade is always exaggerated. To recover from a single zero in a percentage grade system, a student must achieve a perfect score on a minimum of nine other assignments.

In this episode, Dr. Colin Roche ( provides two alternatives to the outdated grading procedures just described. One is to use the minimum 50 grading policy that many schools are currently doing. The other is to use an integer grading system of 0 – 4. 


A few of the many resources are the books, "On Your Mark" by Thomas Guskey, "A Repair Kit For Grading" by Ken O'Connor, and "Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses" by Mary Huba and Jann Freed. Other books referenced “A Teacher’s Guide to Classroom Assessment” by Susan Butler & Nancy McMunn, “Assessing Learners in Higher Education” by Sally Brown & Peter Knight, “Elements of Grading” by Douglas Reeves, “Tools for Teaching” by Barbara Gross Davis.


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