1. Education

Video:How to Calculate Letter and Percentage Grades

with Milo De Prieto

Letter and percentage grades can be a good way to mark the progress of your homeschooling student's work. Here are some tips for calculating letter and percentage grades.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Calculate Letter and Percentage Grades

Hello I'm Milo for About.com and today were talking about calculating grades.

Types of Grading or Assessment Systems

There are many kinds of assessment systems. One, that will talk about today, is to gauge achievement of a task or agreed mastery of a standard. For instance if I can successfully recite all 50 state capitals I would get a perfect score on such an assessment. Another kind is to see where there are gaps or mastery in knowledge, comprehension, or ability. The first kind is used to compare if a student has completed a measurable task satisfactorily. The second is to tell the teacher where instruction should be focused.

Consider Limitations of Letter and Percentage Grades

This is very important because while the kind of grading we are going to talk about today may suggest some gaps or help point in the general direction of where instruction should go, they tend to be only for measuring performance of that task. All of us who have been in school can understand it is possible to get an A on a test and not have mastered the content. This is all to say that you should use grading wisely, with an awareness of its purpose, strengths, and limitations. It might help to explain this to the student as well so that they can understand assessment and take a more active role in their own learning.

Assign Point Values to Calculate Letter and Percentage Grades

Using letter or percentage grades is relatively simple. For a typical quiz or assignment you break it down into discernible, measurable parts. For a quiz that is usually each question. For an essay or assignment that might be a list of key pieces you pointed out before giving the assignment, such as opening paragraph, thesis statement, body, correct punctuation, closing paragraph, and etc. You simply add up each distinct question or point. That total would be a perfect score, perfect meaning complete, not god-like.

Tally Up Points to Calculate Letter and Percentage Grades

When you grade the student's work, find the number of correct answers or points the student achieved and divide by the first number of total possible. Then multiply this by 100. If there were 8 possible points or questions in total and a student correctly achieved 6 of them, you would divide 6 by 8, which is 0.75. Then divide that by 100, and you get 75. That means the student achieved 75 percent.

A Typical Letter Grade Scale

A typical letter grade scale is:

  • 90 to 100 percent = A
  • 80 to 89 percent = B
  • 70 to 79 percent = C
  • 60 to 69 = D
  • 59 percent and below is failing the assignment

Tips for Using Letter and Percentage Grades

Imagine this were a quiz and each question was on a particular element of a subject that a student had studied in the past week. Answering a question properly does not necessarily mean the student internalized the material, especially if say the question were multiple choice. If the student missed the question, it might suggest a review of that material would be helpful, but doesn't clarify that either. Recording achievement with percentages or letter grades is the norm, but it might help both student and teacher understand that this system has its shortcomings in clarifying what a student has actually achieved in learning so as to put grades in perspective.

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