Assigning a Final Course Mark

Some instructors create elaborate points schemes for determining final course marks. These schemes might include, attendance, participation, homework, and lab attendance in addition to quiz, test, midterm and final exam grades. That’s a lot of record keeping and calculating for an instructor, especially for an instructor who is teaching 15 units or more. What criteria do you use to assign students their final course mark? What do you think of basing final course marks solely on proof that students have learned the material and the skill or using it for communication. Might the averaging of Scantron (true/false, multiple choice) unit tests with their objective little purple score in the right hand corner of the form be a much simpler way of assigning a final course mark? Consider this: I have had students who have been absent many times prove to me that they have somehow learned the material and the skill to use it for communication. Should I penalize them for having been absent? I have had students with psychological conditions never say a word in class and have a hard time doing group activities but come up with stunning results. Do I lower their grade for not having participated actively in class activities? Some of my students rarely do their homework, seeming to soak up everything they need to be successful in class. How about students who never go to the lab because their class and work schedules conflict with the lab’s operating hours? I have learned to be flexible and and base final course marks on results, not points. What are your thoughts?

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