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MrsFrazzled 02-15-2019 01:27 PM

Partial Credit
I recently had a PD where our departments had to sit together. So for like the first time this year, I actually got to work and talk for more than just a few minutes with my other science teachers. We don’t have a lot of faculty meetings or PD where this happens.

So we got to talk about what we do in each of our own classes. One thing that came up was how we grade. Two other teacher said that they count a whole answer wrong if they leave off any part.

For example, in physics when displacement is calculated the answer has the value, unit, and direction (20 m East). The two teachers said that if they didn’t put the unit or the direction, they counted the whole wrong.

They said they same thing with calculations and significant figures. In science, when calculations are performed, final answers should be in the correct number of significant digits. So if the correct answer is 23.1 but a student puts 23.11 or 23, they count the whole answer wrong.

I said that I give partial credit. So I assign each part one point usually. So 1 point for correct answer, unit, direction and significant figures. So if for displacement, the correct answer is 20 m East and they don’t put the m for meters or East, I count off 1 point. So they still get a point for the value and anything else that is correct.

The other two teachers couldn’t believe this. One stated that it would take too long to grade like that. In my opinion, it doesn’t. The other stated that he grades this way because he has gone over it in class so if they don’t do it on the test then that is their fault for not learning how to do it the right way.

I still have chemistry and calculus tests from my college classes where the professors gave us partial credit so if I was given partial credit in college, I think it’s acceptable to do it for my high school students.

I do require my students to show their work when solving problems so I can see if they tried and I think they should get credit for at least attempting to do the work.

It just got me to thinking, am I wrong? Am I being too lenient and not expecting more of my students?

I do find it interesting though that said teachers have complained about how their students fail their tests.

lisa53 02-15-2019 01:44 PM

I always gave partial credit the way you describe. I want to give students credit for everything they know how to do. If a student fails a test on kinematics, say, because they make a significant figures error in every problem, then they may still understand and be able to apply the their grade should reflect their comprehension of the unit objectives.

tmbg 02-16-2019 07:30 AM

partial credit
I don't teach a math or science class, but I do give partial credit most of the time...just seems like the right thing to do.

KatieViolet 02-16-2019 10:17 AM

I have only taught middle school, but I have done the same. Half credit for partial right answers, especially in math.

Lottalove 02-16-2019 11:15 AM

I agree with you.
The number is about the math and the labels are more about comprehending details or even following directions. If the math is right and there is no label or it is labeled incorrectly, I take off for that part only.

Conversely, if the math is wrong and the labels are right, it keeps the grade tanking entirely.

I will say that I am more apt to allow do-overs for wrong math and for wrong labeling. I want them to understand and be able to do the math correctly and the labels are part of that. Correct math and no or haphazard labeling feels like laziness.

ponyowner 03-20-2019 08:18 AM

9th teacher
For short answers in Literature, I have answers worth at least 2 points. This way I can give a point for the correctness of an answer and a point for grammar.

anghamm 03-23-2019 05:27 AM

Partial Credit
Hi Mrs Frazzled,

I completely agree with you. I think it is important to give partial credit also to show that you are not just scanning over the test responses. It also helps students know and understand that they are capable if they demonstrate they can get parts of a problem correct. The lack of or missing components can be addressed during instruction. Perhaps there can be a test that you say, "On this exam, it will be all or nothing regarding answers since we have been going over these in class." Maybe that will motivate them to respond with completion.


MrsFrazzled 03-27-2019 10:41 AM

Iím glad to know Iím not alone. I think there is great benefit in giving partial credit.

Anghamm, I really like your suggestion. Iíve never thought about doing that but I think I will even if just on a quiz.

Thanks for the replies!

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