I have an 89.018%. Can you round me up to an A??

One lovely Wednesday evening while on the Twitter (many moons ago), some folks in my PLN and I were exchanging tweets during #sblchat. Always a great conversation, an idea started brewing….

Next year, I think it would be neat to engage students and parents in an activity to show how much information percentages give relative to grades.

It’s still relatively rough, but here’s the gist of it:

Starting at 100%, have participants describe, in words, what each percent means in relation to a grade.
If they get stuck, to 0% and work your way up.

My gut, I hope, tells me that the participants will quickly see how there is not much of a different between 75% and 76%. Or even better, the difference between an 89.998% and 90.032%.

From there, I would introduce descriptions of the different levels of understanding. Whether you are using a scale like Mastered, Approaching mastery, Tutoring needed, Help (M-A-T-H, if you missed that), or something more universal (4, 3, 2, 1), having clear descriptions of each level is crucial.

I might even throw in sample work that depicts each level. That would be a great experience, particularly for students. What I am currently struggling with is students differentiating between minor, non-conceptual errors and major conceptual errors. I hear things like “Oh, I just have to flip the fraction upside-down. That’s a small error,” when in reality there is a deeper misunderstanding of the concept.

Feedback on this activity? Has anyone done something like this before? If so, I’d love to hear about how you implemented it, its reception, and how you might change it if you were to do it again.


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