Thursday, May 24, 2012

Help Students Calculate The Grades They Need To Pass

This is an end-of-year activity for any subject, although your students will need to be able to do at least a little basic algebra to complete it: calculating exactly what they need to pass the semester and for the year overall.

Perhaps this is a sad statement on my performance this year, but it looks like a little less than half of my students are either likely to fail or could go either way depending on this last grading period and their semester exam grades.  Thus it was especially important for them to know the minimum grades they would need to earn for the last six-week grading period and the semester exam to pass.

The graphic organizer below asked them to look up their grades for Semester 1 and the two grading periods we've completed so far on our online system.  Then, I gave them the two equations needed to calculate the minimum average they needed.

Your situation in terms of grading periods, exams and policies might be different, so of course you will need to make several edits.***

Why this needs to be so complicated, I do not know.  If you have a better or different way of accomplishing the same thing, please share it in the comments.

***In our case, we have six grading periods and two semester exams that all count equally (thus 70 x 8 = 560 for the year).  Our minimum passing grade is a 70.  Students who average a 70 for the year, even if they failed one of the semesters, get the full credit for the year.  So while students who failed the first semester might need a certain grade to pass the second semester and get half credit, a higher grade is likely needed to get the full year's credit.  The 2x is used instead of x because there are two equally important grades left: the last grading period and the semester exam.