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  • Karma
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  • Messi created a new topic Grading Schemes by Dr. Dheeraj Sanghi in the forums.

    Grading Schemes for Evaluating Students

    It is well recognized by educationists all over the world that having evaluation in terms of discrete grades is better than giving continuous marks out of 100 (or whatever be the maximum marks). IITs and several other good quality institutes have been awarding grades for decades. Slowly, other universities in India are catching up with the practice. UGC recommends this. And even school boards are now coming around to the view that giving grades is better.

    There are two questions that arise. Better in what respect. What kind of grading pattern is to be selected, in particular, how many different grades be there in the grading scheme. Actually, the second question cannot be answered without understanding the first.

    The grades are better than marks because they reduce stress on the students. The world over, people have realized that performance metrics are extremely important for students, and they work hard to improve their measured performance. There are very few students who learn for the sake of learning. Normally, in a grading system, the students do have a sense of where they stand in a course, and therefore, what grade they can expect. They can estimate the effort they need to put in to maintain that grade, and the effort that is needed to improve the grade.

    Basically, when they are studying for marks, then every extra hour of studies before the exam, could lead to possibly a few more marks, and that pressurizes the student to study more. While in gradingsystem, a few extra hours of efforts on the last few days may not give him an improved grade, and therefore, the student can be more relaxed. He can spend more effort on courses where the chance of improving the grade is higher.

    Of course, we do want some stress on the students. We don't want them to be completely relaxed throughout the year/semester to the extent that they don't attend any classes, don't do any assignments, don't study for exams, etc. If we take the grading system to an extreme and have only two grades - Pass and Fail - there is absolutely no pressure on the student to study, and that leads to very poor performance on an average. (Many universities have tried pass/fail grades for a few courses, and have had the same result.)

    On the other hand, if we have a finer grading system, and if we consider the extreme situation of a different grade for every percentage mark (basically the good old marks scheme), then there is tremendous pressure on the student and that is not good for the learning either.

    So, we need to find a balance. What is the right balance - there is no unanimity on this, as can be seen by the diversity of grading schemes in universities of the world. But what is of concern to me is that the grading schemes get changed for wrong reasons.

    Just before I assumed the role of Director at LNMIIT Jaipur, they had decided to change the grading scheme, and many students and even faculty were not happy with that, and therefore, I had occasions to listen to lots of arguments  in favor of the older scheme. Similarly, we have gone through lots of debates on this issue at IIT Kanpur.

    Basically, students want a finer grading system. Let us look at a system where there are 5 grades - 'A', 'B', 'C', 'D', and 'F'. The students in such a system would argue that if they are missing an 'A' grade and get a 'B' grade, it is too sharp a drop. If there was an intermediate grade, call it "A-" or "AB" or whatever, it would appear better on their transcript. This is a flawed argument since the assumption behind this argument is that whoever is getting an 'A' grade in the current system will continue to get an 'A' grade in the finer system. They don't imagine that if there were a finer grade, some people from higher grade will be reduced to the intermediate grade as well. In fact, if we look at a 5-grade system on a 10 point scale, where passing grades have numerical equivalence of 4, 6, 8, and 10, and if we assume that the students will be equally divided in 4 bins, then the average CPI (or CGPA) would be 7. On the other hand, if we had finer grading system, and we had grades with numerical equivalence of each number from 4 to 10, and the number of students were equally divided into 7 bins now, the average CPI would remain 7. There have been many universities who have changed from coarse to finer grading and vice versa and have seen absolutely no change in their CPI/CGPA. So, the finer grades will only mean a slightly higher grade in a few courses, and a slightly lower grade in some other courses - with the overall impact on CPI being zero. So it really does not help the students.

    On the other hand, while students wouldn't agree - since comparing the impact of two systems on the stress levels is impossible for an individual student - the experts agree that the finer grading system would lead to greater stress - more competition amongst the students. So, each university has to consider whether their students are too stressed out, spending too much time on examination related learning - then make the grading system coarser. On the other hand, if the students seem to be taking the exams and other evaluation mechanisms too lightly, it is time to consider a finer grading system.

    At the end, I will like to point out that the grades reduce stress primarily when the student can do a trade off between the effort and the expected grade. This trade off is possible only when there is a continuous evaluation process, whereby the student can correlated the effort and performance over a period of time before the final exam. Hence having exams/quizzes/assignments/projects and other evaluations throughout the year (or semester) is important for success of grading schemes. (Continuous evaluation is anyway a good idea, even if one is not implementing any grading scheme - so that the students learn at a smooth pace throughout the year/semester, and not having to cram everything at the last minute.)

    The article is written by Dr. Dheeraj Sanghi Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Kanpur. Earlier, he was Director of LNMIIT Jaipur.

    What do you say???

    wall 1818 days ago
  • Messi created a new topic Galaxies in the forums.
    Have a look at this its osum!!!!
    wall 1821 days ago
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  • Messi created a new topic 10 Best Things To Do AFTER Failing an Exam in the forums.
    I read it somewhere and find it really funny and apt.
    After nights of restless sleep preparing and reviewing and re-reviewing (if there's such a word) for the biggest exam of your life, you find out that you didn't make it. You think you can handle it? What are you to do?

    Here are some suggestions:

    1. Review the list 3 times more.

    Just making sure you weren't too sleepy or too pre-occupied with your parents' voices echoing in your brain. Re-read the list and look for your name 3 or more times. Use 'Ctrl - F' for FIND, or do the usual layman's way, browse thru the list with your eyes wide open and your hand slowly controlling the mouse. Slowly.

    2. Breathe.

    After doing #1, and still your name doesn't magically appear in the list for your own relief and comfort, just gently let go of the mouse and the keyboard, sit back, and keep quiet. Don't react just yet, just sit still and quiet down. Breathe in, breathe out.

    3. Shout.

    After taking a breather, go ahead and belt it out. Shout to the top of your lungs, as long as you can for as loud as you want! It's your right. They'd understand. You failed, remember?

    4. Let it Flow.

    Usually, we get more emotional after voicing out our thoughts or as #3 said, after shouting and waking up all your neighbors and their dogs. So this is quite the right moment to empty all your tear bags and dump it all off. Cry. Cry aloud, quietly, or cry like a crocodile. Just cry it out.

    5. Play the emotions off.

    Look for something to play with, computer games, video games, board games, whatever games you can find, it's better if you play together with close friends or with your siblings. This will take away the memory of not being in the passers' list for a while.

    6. Watch a Funny Movie. Or tickle yourself to death.

    Yep. Watch a comedy show, or the newest funny flick. Laughing helps heal emotional wounds and a bellowing, hearty laughter will give you the exercise and energy boost you need so you'll not feel down the whole week.

    Word of advice: it's better if you find someone else to tickle you. Tickling yourself doesn't work as effectively as other people doing it to you.

    7. Forget your Diet! Eat out.

    For most people, comfort food is one of the best consolations. Chocolate for instance, increases the release of endorphins - the happy hormones. Hot foods like chilis, also trigger the same reaction.

    8. Do something or watch something scary.

    Fear, or the feeling of fear, will also help since it induces a positive mood state later on. Which, naturally and self-explanatorily (another made-up word), will make you feel better. And help you attain short-term memory loss on the results of the exam.

    9. Don't be with others like you.

    Even if you do all these, but you do it with other acquaintances who also, temporarily, did not succeed, it will all be in vain. Why? Because you cannot discount the fact that at one point or another one of you will start mentioning things about the exam, the things you endured during your review, or yet, will start moping because he/she failed. Always remember that the feeling of being down and/or pitying yourself is more contagious than chicken pox or laughter itself.

    10. Forget about it and start preparing for the next exam.

    Enough said.

    So. Can you really handle the truth? Don't you wanna do everything that's in this list? Or at least one of them? It's better than going berserk. Right?
    wall 1830 days ago
  • Messi created a new topic Google Gravity in the forums.
    wall 1830 days ago


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