Point-Based Grading Systems: Benefits and Liabilities By: Maryellen Weimer, PhD

After reading this article from Faculty Focus, I can’t disagree more with Ms. Weimer on the benefits of point-based grading systems. Well I disagree with her reasoning on the liabilities of it.

In our world of pass/fail in schools, I think students LOVE it when they receive a number grade on something. If I tell one of my students that they received a B on a project, they would most likely cock their head sideways. If I said they received a 78 out of 100, they would either be happy or indifferent.

In welding, everything is point-based, and there is no way to get more marks then what the student does to get it. We have rubrics for everything that we do, and if the students complies to them they are able to get a 100 or less if there are deficiencies. Its pretty cut and dry and there is no “grubbing” for marks. I am sure that in other programs this is completely viable.

The other benefit is that if a student needs a mark here or there to make it through certain sections in the course they are there to take. I would be at a loss if our marking system was changed to that of a pass/fail system. It would make it extremely difficult to decide, and for those who worked way more then other students and only “passed” they may feel differently about the way they were graded. I took the issue to my class today and they responded with wanting to use the point-based system because they like the separation it gives them between their fellow students. Some students work for a pass and some work for perfection. There simply needs to be that distinction.



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