The stakes of grading practices are not limited to student failure. When grading policies improve, discipline and morale almost always follow. For example, Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, achieved a remarkable reduction in course failures through focused attention on improved feedback and intervention for students (Reeves, 2006). I recently checked in with the school, and Principal Joel McKinney reported that the success of this challenging urban school (74 percent free and reduced-price lunch, high mobility, and increasing numbers of English language learners) did not stop with reducing 9th and 10th grade failures. As of fall 2007, enrollment in advanced placement classes had increased 32 percent; suspensions had declined 67 percent; elective opportunities in music, art, and technology had increased; class cuts and tardiness had fallen significantly; teacher morale and school climate had noticeably improved—and the course failure rate had continued to decline (personal communication, December 5, 2007). When schools take steps to reduce failures, lots of good things happen.

Sure, this quashes the shallow pretense of expecting undergraduates to engage in thoughtful analysis, but they have already proven that they will go to any lengths to avoid doing this. Call me a defeatist, but honestly I’d be happy if a plurality of American college students could discern even the skeletal plot of anything they were assigned. With more exams and no papers, they’ll at least have a shot at retaining, just for a short while, the basic facts of some of the greatest stories ever recorded. In that short while, they may even develop the tiniest inkling of what Martha Nussbaum calls “sympathetic imagination”—the cultivation of our own humanity, and something that unfolds when we’re touched by stories of people who are very much unlike us. And that, frankly, is more than any essay will ever do for them.

Several systems are in use in different educational institutions in Finland . The "school grade" system has historically been a scale of 0 to 10, but all grades lower than 4 have been discarded. Thus, it is now divided between 4, the failing grade, and 5–10, the succeeding grades. Upper secondary school has same grades for courses and course exams as comprehensive school but matriculation examination grades are in Latin. Universities and vocational institutions use a scale of 0 (fail) and 1–5 (pass), or fail/pass. Some schools . Savon Ammatti- ja Aikuisopisto, uses grading from 0 (fail) and 1-3 (pass). The professor selects which grading scheme is used; short, optional courses typically have pass/fail grades.

Working with Unknown Point Totals

Sometimes you need to have a category (in this case "Homework") where you don't know in advance how many points you will give during the semester. Here is the trick: You simply take the percentage of possible points the student earns, then convert that to a point total; it is easiest if the point total is something simple like 50 or 100. In the Homework example above—50 points possible—Johnny earns 45 out of 65 homework points. That equals 69% of the possible points—69/100 or 35/50 points. So Johnny gets 35 points in that odd category. Pretty simple math if you keep a point total like 50 or 100.

Working with Unknown Point Totals

Sometimes you need to have a category (in this case "Homework") where you don't know in advance how many points you will give during the semester. Here is the trick: You simply take the percentage of possible points the student earns, then convert that to a point total; it is easiest if the point total is something simple like 50 or 100. In the Homework example above—50 points possible—Johnny earns 45 out of 65 homework points. That equals 69% of the possible points—69/100 or 35/50 points. So Johnny gets 35 points in that odd category. Pretty simple math if you keep a point total like 50 or 100.