Grading statistics – blog period 1

Grading has finished for blogging period 1.  In this post I’ll give some information about the grade distribution, and comments.

Blogs1Here is a bar chart showing the overall grade distribution for blogging period 1.  Let me break down some of the numbers here.

  • There are 20 students in the D and F area. Almost without exception, these are students who either have posted nothing at all, or posted their initial introduction (required in Week 1) and then stopped.  Because of the best-of-three-periods algorithm that I am using for the blogs, these students still have two opportunities to succeed in this component of the course; I hope they take advantage of it.
  • Among those who did post something substantive, many did not post enough to obtain higher than a “C” grade.  For a “B”, the syllabus requirement is one post a week.  This does not seem too demanding, especially for a class without other homework assignments.
  • Many posts contained simple errors that could be eliminated by re-reading them more carefully: links that do not work, math calculations that do not yield the answer stated, mistakes about units (confusing dollars with cents was surprisingly common – let’s hope students don’t do that in real life!)
  • A quality post does not just contain numbers, but uses quantitative reasoning to advance an argument.  A good way to do this is to make comparisons between different scenarios.  Sarah’s sample post is a good example of this.
  • It was interesting to see so many posts that tried to evaluate some “sustainability”-related change (should I use bottled water?/buy a hybrid car?) in financial terms alone.  Sometimes the “sustainable” approach will save money, sometimes it may not.  I would have liked to see more discussion of the trade-offs that are inevitable in such decisions – I sometimes got the impression that the financial bottom line was going to settle everything.
  • Even in the best posts there was room for improvement in presentation, argument and referencing.  I will be glad to talk in office hours with anyone who wants help working on their blogging skills or crafting a quality post.


Leave a Reply