[Smt-talk] criterion-referenced grading

Brian Hoffman hoffmaba at gmail.com
Tue Mar 13 08:48:04 PDT 2012

While I like this in principle, it leaves me with a couple of questions
based on the type of students I've encountered:

1. With a point system out of 4, a student's options for passing are 75% or
100%.  It seems as though this has the potential of taking traditional B
students and making them C students through the type of math you're trying
to avoid. (E.g., a student that would get a lot of 83s in traditional
grading would not likely be strong enough to deserve the highest 4/4
mastery of an area. So, lots of 3/4's takes that B down to a C).

2. If you are mostly concerned with a student's level at the end of the
course (which makes sense), how do you treat the student that doesn't come
to class very often or turn in assignments, but at the end of the semester
is able to exhibit a passing (or higher) ability in each of the

For better or worse, I have always tried to favor the effort categories
(homework/attendance) slightly over the performance categories
(midterm/final) so that a student that shows up every day and does his/her
homework consistently can get a high C/low B despite comprehension
problems. Alternately, a student that has the ability to not do much work
but still do very well on tests is penalized for not doing the full work
required of the class. I accommodate positive changes in performance by
weighting later assessments more than earlier ones.

Thank you for sharing this,

Brian Hoffman, Ph.D.

Adjunct faculty,
Miami, OH

On Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 8:37 PM, Kris Shaffer <kshaffer at csuniv.edu> wrote:

> Dear Colleagues,
> I've incorporated a form of criterion-referenced grading this semester for
> my theory and aural skills courses, and so far it seems to be an
> improvement from the traditional weighted-average approach. I wrote a blog
> post about what we're doing and things I've observed as a result. If you're
> interested in reading about what we're doing at CSU, or have experiences
> (positive or negative) with criterion-referenced grading, please visit the
> post and consider leaving a comment:
> http://kris.shaffermusic.com/wordpress/criterion-referenced-grading/.
> I'm anxious to hear from others who have tried criterion-referenced
> grading, or some aspects of it, in music courses. Everything I've been able
> to find to read about it so far has been from other fields. (Though a
> couple aspects of what I've instituted were inspired by the way things were
> done when I was studying music at Lawrence and Yale.)
> Best,
> Kris Shaffer, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor of Music Theory
> Charleston Southern University
> http://kris.shaffermusic.com
> twitter: @krisshaffer
> _______________________________________________
> Smt-talk mailing list
> Smt-talk at lists.societymusictheory.org
> http://lists.societymusictheory.org/listinfo.cgi/smt-talk-societymusictheory.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.societymusictheory.org/pipermail/smt-talk-societymusictheory.org/attachments/20120313/d7101fab/attachment-0004.htm>

More information about the Smt-talk mailing list