[edit: throughout this post, I am talking about weighting assessments within a standard, not about weighting different standards]
Sarah asked if ActiveGrade will support weighting different assessments different amounts. A this-assessment-is-worth-twice-as-much-as-this-one kind of thing.
Here’s my thing: I already feel pretty weird when I give an assessment and say, “I can tell from this that you understand about 80% of how to find the roots of a quadratic polynomial.” Right? We have to accept that the most we can say is, “on this problem you did about 80% of what the solution required.” We can’t know what our students know – all we get is evidence about what they know. Descartes & Plato, right? I know: deep.
So when I’m already admitting that my assessment is only a grave-rubbing of my students’ actual understanding, and that I can’t know both my student’s skill level and his velocity, I feel a little sheepish saying that one of my assessments is more accurate than another. When I give an assessment, I’ve got to be willing to stand behind it as a valid measurement. Calling assessment B twice as valid feels like calling assessment A half as valid.
On the other hand, shouldn’t final exams be worth more? Big projects? It’s not too hard to find ways that a carefully thought-out paper might be better evidence than a pop quiz, but maybe that just shows that we shouldn’t give pop quizzes. Of course, you can also show why a pop quiz might be better evidence than a paper.
So, I’m conflicted. Those of you who weight different assessments differently: how do you decide what the weights are? Those of you who don’t: what problems do you run in to?