Out of Proportion

Over the years I tried different marking schemes and procedures. Nearing the end of my career I think I finally settled upon a system that made sense – to me anyway. One of my consistencies, however, was that I would tell students that if they were ever unhappy with a mark received, to come and see me. If I couldn’t explain to them how I derived that mark I would given them a higher one.

A few years before I retired, a student approached me after class and expressed concern regarding an assignment. It was for a 200 word report and I had given him a 4 out of 5.

Mr. Caines, may I talk to you about this mark?”

Certainly, do you feel it is worth a higher grade?”

No, I am OK with how you marked it but I am concerned that it is only out of 5. I did a lot of work on it.”

I see. How about I give you an 8 out of 10?”

You would do that for me?”

I’d be happy to.”

I then crossed out the 4/5 and wrote 8/10 on his paper. He thanked me and was on his way.

For the record, I was his chemistry teacher, not his math teacher.

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