Grading Policies

I was wondering how everyone approaches grading for AP CSA using the curriculum. I use the site for AP CS Principles and have figured out a good system to where their marking period grades ultimately wound up matching what they got on the AP exam. I wasn’t as successful on my first go around with AP CSA, so I’m looking for some guidance. Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated! Thank you!

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Hi @tedesco.michael, thanks for bringing up this topic as I’m sure many teachers are thinking about this too.

I’m curious as to what you meant by:

What are the period grades you are referring to?

While I am constantly trying to find grading systems that benefit students while also reflecting their current level of knowledge I am bound by my district, school, and department grading policies. I have to use a 20% / 80% split on my students overall grade using formative / summative assignments respectively. I modify the project rubrics provides to have point values and use these projects as well as the multiple choice tests as summative grades.

Thanks again for bringing this up and I hope others share their thoughts and strategies.

Hey Sam – essentially what they got throughout the year in AP CS Principles ultimately reflected the grade they got on their AP exam. A student that consistently scored in the 90s throughout the year for the four marking periods almost all got 4’s and 5’s. Students that didn’t put a lot of effort in and averaged around a 70-75% mostly got 1’s and 2’s.

Oh got it. I also like to have the students class grade reflect what they receive on the AP Test. Knowing that I have the 20% / 80% for (formative) assignments and (summative)projects/ tests respectively here is what I generally use for grades:

Formative assignments, I use Java studio lessons and activity guides for completion grades. The extra practice worksheets I turn into quizzes.

Summative assignments are the end of unit projects, multiple choice test, and free response questions. I generally collaborate with other teachers in my district to create a free response question for the test day that is different than the free response question has in their curriculum. I try to make point values for the project and test the same. The test is 50% multiple choice, 50% free response.

I would love to hear others’ grading practices. I would not say that mine is perfect but it is working.

Hi Michael, Sam and all who are still trying for a better grading policy,

I agree that figuring out how to get a grade in for students in a way that is fair, consistent with what students have actually learned, and doesn’t drive the teacher crazy with extra work is tough! I try to have low points completion grade checks for in class work including the Coding levels and activity guides we do. I allow students to use their notes guides on quizzes and on tests to encourage good note taking, and I encourage students to look back and add to their notes as they study for quizzes and tests.

Like Sam, I create some sort of a Free Response for each assessment that has students writing code by hand. I have found that since students must write code by hand on the AP exam, it is important to include practice with this early and often. I sometimes create the FRQ’s by changing the ones we have done in the curriculum a bit, or as we get closer to the AP exam I pick questions from the college board site.

I have also found that many of my students who earn C’s in class don’t pass the AP exam. I try to remember that the score I give for the year’s worth of work might not exactly line up with one day’s assessment. I think success on the AP exam requires reading comprehension skills and focus that some students don’t yet have-- Some students can earn a passing grade in class and not be ready to pass a 3 hour test that is as intense as the AP exam is.

How are others grading? What do you all see as you look at your grades in class and compare them to the AP scores?


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