Grading Students With the Gap System and a Gradebook

Grading students is about evaluating how much each student has learnt in a course. While it is possible to debate the merits of measuring and grading student performance and how this should be done, it is an important part of a teacher’s role in a schooling system. The focus of this article is explaining one system for converting numerical results into alphabetical grades.In a typical school course the papers, assignments and exams that make up the assessable tasks, i.e. those tasks that directly contribute to each students final result and grade, are given a numerical score that is a measure of how well the task was completed. These numerical results may be converted to letter grades for each task, or are finally combined into a single total that is then converted to a grade.Different grading systemsGoing back a few decades this combining of results needed to be done by hand or with an electronic calculator. Now using a spreadsheet or gradebook program on your PC is a faster and more accurate way to do this sort of work with student results. But independently of the tool that you use to add results and assign grades, you still need to have a system, i.e. a method, to follow in deciding who gets an A or a B and so on. Generally, there are two broad approaches that you can follow. One is a norm based system and the other is criterion based.A norm based system assumes that in a group of typical students, the results will tend to follow a normal distribution. What this means is that most of the student results will tend to be grouped around some middle point with the number of students getting higher and lower scores being much less. You may have heard of the “bell shaped curve” which is what you see if you plot a chart with a set of results that follow a normal distribution. With a norm based system the grade for each student is affected by the performance of all the other students in the course.Whereas a criterion based system assumes that there is an objective measure of the content in a course, and the grade assigned to each student is based on how much of that content has been learned. With this type of system each student grade is independent of all the other students in the course and instead based on a measure of how competent the students are in the knowledge and skills that they are expected to learn.Which type of system is best? There is no right answer to that question and both systems have strengths which vary depending on the type of course and the students being graded. For example, a norm based system is harder to apply and justify if the number of students in a course is small. This is because with a small number of students the results may be less likely to follow the classic bell shaped curve. But that doesn’t mean that a norm based system should always be avoided – it all depends. The grading system that you are comfortable using may depend on your philosophy of teaching and learning. Sometimes you may not have a choice as the grading methods may be dictated by your faculty, school, or education department.The gap systemIn the remainder of this article you will be introduced to the gap system that is neither norm based nor criterion based. Like the norm based system, grades are assigned based on the relative performance of the students, but the gap system does not assume a normal distribution or a bell shaped curve if the results were plotted on a chart. The gap system can also be successfully used with a small number of students. One other advantage of the gap system is that it is simple to understand and does not require seemingly arbitrary statistical methods that can be difficult to explain.To apply the gap system all the scores for the students are sorted from top to bottom and you then examine the list looking for gaps in the results. Then based on the gaps and your judgment you can set the cut-off point for each grade. In other words, where there is a gap the cut-off mark is set in that gap. Because the minimum result needed for each grade is distinct and separated from the next group of students you do not get the situation where students who may differ by a single point get different grades.With a gradebookUsing a gradebook program to assign grades with the gap system should be straightforward and easy to apply. Using The Gradebook Program as an example, the process below assumes that you have a column that has the final student results. If you are using a different gradebook program then you will need to translate the actions done here into your program. The sample gradebook data included with The Gradebook Program includes columns with results in case you want to experiment with the gap system without having to type in results yourself.Once you have a gradebook open with results that need to be converted to grades, the first step is to have some way of examining the results so the gaps are made obvious. One way to do this, which can be done in any gradebook program, or in a spreadsheet such as MS Excel or Open Office Calc is to sort the cells in the column of results. In The Gradebook Program put the cursor in the column of results and choose the Numerically by column command in the Tools, Sort students menu. In a spreadsheet you could highlight the column and choose the Sort command, which will vary depending on the program you are using.With the sorted results you then need to start looking for gaps. Depending on your grading philosophy you may already have an idea of how many of each grade can be given. This may guide you as to where to look for gaps, or you may not have pre-determined requirements and the number of each grade will be influenced by which the gaps you think fairly discriminate between different levels of performance.While avoiding a printout to save paper is good for the environment, you may find that using the print command of your gradebook and having the results in front of you makes analyzing the results easier. Being able to draw lines and make notes as you figure out the groupings can be easier with pen and paper than scrolling up and down on screen.If you are using The Gradebook Program there is an easier way of discovering the gaps than a sorted list of results. By graphing the result distribution with the Distribution command in the Print, Graphs menu what you are looking for are gaps in the chart – which are made more obvious by the white space in the graph.Professional judgment requiredRegardless of the method you use to discover the gaps, once you have the cut-off point for each of the grades you can then use them when assigning the grades, either by hand or with your preferred grading tool. Before finishing there is one unanswered question: how does the gap system work if there are no clear gaps in the results?In that case the gap system may not be the most appropriate way of assigning the grades. If there are gaps, but not enough for the number of different grades, then you can use the gaps that do exist and look for points where there may only be a single student and that point can then be used in lieu of a clear gap. It is important to remember as mentioned at the beginning that there is no single “best” grading system and as a teacher there will be times when you need to use your professional judgment as to what the final grades will be.References: Testing and Grading: Evaluating and Grading Students by Marilla D. Svinicki, The University of Texas at Austin.

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Have You Considered a Managed Health Care Plan Lately?

Managed health care plans are a variation from traditional private medical insurance plans like indemnity health insurance. Managed care was first tried in the United States on a large scale about 20 years ago. The advantage to these plans is that they are structured to keep provider costs under control which results in more predictable and less out of pocket costs for plan members to receive medical services.It helps to understand the basis for how doctors, hospitals and other medical service providers get paid in the United States in order to understand why and how managed care plans evolved and will continue to evolve. Medical care in the United States is a fee for service arrangement between patients and doctors. Doctors provide specific health services like yearly checkups or treatment for minor aches or ailments for routine care and oversee hospitalization and treatment for more serious illnesses or medical conditions. Patients pay fees to the doctor, hospital and other medical service providers for each of these services.A traditional indemnity plan is based on reimbursing a portion of the fees, usually 80%, that a patient pays for medical services. Usually, a doctor or hospital will bill the indemnity insurance for their portion of the charges first and then bill the patient for the remaining amount to pay. For many people, indemnity insurance can leave them under insured, meaning these people have a hard time paying 20% of medical service charges in addition to having to meet a health insurance deductible at 100% of the charges before the insurance starts paying anything for services billed.Managed care plans can be a better option for people that are under insured when using an indemnity plan. These plans work with medical service providers like doctors and hospitals to agree in advance the fees that will be paid for specific medical services. In turn, members that use these plans agree to give up flexibility of choice and choose a doctor or hospital from within the network of providers approved by the plan. Plan members might also pay a higher premium. In exchange for this, members usually only owe a fixed dollar amount copay for routine medical services with no or a lower health insurance deductible.In summary, managed care plans can provide more predictable and lower out of pocket costs for those people that find themselves under insured with other types of private health insurance. What you give up in flexibility of choice in your doctor or hospital, you can gain with more financial piece of mind when planning how to pay for your health care expenses.

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Senior Health Care Insurance – Sourcing The Right Plan

As people reach their senior years the task of protecting assets and putting in place the appropriate legal, financial and health coverage can be quite confusing and somewhat daunting. As people reach their senior years the task of protecting assets and putting in place the appropriate legal, financial and health insurance coverage can be quite confusing and somewhat daunting. One of the most complicated matters that is required to be addressed is that of putting in place an appropriate senior health care insurance plan. As such it is vitally important to recognize that there are quite a number of options that should be considered when it comes to this specialized type of insurance. However, once the required information is obtained it makes the job of selecting the appropriate senior health care insurance plan a much simpler task.The Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program is one resource that you definitely should take advantage of before you choose any senior health care insurance plan. This program will ensure all your questions regarding Medicare supplements, Medicare prescription drug plans, long-term care insurance and other important matters are adequately answered. Armed with this information you will be in a much better position to decide on the best options for your particular circumstancesWhen you start to select a senior health care insurance plan, the first thing you need to do is to actually work out what the available options are and which ones will best suit your needs. It is strongly recommended that you make contact with providers of senior health care insurance. You can call them by phone or check out their websites or even go through the Better Business Bureau. The important questions you should address are:* How long has each insurance company been in business?* How reputable are they?* What types of plans are they offering?The next step is to obtain premium or contribution quotes. You typically do not have to pay to get quotes. This information is definitely going to be a major influence in your decision as to which senior health care insurance arrangement you take-up. There are a multitude of plans available for almost every level of health, whether your health is at a premium or if there are existing or potential health concerns. As you are no doubt aware, senior health care can be very expensive but is a much safer option than not buying insurance at all.With the protection afforded by senior health care insurance you are effectively capping the cost of any medical treatment you may require in the future and by doing so you are also ensuring that you, or your supporting family, will not experience any serious financial trouble in funding any urgent or costly long term medical attention.The most important aspect of organizing comprehensive and effective senior health care insurance is that you can rest assured that should you become seriously ill then you will be afforded the very best of medical attention, notwithstanding the massive expense this involves. So if you or your parents are approaching the time to obtain senior health care insurance then please remember you must investigate all options available to you so that you are adequately protected well into the future.

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Commercial Mortgage Financing – Types That Are Available Today

If you have ever wanted to know what the different types of Commercial Mortgage Financing are available…there are many. Each type refers to different types of properties and verification methods. Not all Commercial Lenders offer all types of Business Investment Services so be aware and get a good Commercial Finance Broker and they will be able to set you up with the appropriate Commercial Property Financing that fits your needs,Apartments – These can be solid investment opportunities. Apartments are generally a great form of security for a Apartment Loan Company. So long as the property is managed well, apartment buildings will serve as a long term positive cash flow as well as generate equity as time passesHealth Care Facilities – A Commercial Mortgage can also be used to finance health care facilities. Commercial Investment Services like this type of investment for two strong reasons.  First, you are investing in a conventional business that is experiencing an incline in popularity as well customer base. Secondly, as with most real estate,  an investment in land and facilities will appreciate over time, regardless of temporary market fluctuations, which will create equity for you. Purchasing of building this type of property and business is very attainable when you see just how available a Business Property Loans really are.Industrial – Most traditional Commercial Lending institutions have programs for Industrial properties which will permit investment in industrial properties. Reason being is that investments in industrial property is generally a solid investment as there will always be a need for industrial space, regardless of the up and downs in the market.Manufacturing – Companies looking to expand by increasing your manufacturing capacity may find that a Commercial Mortgage may be the way to accomplish this. An Industrial Mortgage can help to finance the growth of your manufacturing facilities and thereby increase your business in the process.Warehouse – Most companies can not continue to grow and be thriving without increased capacity for inventory. Should you find your business is ready to do just that… take it to the next level…a Commercial Mortgage may be just what you need. Several large Commercial Lending firms have Warehouse Mortgage Services designed to finance your warehouse expansion, so with that said, don’t procrastinate or hesitate to contact your Commercial Loan Broker today for your planned expansion.Retail Structures – Building or buying a store? Retailers need financing to, increase their exposure and generate new business as well as maintain the business they have.  Retailers use Retail Investment Mortgage Financing when they are ready to fund projects as well. Office Complexes – One of the best rental opportunities is Office Parks and Office Buildings as they are less likely to be vacant as that of retail space. And yes, they are also users of Commercial Mortgage FinancingI am sure you see the trend here…Commercial Mortgage Financing can be used in practically any industry for any kind of commercial property. Speak with your Business Finance Broker when you are ready to invest in a Commercial Real Estate opportunity.

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4 Commercial Mortgages Guidelines You Should Follow

Commercial mortgages are the loans that are taken by people who are in business for various reasons. The mortgage loan might be taken either to buy a business premise, to extend the existing premise, for commercial and also residential investment or even to develop the property. There are different types of commercial mortgages. For instance, you can take the loan and buy a business unit or you can use the business building as your security for your loan.CORRECT FORM FILLING
However, before you apply for the mortgage, there are some guidelines that you should follow. For the loan to be approved, you need to be thorough in the things that you do.Make sure that you fill the application form wisely. The bank or the institution have very tight rules and regulations and may disqualify you for very minor details. When you have your form in hand, you should look for a broker to assist you in the application. There are some terms that might be very complex such that you do not understand them. Do not fill things in the form that you do not understand. Ask for help from experienced professionals.WISE MANAGEMENT
Make sure that you use the loan wisely.. Do not use the cash on things that are very unnecessary. If your loan is for business purpose, make sure that you manage the loan wisely and leave aside some of the loan advance to help expand your business. Make sure you plan to repay your loan quickly so that you can succeed in your business and not be bogged down with long term loan repayment.COMPARE INTEREST RATES
Make sure that you approach a bank that has favourable interest rates. Different banks have different interest rates so you should make sure that the bank that you go to has rates that you are happy with. Ask the bank’s existing customers if they are satisfied with the bank’s services. You should also get a professional such as a property lawyer to check the terms and conditions of the loan and mortgage documents before you commit yourself.AFFORDABILITY
You should also take a commercial loan that you know you are in the position to repay. Do not over-commit yourself knowing that that you cannot pay it back. As much as you need to buy or expand that business, take a reasonable amount of money that you can service. It is good to talk to a lot of people before you borrow money for your business or commercial property purchase. The broker that you choose should be able to advice you accordingly in view of your financial circumstances.Follow these guidelines to help you determine if you should apply for a commercial loan.

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