This reminded me of something I've been ruminating on for awhile. If you have a class with regular assignments throughout, what's the best way to weight the assignments with respect to time?
Most of the classes I've taken as a student follow a roughly constant curve; each homework is about as heavily weighted as any other, with occasional (seemingly random) spikes for large assignments, plus of course a heavier weighting on the mid-term and final.
On the other hand, most games I've played (especially boardgames) follow an increasing curve; early victories or setbacks are small, later ones are more important. This is great for games, because it keeps players interested to the very end. Also, players will know that even if they start out poorly, they can come from behind to win if they do particularly well in the endgame, so no one loses hope. Would this progression be worthwhile in a (game-like) classroom?
- Students given incentive to try harder in the last half of the course rather than drop.
- Early assignments are safe experiences, where students can learn my grading style without huge risk.
- If every class did this, students would have too little work to do early in the semester, and be overloaded as finals approach.
- Puts too much emphasis on the last half of the course, so may only be suitable for classes that build on earlier topics, rather than "survey" classes that cover a variety of unrelated material.
So, what's your opinion? Constant weighting, or progressive increasing? Or is there some other method that might work even better that I haven't considered?