Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Update on Grading Methods

A long time ago I was thinking about different ways to grade a class. For the intro class, Game Industry Survey, I ultimately decided on scoring out of 1,000,000 points -- it's more accessible, and any given assignment feels uplifting even if you only got 50% (which most students don't, since it's not supposed to be a difficult class). It served its purpose: it amused the class on the first day and set the stage for this being more about fun and learning than traditional skill-and-drill.

In the interest of science, I decided to use the Zelda Heart method for my Game Design Workshop-like class this Winter. The students are already (mostly) familiar with me as a teacher, they're ready to take a step towards being a game designer, so I wondered if they'd be more open to alternate grading styles. So far, the reaction is very positive; students chuckled when they saw a "life meter" on the last page of the syllabus, and they realized (without me having to point it out) that turning in assignments late amounted to "poison damage". So far this seems to be working... at least for an advanced class.

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