A chemical approach to grading student assignments

With the Periodic Table celebrating its 141st birthday this week,  I had an idea for grading student work – e.g. class tests and lab reports, which would build the learning experience even into understanding their grade.

Instead of giving a mark (between 1-100, or 1-50, say), one could give the element symbol whose atomic number corresponds to the grade.  So someone getting 100% would be awarded Fm, and a gold (Au) grade would correspond to 79%; good, but not as good as uranium (92).  A pass mark of 40% would get Zr, etc.

This would mean the students always needed to have a Periodic Table with them, and after a while, some association between elements and atomic numbers might sink in!

Like Mendeleev, I did consider using atomic masses, but the issue of isotopes would make this too confusing.

How to deal with half marks? Well, maybe you could write something like Cd+1/2 for 48.5%. I toyed with the idea of a ‘+’ sign, but then we get confusion with ions …

Yes, I know this sounds mad, but it is Friday, and it seemed too mad an idea not to share!

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2 thoughts on “A chemical approach to grading student assignments”

  1. Mad Fridays well we all have them, I suspect that many chemistry undegrads are completely unaware of relative masses and atomic numbers beyond the first 20 elements therefore anything beyond calcium would be confusing!

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