# How to evaluate students in a "do all you can" exercise?

Imagine a math problem that consists in doing all sum operations you can in 2 minutes.

And then imagine these are the correct operations each student has done (each list entry represents a different student, it is ordered to keep it simple):

1. 4 correct
2. 7 correct
3. 10 correct
4. 11 correct
5. 12 correct
6. 12 correct
7. 15 correct
8. 15 correct
9. 17 correct
10. 22 correct

One way of evaluating it would be based on the overall students performance (maybe < 10 not passed, > 16 excellent). But I don't see fair evaluating a student based on another student performance.

Another way I though would be to set each "milestone" myself. For example > 6 passed, > 18 excellent but I was not the test author and students didn't know about that "milestones".

So, do you have any idea of what could be a fair option to evaluate students in an exercise of this kind? (It is a real case.)

Thanks!

• Doing timed meaningless "sum operations" is a pretty stupid exercise by itself, given by teachers who cannot do better. "Evaluating a student based on another student performance" is considered normal practice in many an American college and is called grading on a curve. I personally think this practice is evil and again, is used by teachers who are not sure what their students should and should not know. Commented Mar 18, 2020 at 5:17

You should try to have a feel for what level of skill you want. Now, this is not an easy problem. Much more exploratory and Bayesian. (But actual teaching/pedagogy is different than Euclidean if-then logic of math itself.) There are ways to estimate this. Previous class performance. What you think they need for the next lesson or year. Your own performance. Or the excellent suggestion of having another teacher try the task (could just try a few numerate, but non teacher adults also).

It would help a bit if you told us what sorts of addition, you gave. But assuming they were no longer than two digit problems, I would say something like 20 is reasonable. Kids can learn speed at easy operations. But first try it yourself and see how fast you can do it. Just the act of actually doing the test will give you insights, different than purely observing.