HomeQ&ATranslating grades from Venezuela, anybody from Venezuela around?

Translating grades from Venezuela, anybody from Venezuela around?

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I am a new Spanish teacher and I am translating the grades and courses for our Venezuelan exchange student so that he may send then to a local college here in the U.S. My challenge is with the grading system. A 20 in Venezuela is the equivalent of a 100 here in the U.S. My first instinct is to simply divided the grade received by 20 in order to come up with a percentile. I'm not sure if this would be correct. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

9181 views
updated JUN 2, 2009
posted by Kathleen

17 Answers

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I have been working with a representative from the university. It seems that they have an "International Studies" department and a computer program that "translates" grades. Who would have thought? I'm off the hook! I'd like to thank everyone for their ideas, opinions and suggestions.

updated JUN 2, 2009
posted by Kathleen
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In line with what Quentin said, when contacting the/a school in Venezuela, you should ask what is the median score of students who advance to next level (and, perhaps, what is the lowest acceptable score).

Without getting into a lesson on statistics there are simple ways to normalize scores based on normal distribution curves, standard deviation, etc. What I fear is going to happen is that the curve is going to be skewed one way or the other. Either the students will be represented as being better prepared than they are or to be shown as less competent than they actually are. Both conditions can lead to disasters.
I bow to the wisdom of experienced teachers (Heidita), however. I realize that the impact of grades vary in different school systems and variables like students age, grade, etc. have to be considered.
On the elementary level grades sometimes aren't as important as the child's social development and comportment. For years there was a push to remove the effects of grading by just using satisfactory/unsatisfactory (used mainly to distinguish learning problems).
From you later comments, though, I believe that you understand the problem and know the concept of the solution. Without having to learn statistical methods the crudest approximations is to find a common method of assessment.
I grew up on a mixture of percentile and the ABCDF method of grading. Find out from Venezuelans what is an A=excellent student on the 20 point system. Find out what is the percentile range for an A=excellent student at the school system that you are transferring the grades to and assign the A=excellent student a score within that range. That is a crude method of normalizing a score, but far more fair than what you will achieve with simple arithmetic.

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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Scores can be rather confusing. In Spain we score:

9-10 sobresaliente
7-8 notable
6 bien
5 aprobado
0-4.9 suspenso

I think it is in Italy, where the score is : 1 the best, 6 the worst. Confusing.

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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In line with what Quentin said, when contacting the/a school in Venezuela, you should ask what is the median score of students who advance to next level (and, perhaps, what is the lowest acceptable score).

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by samdie
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HI Kathleen, I am a teacher too and think you are doing this very well.

I have moved your thread to see if we get somebody to see if who is from Venezuela.

Good luck. smile

Welcome to the forum smile

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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You're absolutely correct. And that is why I am questioning my rationalization. Hopefully, I will hear from a teacher on this site. I am going to attempt to contact the school in Venezuela and the State University here in the U.S. to which the grades are going to be sent. In the meantime I'm simply going to translate the class names. The grades are too important to be dealt with lightly, or by someone inexperienced. Thank you for your response.

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by Kathleen
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Your formula for converting grades may be mathematically sound, but may be entirely unfair to the student.

Here in the US when the grading scale of 100 points is used most students are required to obtain at least 70% to be considered as having retained enough skill to move on to a higher level. Without breaking down the meaning of the percentiles above 70% let's just deal with that concept.
Suppose that where the 20 point system is used that getting a score of 12 is considered having retained enough knowledge to move on to the next level.
That 12 points out of 20 would be 60% on a 100 point system and the student would not have achieved a level to progress to the next level.
You cannot use simple arithmetic to convert grades. From the question itself I have to assume that if I started talking about bell shaped distribution curves and normalizing scores that I would not be understood. If you have to look up the meaning of a standard deviation then you should not be involved in converting grades.

I don't mean to sound callous, but the work that you are attempting may be very important and should not be done by someone not experienced in the endeavor. We have several teachers here on this site. PLEASE, wait for their input.

Sorry, Duy. I hadn't read your post. We seem to be in agreement on the weakness of using simple arithmetic.

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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I can't delete my duplicate posts

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by duy
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That's the missing link. I need to know Venezuela's interpretation of average, excellent..etc.. Thanks

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by Kathleen
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I am a new Spanish teacher and I am translating the grades and courses for our Venezuelan exchange student so that he may send then to a local college here in the U.S. My challenge is with the grading system. A 20 in Venezuela is the equivalent of a 100 here in the U.S. My first instinct is to simply divided the grade received by 20 in order to come up with a percentile. I'm not sure if this would be correct. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

This should work. Multiple by 5 seems to work too.

Though you need to find out which percentile(in Venezuela) is considered average, good, and excellent. For example, a 60% might be considered an average work, in this case, it's a C.

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by duy
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I am a new Spanish teacher and I am translating the grades and courses for our Venezuelan exchange student so that he may send then to a local college here in the U.S. My challenge is with the grading system. A 20 in Venezuela is the equivalent of a 100 here in the U.S. My first instinct is to simply divided the grade received by 20 in order to come up with a percentile. I'm not sure if this would be correct. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

This should work. Multiple by 5 seems to work too.

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by duy
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I can't change his official grades from his school in Venezuela. I'll just multiply them.

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by Kathleen
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Well, then just throw in a five point bonus for the benefit of the doubt. Only you can be the judge of that since you may have additional details to consider.

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by 00b83c38
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This isn't a test score, it is the score for the entire year. Would you still do the same?

Why not? The math would still be the same. Wouldn't it'

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by 00b83c38
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I guess that is my question. Is it going to give me the true grade or am I missing something. My first thought is to do exactly as you had stated, but it seemed too obvious. I want to make sure I have crossed all my "t's" and dotted all my "i's".

updated MAY 25, 2009
posted by Kathleen
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