How do you handle the student who does so much B-level work that they are able to earn an A (the Brute Force A)? Is that a “bad” thing?
There are two schools of thought here - the first is that it’s difficult to feel like a student should earn an A when they don’t have A-level mastery of the content, and so if we see grades as representative of skill level or content knowledge, then we need to prevent this. The alternative is that practice, especially at a task like writing, is valuable for student learning. Students who achieve As through this route have typically done a great deal more work, and learned significantly more, than they would have otherwise.
However, if you want to block this route there are a couple of methods: The first is to set high levels of competency for assessments, and that work that is determined to be below this threshold is not awarded any points. This prevents students from building up a high grade through poor work. It should be balanced by the desire to help students feel like they are making progress, so look for a way to recognize the successful work that they do complete - if we experience nothing but failure, we “check out” from an experience pretty quickly. The second option is build levels that reflect both points and competencies earned. So I might earn 600/1000 points through writing an essay, but because achieving Level 2 requires both 600 points AND for me to have earned at least a 3/5 on the “Strong Writer” objective, I won’t level up until I’ve achieved that second objective.