Life in the Universe
Prof. Richard Pogge, MTWThF 12:30
This example uses representative data from the Astronomy 161 class I taught Winter Quarter 2004, and is meant as a worked illustration of the grading process I follow for all of my introductory classes (Ast 161, 162, and 141).
Please keep in mind, however, that this is an example - every class uses the same basic procedure, but are each a little different in detail (e.g., number of exams/homework, relative weighting, etc.). Trying to using the data here to estimate or predict your grade on your own will usually lead to an erroneus or misleading result.
I compute your overall course grade by converting the scores on the exams and the homework into a grade-point score on the OSU 4-point grading scale, and then combining these grade-point scores to compute the final grade and generate a letter grade.
The divisions between A, B, C, etc. for each of the grade curves define the "break points" of the conversion. Note that this is not a simple percentage conversion (for example, I do not use 90%=A, 80%=B and so forth), nor is the conversion between a test score and a grade-point score a simple formula (I have to do a numerical interpolation on the break points, but that's a computational detail).
Homeworks are slightly different in that I first add up all of the scores for the 5 homeworks, and then create a curve for the total to use to convert total score into a grade-point equivalent. Because there are only 5 questions, it is pointless to try to curve each homework assignment.
The 4-point grading scale is defined in terms of the lowest grade-point score (GP) that is assigned to each letter grade:
GP Letter 3.85 A 3.50 A- 3.15 B+ 2.85 B 2.50 B- 2.15 C+ 1.85 C 1.50 C- 1.15 D+ 0.50 DThe way to read this table is as follows: in order for person to get a B+, their grade-point score must be at least bigger than 3.15, and below 3.50. Note that OSU does not give D- or F grades, but does give grade-point scores below 0.50 an "E".
To illustrate how a grade is computed in detail, I've created a fictitious student, Claude Ptolemy, who got the following test scores this quarter. The grade-point scores were computed using the grade curves for the various exams and the cumulative homework assignments.
raw % score score GP Letter ---------------------------------- Exam1 23/50 46% 0.50 D Exam2 31/50 62% 1.93 C Exam3 29/50 58% 1.64 C- Exam4 32/50 64% 2.07 C Homework 18/25 72% 2.81 B- Final 72/100 72% 2.71 B- -----------------------------------
In computing Claude's overall grade, I do the following:
Once this is done, the final grade is computed by combining each of the three pieces. For Claude, this looks like this:
Overall = 0.15*Exam2 + 0.15*Exam3 + 0.15*Exam4 + 0.15*Homework + 0.4*Final = (0.15*1.93) + (0.15*1.64) + (0.15*2.07) + (0.15*2.81) + (0.4*2.71) = 0.290 + 0.246 + 0.311 + 0.422 + 1.084 = 2.352In this example Claude has an overall grade-point score of 2.35 for the class. On the OSU 4-point scale, the lowest grade-point score that gets a C+ is 2.15, and the lowest score that gets a B- is 2.50. Since 2.35 is between 2.15 and 2.50, Claude will get a grade of C+ for the class.