1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What in the world? Strange way of calculating

  1. Dec 6, 2013 #1
    Okay, so I am trying to figure out how in the world my professor evaluates our final grade for the course and it is a rather strange and confusing method. I need help figuring out how to calculate my grades thus far so I can see what I will need to make on the final. Here's what he has in the syllabus about how to determine the final grade:

    "The basis for your grade will be a weighted average of the following elements: Home-
    work 30 points Midterm exams 20 points for each of two Final exam 30 points Quizzes
    15 points. Each student's grade in the course will be computed according to the fol-
    lowing scheme: (i) For each gradiing element (HW, each exam, quizzes) your grade will
    be divided by the class average. (ii) Those numbers will then be added together with
    the weightings stated above. The result will then be a number a grade index for each
    student. That grade index, and only that grade index, will be used to determine which
    students get A, which get B, and so forth. The number of A's, of B's, etc. will be based
    partially on the traditional grade distribution in this course, and partially on how well
    the class does compared to absolute standards.
    You are responsible for understanding the basis for grading and the rules of the
    course. There will be no sympathy for claims, for example, that you did not know the
    rules covering late homework. If you have any questions about grading, ask them at the
    start of the course."

    Can anyone help?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Sounds like his grading scheme means "don't try to calculate what you need on the final and just do your best."

    He'll give As based on past courses and weighted averages, without knowing those you won't be able to know.

    Just send him a email or go to his office hours and see if he can calculate your grade.
  4. Dec 6, 2013 #3
    So you're saying getting an A is easy? Well can you give your opinion on what you think I might be able to get based on the current class average and my scores? My two midterm or exam grades were 31 with an average of 22, the second was a 46 with an average of 23.6. For for the total homework assignment average I had about a 105. I don't know the average for this so let's assume it's 85. Quiz average, let's assume I have a 5 and class average is a 10. Final is pending.
  5. Dec 6, 2013 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Which is something, according to that statement, you should have done at the start of the course! :p
  6. Dec 6, 2013 #5
    These classes averages do not vary that much from previous semesters.
  7. Dec 6, 2013 #6
    I know, and I thought I understood, but then I tried to calculate everything and apparently I do not. lol
  8. Dec 6, 2013 #7


    Staff: Mentor

    My suggestion is to study hard and get 100's on every final, midterm, test, quiz and homework or if you can take another course.

    I don't like the fact that things are curved and compared against some absolute standard which he hasn't told you about.

    How is his rating with past students? Check with some prior students to see how they dealt with this teacher. Maybe it won't be as bad as he implies with these rules.

    I had a great math teacher who outlined his 10 week course as follows:

    1) There will be homework for every class of 10 problems. He will grade only a few which one are left up to him.
    2) Homework counts as 10% of your grade
    3) There will be a surprise quiz every Friday (he will average the top 7 quizzes and throw out the lowest 3 quizzes)
    4) Quizzes count as 10% of your grade
    5) There will be 3 tests and an optional 4th test (he will average the top 3 tests and throw out the lowest test)
    6) Tests count as 30% of the course
    7) There will be one final exam which you can specify as 20% to 50% of your final grade before you take the exam.

    So someone who wasn't doing well could gamble on the final and choose 50% but as you can see the grading is really geared toward the good students who do well in all areas and then choose 20% to minimize the risk.
  9. Dec 6, 2013 #8
    Like Student100 said, do your best. But, as a person who likes to know where I stand, I know how you feel.

    Here's the formula:

    hw = your total homework score as a percentage
    hw_avg = the class's average homework score as a percentage

    quiz = your total quiz score as a percentage
    quiz_avg = the class's average quiz score as a percentage

    ex1 = your first exam score as a percentage
    ex1_avg = the class's average first exam score as a percentage

    ex2 = your second exam score as a percentage
    ex2_avg = the class's average second exam score as a percentage

    Your total score = (30/115)*hw/hw_avg + (15/115)*quiz/quiz_avg + (20/115)*ex1/ex1_avg + (20/115)*ex2/ex2_avg

    That is your score without the final exam - it is the score you would receive if you got a zero on the final.

    However, there is something odd here. As you can see in the coefficients, the points add up to 115. Is the class really using a 115-point system, or has there been some error here?
  10. Dec 6, 2013 #9
    Yep. That sounds like a good deal. I think I am doing good. There are only about 4 or 5 of us in a class of 20-something students that get above average.
  11. Dec 6, 2013 #10


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Never had a math teacher that collected homework.

    No I'm not saying it's a easy A, I'm suggesting no one here will be able to calculate your grade even with the additional information. It sounds as though your professor bases his grades on a system the students aren't entirely privy to.

    You're going to have to email him..
  12. Dec 6, 2013 #11
    Yes, I noticed that also when I tried calculating my grade. I do not understand why it is at 115?
    That is very strange.
  13. Dec 6, 2013 #12
    That is a good idea, but I think I will just ask him in person.
  14. Dec 6, 2013 #13
    At any rate, the formula I gave will give your score as a percentage, assuming that the weights are correct and that you can find the average scores. It is possible to get more than 100% due to the dependence on the class average.
  15. Dec 6, 2013 #14

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    Suppose I told you you need A% to get an A, B% to get a B and so on. What are you planning on doing with this information. Studying less?
  16. Dec 6, 2013 #15


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think for some it takes the edge off (de-stresses the worriers) on the final, or alternatively, lights a fire under the procrastinators.

    If you do well all year though, I don't understand why you'd be worried about the final-obviously you've exceeded all previous expectations.
  17. Dec 7, 2013 #16
    I want to know because I want to know which class I should dedicate more time for studying. Cal III or physics.
  18. Dec 7, 2013 #17

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    You should dedicate the most time to the subject you are least sure of.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook