10/19/04

A student writes:

```     Hello Dr. Patt
the test then they got about a B.```

The important word in this sentence is "about."

```     (That's what I think
you said as far as I can remember but I could be wrong)
So I am just curious about something, would anyone who
got a grade between 60-80 get the same grade of a B, or
are they high B's, low B's, etc depending on how far you were
on that 60-80 scale.  I noticed some many professors just

Really? There are professors that will assign a letter grade to each numerical exam, and then average the "letters"? I would be interested in knowing the names of these professors.

```     When the grades are averaged out in the end, are they averaged

I don't know how to average letters. Perhaps (giraffes + lions + tigers + horses + ...)/n = Noah's ark. Or, (apples + oranges + kiwi + grapefruit + bananas + grapes)/6 = fruit salad.

```     The reason I'm
asking this is because I got a 74 and I would hate to know
that getting a 74 was no better for me than if I had gotten

Groan.

so I just wanted to know how you choose your
grading system.  Sorry to bother you with this but I am curious.
Thank you.
<< name withheld to protect the what-did-he-call-himself: curious! >>

I don't know what to do with email like this.  Most of the time
I do not share it with you.

For those who need an answer to this question, yes 74 is better than 60 for
two reasons:

1. (Importantly) it means you understood more than the student who got the
60 and have a greater likelihood of building a stronger foundation.

2. Yes, I weight each grade (a number) by the percent given in the Course
Descriptor I handed out the first day of class.  When I sum up those weighted
values, I will have a number between 0 and 100.  That will be your numerical