A student writes:

     Hello Dr. Patt
     I just had a question about grading that's bugging me.  
     You said that students who received from about 60-80 on
     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
     take the letter grade and don't care about the actual grade.  

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
     by letter grade or actual number grade.  

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
     a 60, gradewise


     so I just wanted to know how you choose your
     grading system.  Sorry to bother you with this but I am curious.  
     Thank you.
     One of Your Students
     << 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 grade in the course.

I will then decide what letter grade each numerical grade corresponds to and assign letter grades accordingly.

Yale Patt