Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

The ECE 313 Grading Scheme

Grade Distribution Formula: Scores on homework and examinations will be weighted as shown below in determining your grade.

  • 15% Homework

  • 20% Each Hour Examination

  • 45% Final Examination

To avoid fractions, the Final Exam is worth a maximum of 225 points, the Hour Exams are worth a maximum of 100 points each, and your average homework score is normalized to a maximum of 75 points. Your Grand Total score thus has a maximum of 500 points.

In computing your average homework score, we will not include the lowest of your homework scores (which may well be a 0 for homework turned in late or not turned in at all).

Campus Gradebook: You can see how you are doing in the course by checking your scores in the Campus Gradebook for this course, either via a Gradebook client application (Click here to download a Gradebook client to your personal PC or Macintosh computer) or via the Student Web Access facility. A Web browser capable of secure communication (SSL) is required.

Letter Grades: After computing each student's Grand Total score as the sum of the average homework score, hour exam scores, and final exam score, we find the mean m and the standard deviation s of the Grand Total scores. Letter grades are assigned using cut-offs that are based roughly on a mixture of
  • objective criteria (85% = A, 70% = B, 55% = C, etc.),

  • statistical criteria (above-average scores = B or better, etc.),

  • soul-searching.

Thus, provided that m-s is at least 250 and that the ranges stated below make sense when the scores are all recorded, we intend to award
  • A's to scores greater than min(m+s,425)

  • B's to scores in the range min(m,350) to min(m+s,425),

  • C's to scores in the range min(m-s,275) to min(m,350)

  • D's to scores in the range max(m-2s,225) to min(m-s,275)

  • F's to scores below max(m-2s,225)

The percentages of A's and B's awarded in ECE 313 are comparable to those awarded in other 300-level required courses in the ECE Department. On the other hand, more D's and F's are usually recorded in ECE 313 than in most other 300-level required courses.

Trivia regarding grading practices

  • The reason for saying roughly is that we reserve the right to make minor adjustments (upwards or downwards) to each cut-off to avoid discriminating between students on the basis of very small differences in scores.

  • + and - letter grades are sometimes awarded at the edges of these cut-offs, usually on the basis of performance on some specific aspect of the course, e.g. an above average score on the Final Exam and a Grand Total score near an upper cut-off will often result in a + letter grade, while lacklustre performance on the Final Exam and a Grand Total score near a lower cut-off might receive a - letter grade.

  • Regardless of your exam performance and the settings of the cut-offs, however, you will receive the same grade as everyone who has the same Grand Total score as you, and nobody who has a lower Grand Total score will receive a higher grade than you.

  • The above grading scheme applies only if m-s is at least 250 points. We have a great deal of difficulty in giving passing grades to those who score less than 50% of the total points on the course. If the number of such students is large, well ... that's when the soul-searching begins.