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.
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.
- 15% Homework
- 20% Each Hour Examination
- 45% Final Examination
In computing your average homework score, I 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).
You can see how you are doing in the course by checking your scores
in the Campus Gradebook for this course.
After computing each student's Grand Total score
as the sum of the average homework score,
hour exam scores, and final exam score, I 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
that m-s is at least 250 and that the ranges stated below make
sense when the scores are all recorded, I intend to award
- objective criteria (85% = A, 70% = B, 55% = C, etc.),
- statistical criteria (above-average scores = B or better, etc.),
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.
- 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)
Trivia regarding grading practices
- The reason for saying roughly
is that I reserve the right to make minor adjustments
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. I 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.
Improvements in average performance on Hour Exam I
Class averages have improved over the last ten days on account of
The median score is now 84, the mean score is 78 and the standard
deviation is 20.
- Increased scores for some students due to regrading
- Several students with low scores dropping the course
Clarification on grading policies
One student asked whether I intended to stick by my announced policy
of awarding A's to those who scored one standard deviation or more
above the mean score. In view of the above data, this would mean that
only those scoring 98 or more would be getting an A.
In fact, the grading policy stated elsewhere
on this web page says that, subject to some conditions (which happen
to be satisfied in this instance,) I intend to award A's to those who score
more than the minimum
of 85% and mean+one-standard-deviation. I hope that this will set some
minds at rest.