Letter Grades: After computing each student's total score we find the mean m and the standard deviation s of the total scores. Letter grades are assigned using cut-offs that are based roughly on a mixture of
statistical criteria (above-average scores = B or better, etc.).
As a rough guideline, we intend to award
A's to scores greater than min(m+s,85)
B's to scores in the range min(m,70) to min(m+s,85),
C's to scores in the range min(m-s,55) to min(m,70)
D's to scores in the range max(m-2s,45) to min(m-s,55)
F's to scores below max(m-2s,45)
+ and - grades are typically awarded at the edges of the above cut-offs. The percentages of A's and B's awarded in ECE 313 are comparable to those awarded in 300-level required courses in the ECE Department.
Notes regarding grading practices
The reason for saying rough guideline is that we reserve the right to make minor adjustments (upwards or downwards) to each cut-off if we can find a significant gap in scores. However, the enrollment is large enough that significant gaps in scores are unlikely. After determining a cutoff we examine the final exam papers of students just below each cutoff to check for accuracy in grading. In effect, the exams are pre regraded. We do not artificially create gaps in the scores, so around 5-10% of students will still have scores just below a cutoff. After the scores and grades are posted, we will not increase a grade just because it is just below a cutoff. If we were to lower a cutoff for one student then another student would be just below the new cutoff, etc. Whatever we do, there will be students just below the actual cutoffs.
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 total score as you, and nobody who has a lower total score will receive a higher grade than you.