You are reading this if you want to understand all of the fields in the grade report that was mailed to you.

A Description of the Fields

Not all of these fields may be present.

  • Rank: LOWER IS BETTER. The person ranked 1 has the best total score in the class. People with equal scores are ranked in random order.
  • Last: This is the rank you had last time I posted grades. It is kind of like in the way Billboard does their charts.
  • Chg: The amount your rank has changed since last time I posted grades.
  • Rank Final: Is the rank for just the score on the final.
  • Best: The best score anyone in the class got.
  • Gap: The number of points to the next person with a equal or higher grade based on a sort by total point score
  • Est. Grade This a purely an approximate grade. It is made without all the detail analysis I go through to get the final grades. It is just to let you know in the roughest of terms where your grade sits.
  • MaxPoss: The maximum number of points you could get on this assignment.
  • Mean: The average of the class on the this assignment.
  • Median: If all the scores were sorted this score would be the middle one. If the median is less than the mean that suggests that if the scores are roughly bell shaped then there is a longer tail to the lower end of the scores, that is, the distribution is skewed toward lower scores.
  • Std Dev: If the scores had formed a perfect bell shaped curve then the scores roughly two thirds of the students would be within a standard deviation of the mean score.

Video student scores are always running 2-3 weeks behind everyone else. Until they are turned in the standard deviation will be skewed because they register as a zero.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does all this score data really mean If your score is less than the (median - stdDev) you should worry. If your score is more than (mean + stdDev) or 90% or better you are doing very well. If you are in the worry category you need to either see me when you have questions about the homework and study harder, or you should consider withdrawing. As always, if I am not in my office, email me. Odds are I am logged on somewhere in the world.

The percentage score I got on my last homework was really bad. Isn't it going to really hurt my grade? The percentage on a given assignment doesn't really count for much. It is the total points that count. If the assignment was worth 20 points it probably won't have much effect. If the assignment was 100 points then it probably will have an effect.

How can I tell what letter grade I will get? It would be hubris to think I could exactly design assignments that map well to a preplanned percentage. See statement of grading policies for more information. I do what, in fact, many instructors do; I grade by looking for gaps. I will be influenced by these factors:

  1. where the mean, median, and stddev of the scores lie.
  2. where the 90% boundary is. If you have scored at least 90%, you will get an A.
  3. where the gaps are in the distribution of scores. I am more likely to draw the lines between letter grades in larger gaps in the scores.