Grade Calculator

Use this calculator to find out the grade of a course based on weighted averages. This calculator accepts both numerical as well as letter grades. It also can calculate the grade needed for the remaining assignments in order to get a desired grade for an ongoing course.

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Final Grade Calculator

Use this calculator to find out the grade needed on the final exam in order to get a desired grade in a course. It accepts letter grades, percentage grades, and other numerical inputs.

Related GPA Calculator

The calculators above use the following letter grades and their typical corresponding numerical equivalents based on grade points.

Brief history of different grading systems

In 1785, students at Yale were ranked based on "optimi" being the highest rank, followed by second optimi, inferiore (lower), and pejores (worse). At William and Mary, students were ranked as either No. 1, or No. 2, where No. 1 represented students that were first in their class, while No. 2 represented those who were "orderly, correct and attentive." Meanwhile at Harvard, students were graded based on a numerical system from 1-200 (except for math and philosophy where 1-100 was used). Later, shortly after 1883, Harvard used a system of "Classes" where students were either Class I, II, III, IV, or V, with V representing a failing grade. All of these examples show the subjective, arbitrary, and inconsistent nature with which different institutions graded their students, demonstrating the need for a more standardized, albeit equally arbitrary grading system.

In 1887, Mount Holyoke College became the first college to use letter grades similar to those commonly used today. The college used a grading scale with the letters A, B, C, D, and E, where E represented a failing grade. This grading system however, was far stricter than those commonly used today, with a failing grade being defined as anything below 75%. The college later re-defined their grading system, adding the letter F for a failing grade (still below 75%). This system of using a letter grading scale became increasingly popular within colleges and high schools, eventually leading to the letter grading systems typically used today. However, there is still significant variation regarding what may constitute an A, or whether a system uses plusses or minuses (i.e. A+ or B-), among other differences.

An alternative to the letter grading system

Letter grades provide an easy means to generalize a student's performance. They can be more effective than qualitative evaluations in situations where "right" or "wrong" answers can be easily quantified, such as an algebra exam, but alone may not provide a student with enough feedback in regards to an assessment like a written paper (which is much more subjective).

Although a written analysis of each individual student's work may be a more effective form of feedback, there exists the argument that students and parents are unlikely to read the feedback, and that teachers do not have the time to write such an analysis. There is precedence for this type of evaluation system however, in Saint Ann's School in New York City, an arts-oriented private school that does not have a letter grading system. Instead, teachers write anecdotal reports for each student. This method of evaluation focuses on promoting learning and improvement, rather than the pursuit of a certain letter grade in a course. For better or for worse however, these types of programs constitute a minority in the United States, and though the experience may be better for the student, most institutions still use a fairly standard letter grading system that students will have to adjust to. The time investment that this type of evaluation method requires of teachers/professors is likely not viable on university campuses with hundreds of students per course. As such, although there are other high schools such as Sanborn High School that approach grading in a more qualitative way, it remains to be seen whether such grading methods can be scalable. Until then, more generalized forms of grading like the letter grading system are unlikely to be entirely replaced. However, many educators already try to create an environment that limits the role that grades play in motivating students. One could argue that a combination of these two systems would likely be the most realistic, and effective way to provide a more standardized evaluation of students, while promoting learning.

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Final Grade Calculator

Our Final Exam Grade Calculator calculates what you need on your final exam to get a desired grade in the course. If you have asked yourself "what do I need on my final exam...?" then this site is for you! Want to calculate your weighted average grade? Then try our Weighted Average Calculator

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Do you know your Current Grade?

Fill in your assignment grades on the right to automatically calculate your current grade!

Grade Needed on Final Exam

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Please make sure all textfields are filled out.

MINIMUM Attainable Course Grade: 0%

MAXIMUM Attainable Course Grade: 100%

Enter your assignment scores here to automatically calculate your current grade! (eg midterms, tests, homework, labs, etc.)

Important Notes

Our Final Exam Grade Calculator calculates the final exam grade you would need to get a desired overall course grade and would require you to input your current course percentage grade as well as the weight of the final as a percentage. If you do not know your current grade, you would need to select "no" on the question "Do you know your Current Grade?" and then input the grades you received for your assignments, tests, homework, labs, etc. as well as the weight as a percentage of each. Our grade calculator automatically calculates your current grade as well as the grade needed on the final exam to get your desired overall course grade! Not only that but the minimum and maximum course overall course grades are also calculated. Furthermore, a table and chart of the different possible final exam grades and their corresponding overall course grades are also generated, all automatically.

Inputting Data in our Final Exam Calculator

When inputting your Current Grade and the Weight of the Final, our calculator automatically assumes that your current grade is based is based on weight of your course prior to the final exam and is calculated as 100% minus the inputted weight of the final. If your current grade does not account for all the course work (assignments, labs, tests, homework, etc.) prior to your final exam then the calculator results will not be accurate for you.

Similarly, if you don’t know your Current Grade and you input your course work and corresponding grades and weights into our calculator, the calculator automatically calculates your current grade as well as the Weight of the Final. In this case the weight of the final is simply calculated as 100% minus the Sum of the Weights of your course work. Thus if you inputted too many or too little assignments, tests, etc. then the Weight of the Final calculated may not match the actual weight of the final in your course.

For a more in-depth breakdown of how our grade calculator works, make sure to check out our Grade Calculator Tutorial !

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Grade Calculator

Final grade calculator: maximizing student performance and academic planning, grade calculators: essential tools for evaluating student performance.

Understanding Letter Grades and the Grading Scale

Understanding Letter Grades and the Grading Scale

Letter grades are a central component of the grading system in various educational institutions. They provide a standardized method of evaluating a student's performance in courses, converting numerical scores into a familiar grading scale.

Example of Letter Grade to Percentage Conversion:

  • A+ : GPA of 4.3, representing 97-100%
  • A : GPA of 4.0, representing 93-96%
  • A- : GPA of 3.7, representing 90-92%
  • B+ : GPA of 3.3, representing 87-89%
  • B : GPA of 3.0, representing 83-86%
  • B- : GPA of 2.7, representing 80-82%
  • C+ : GPA of 2.3, representing 77-79%
  • C : GPA of 2.0, representing 73-76%
  • C- : GPA of 1.7, representing 70-72%
  • D+ : GPA of 1.3, representing 67-69%
  • D : GPA of 1.0, representing 63-66%
  • D- : GPA of 0.7, representing 60-62%
  • F : GPA of 0.0, representing 0-59%

The Role of Weighted Grades in Calculating Overall Grade

Weighted grades are crucial in determining a student's overall grade. They reflect the different values assigned to each category of work (like tests, assignments, and classwork) in a course. This system ensures that more significant tasks, like a final exam or major project, have a greater impact on the final grade.

Calculating Weighted Grades:

  • Assignments : May carry different weights, impacting the overall grade.
  • Final Exam : Often has a significant final worth in the total points for a course.
  • Course Participation : Can also contribute to the weighted grade calculation.

Utilizing Grade Calculators for Test Grades and Final Exams

Utilizing Grade Calculators for Test Grades and Final Exams

Predicting test grades and final exam outcomes.

Grade calculators can predict the outcome of a test grade or a final exam by considering the current grade, the desired grade, and the weight of the upcoming test or exam in the overall course.

Planning for a Passing Grade or Desired Grade

Students can use grade calculators to strategize how to achieve a passing grade or a specific desired grade, such as determining the score needed on a final exam to boost their overall grade.

The Evolution of the Grading System in Different Institutions

The history and variations in grading systems.

The grading system has undergone significant changes throughout history, adapting to different educational needs and standards across various institutions. Understanding this evolution helps contextualize current practices in grading and evaluation.

Alternatives to Traditional Letter Grades

Percentage-based and mastery-based systems.

  • Percentage-Based System : Uses a scale from 0% to 100%, often converting these percentages to letter grades.
  • Mastery-Based System : Focuses on a student mastering content before progressing.

The Use of Narrative Feedback

Instead of relying solely on letters or percentages, some systems use detailed narrative feedback to evaluate a student's performance, providing more nuanced insights into their strengths and areas for improvement.

Generated by DALL·E

Conclusion: Empowering Students with Accurate Grade Calculations

Grade calculators are more than just tools; they are essential aids in the educational journey, helping students understand where they stand and what they need to achieve their academic goals. Whether it's calculating a weighted grade, preparing for a final exam, or aiming for a specific test grade, these calculators provide clarity and direction in the complex world of academic evaluation.

Final Grade Calculator FAQ

What is a final grade calculator.

A final grade calculator is a tool used by students and teachers to determine a student’s final grade in a course. It calculates the overall grade by considering the weighted grade of each assessment, including tests, quizzes, and assignments.

How Do You Calculate a Test Grade?

To calculate a test grade, you need to know the total number of points possible and the number of points earned. The test grade is then calculated by dividing the points earned by the total points and converting this to a percentage or a letter grade.

What is a Weighted Grade and How is it Calculated?

A weighted grade reflects the importance of different categories (like tests, homework, and quizzes) in a course. To calculate it, multiply each category score by its weight (percentage of the course grade it represents), and sum these values to get the overall grade.

How Can a Final Grade Calculator Help Students?

A final grade calculator helps students understand their current standing in a class and what scores they need on upcoming exams or assignments to achieve their desired final grade. It's a valuable tool for academic planning and goal setting.

Can Final Grade Calculators Be Used for All Types of Courses?

Yes, final grade calculators can be adapted for different types of courses. They are versatile tools that can account for varying grading scales, weights, and assessment types across different subjects and schools.

How Do Percentage Grades Translate into Letter Grades?

Percentage grades are typically converted into letter grades based on a predetermined grading scale. For example, a score of 90-100% might translate to an "A", while a score of 80-89% might be a "B", and so on.

Why is Understanding Weighted Grades Important for Students?

Understanding weighted grades is crucial for students as it impacts their overall grade. Knowing how different assessments affect their final grade can help students prioritize their studies and focus on areas that carry more weight.

How Do Teachers Use Final Grade Calculators?

Teachers use final grade calculators to ensure accurate and consistent grading. It assists them in calculating final scores considering various assessments and their respective weights throughout a semester or quarter.

Is It Possible to Calculate Final Grades Manually?

While it's possible to calculate final grades manually, it involves complex math, especially with weighted grades. Using a final grade calculator simplifies this process, reducing errors and saving time.

What Information Do I Need to Use a Final Grade Calculator?

To use a final grade calculator, you need to know the weight of each category in your course (like exams, quizzes, homework), the scores you’ve earned in each category, and the grading scale used by your teacher or school.

How is the point system defined in various classes, and how does it determine a student's grade in a course?

In most classes, a point system is used to calculate grades. Each assignment, test, or activity is assigned a certain number of points based on its difficulty or importance. For example, a major exam might be worth 100 points, while a homework assignment might be worth 10 points. The student's grade for the course is then determined by the total points they earn out of the total points available. This system can vary slightly between different courses, but the underlying principle of assigning point values to assessments and then totaling them remains consistent.

I'm wondering why I failed my math course, even though I did well on most assignments. How are final grades calculated in math courses?

In math courses, like in other subjects, final grades are typically calculated based on a weighted average of different types of assessments, such as homework, quizzes, tests, and sometimes participation. Each category is assigned a weight (like 20% for homework, 30% for quizzes, etc.). Your performance in each category is calculated as a percentage, multiplied by its weight, and then added together to determine your final grade. If you failed the course despite doing well on assignments, it could be due to poor performance in a heavily weighted category, like exams. It’s important to understand the

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Test Grade Calculator

How to calculate test score, test grade calculator – how to use it, test grade calculator – advanced mode options.

This test grade calculator is a must if you're looking for a tool to help set a grading scale . Also known as test score calculator or teacher grader , this tool quickly finds the grade and percentage based on the number of points and wrong (or correct) answers. Moreover, you can change the default grading scale and set your own. Are you still wondering how to calculate test scores? Scroll down to find out – or simply experiment with this grading scale calculator.

If this test grade calculator is not the tool you're exactly looking for, check out our other grading calculators like the grade calculator .

Prefer watching rather than reading? We made a video for you! Check it out below:

To calculate the percentile test score, all you need to do is divide the earned points by the total points possible . In other words, you're simply finding the percentage of good answers:

percentage score = (#correct / #total) × 100

As #correct + #wrong = #total , we can write the equation also as:

percentage score = 100 × (#total - #wrong) / #total

Then, all you need to do is convert the percentage score into a letter grade . The default grading scale looks as in the table below:

If you don't like using the +/- grades, the scale may look like:

  • An A is 90% to 100%;
  • A B is 80% to 89%;
  • A C is 70% to 79%;
  • A D is 60% to 69%; and finally
  • F is 59% and below – and it's not a passing grade

Above, you can find the standard grading system for US schools and universities. However, the grading may vary among schools, classes, and teachers. Always check beforehand which system is used in your case.

Sometimes the border of passing score is not 60%, but, e.g., 50 or 65%. What then? We've got you covered – you can change the ranges of each grade! Read more about it in the last section of this article: Advanced mode options .

🙋 You might also be interested in our semester grade calculator and the final grade calculator .

Our test score calculator is a straightforward and intuitive tool!

Enter the number of questions/points/problems in the student's work (test, quiz, exam – anything). Assume you've prepared the test with 18 questions.

Type in the number the student got wrong . Instead – if you prefer – you can enter the number of gained points. Let's say our exemplary student failed to answer three questions.

Here we go! Teacher grader tool shows the percentage and grade for that score. For our example, the student scored 83.33% on a test, which corresponds to a B grade.

Underneath you'll find a full grading scale table . So to check the score for the next students, you can type in the number of questions they've got wrong – or just use this neat table.

That was a basic version of the test grade calculator. But our teacher grader is a much more versatile and flexible tool!

You can choose more options to customize this test score calculator. Just hit the Advanced mode button below the tool, and two more options will appear:

Increment by box – Here, you can change the look of the table you get as a result. The default value is 1, meaning the student can get an integer number of points. But sometimes it's possible to get, e.g., half-points – then you can use this box to declare the increment between the next scores.

Percentage scale – In this set of boxes, you can change the grading scale from the default one. For example, assume that the test was challenging and you'd like to change the scale so that getting 50% is already a passing grade (usually, it's 60% or even 65%). Change the last box, Grade D- ≥ value, from default 60% to 50% to reach the goal. You can also change the other ranges if you want to.

And what if I don't need +/- grades ? Well, then just ignore the signs 😄

How do I calculate my test grade?

To calculate your test grade:

  • Determine the total number of points available on the test.
  • Add up the number of points you earned on the test.
  • Divide the number of points you earned by the total number of points available.
  • Multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage score.

That's it! If you want to make this easier, you can use Omni's test grade calculator.

Is 27 out of 40 a passing grade?

This depends mainly on the grading scale that your teacher is using. If a passing score is defined as 60% (or a D-), then 27 out of 40 would correspond to a 67.5% (or a D+), which would be a passing grade. However, depending on your teacher’s scale, the passing score could be higher or lower.

What grade is 7 wrong out of 40?

This is a B-, or 82.5% . To get this result:

Use the following percentage score formula: percentage score = 100 × (#total - #wrong) / #total

Here, #total represents the total possible points, and #wrong , the number of incorrect answers.

Substitute your values: percentage score = 100 × (40 - 7) / 40 percentage score = 82.5%

Convert this percentage into a letter grade. In the default grading scale, 82.5% corresponds to a B-. However, grading varies — make sure to clarify with teachers beforehand.

Is 75 out of 80 an A?

Yes , a score of 75 out of 80 is an A according to the default grading scale. This corresponds to a percentage score of 93.75%.

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We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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Grade Calculator

It is beneficial to know how to calculate your current grade in a course in order to know what you need to achieve on your final exam to obtain your desired overall course grade. Below is an example of how to use the following grade calculator to determine your current course grade before the final exam.

To use this calculator, simply input your current percentage on an assignment, test or exam as well as the value it has towards your final grade. For each new assignment, test or exam, click on "Add New Assignment". Your results will be updated as you input assignments.

In Sally’s class, there are four categories of major assignments which sum up her final grade. The first category consists of three small assignments worth a total of 15% and the second category is a project worth 25%. She also has a midterm and a final exam worth 30% each.

Sally received the marks  7/ 10 ,  4/ 5  and  15/ 20  on her three small assignments, 80% on her project and  25/ 40  on her midterm. She wants to calculate what her current mark is before she takes the final exam, so she can find out what score she will need to get on her final exam in order to get an overall average of 75% in the course.

Using this calculator, Sally can calculate her mark easily and quickly. First, she will have to calculate the total percentage of her three small assignments since they are all in the same category of assignments worth 15% of her final grade. The following is an example of how Sally adds up all of her small assignments:

A. Divide the mark given for each small assignment by the possible mark for each small assignment.

B. Add the marks given for each assignment. Then add the possible marks given for each assignment. Divide the given mark by the possible mark. The answer will be a decimal.

Grade Calculation example equation

C.  Multiply the decimal by 100 to calculate the percentage.

0.7429 x 100=74.29%

With that percentage, Sally knows what she got in the assignments category.

In order to find the percentage of her midterm exam, Sally has to divide 25 by 40. She can take the answer (shown as a decimal) and multiply it by 100 to get the percentage.

25/ 40 =0.625 x 100=62.5 %

By plugging in the percentages of the marks she received from every category, Sally managed to figure out that she currently has 71.275% in the course, which is 2.7 GPA (see the grade calculator below).

In order to figure out what she needs to score on her final exam in order to achieve a final mark of 75% in the course, Sally took her current grade of 49.8935 (see grade calculator below) and subtracted that from her desired goal of 75 to get 25.1065. This means that Sally needs to get  25.1065/ 30  or 83.68% on her final exam to get a 75% in the course.

Ontario Tech University

Final Grade Calculator

This tool will determine what grade (percentage) you need on your final exam in order to get a certain grade in a class.

Your current grade is %.

You want (at least) a % in the class.

Your final is worth % of your grade.

Calculate what I need on the final

Since you’ve already taken your final exam, you can now calculate your overall grade.

Your grade was % before.

You got a % on the final.

Calculate my overall grade

If your final is in the “tests” category, then your overall grade will be affected by your current test average and how many tests you’ve taken so far.

Tests are worth % of your grade.

You have taken tests already.

Your test average is %.

The final is worth tests.

If your final has multiple parts and you’ve finished some of them, then you can calculate what you need on the remaining parts. Your current grade should not include any part of your final.

You have parts to your final.

You have taken part(s) already.

Your 1st part is worth points.

Your 2nd part is worth points.

Your 3rd part is worth points.

Your 4th part is worth points.

Your 5th part is worth points.

Your 6th part is worth points.

Your 7th part is worth points.

Your 8th part is worth points.

On part 1, you got points.

On part 2, you got points.

On part 3, you got points.

On part 4, you got points.

On part 5, you got points.

On part 6, you got points.

On part 7, you got points.

Calculate what I need on the rest of the final

You can calculate how much your final is worth by dividing the number of points in your final by the total number of points.

Including the final, there are points possible.

Your final is worth points.

Calculate how much my final is worth

Your overall grade depends on how low your lowest test grades are. If your final replaces your lowest test grade, then tell the calculator that your lowest 1 test is dropped and your final also counts as 1 test.

Your have taken tests already.

Your lowest tests are dropped.

Lowest test grade was %.

2nd lowest test was %.

3rd lowest test was %.

4th lowest test was %.

5th lowest test was %.

6th lowest test was %.

7th lowest test was %.

8th lowest test was %.

Your final also counts as tests.

Your final is also worth % of your grade.

Have another question? Try one of these:

  • I took the final. What’s my overall grade?
  • My final counts as a test. What do I need to get?
  • There are 2+ parts in my final. What do I have to get on them?
  • My class has a point system. How much is the final worth?
  • My lowest test grade is dropped. What do I need to get?
  • I need something else (advanced mode) .

How does this work? Most class grades are made up of several categories: homework, classwork, tests/quizzes, and the final exam. Usually, each category is worth a percentage of your overall grade. But because your final exam isn't scored until the very end, it isn't included when calculating your current overall grade. Instead, all the other categories are scaled up to consume the weight reserved for the final exam. Therefore, you can calculate the minimum grade you need to score on the final exam using the formula:

Required = (Goal − Current × (100% − Final Weight)) / Final Weight

See the formula sheet for an explanation of this formula and other formulas used in this calculator. It's not rocket science, it's just math! You could, of course, do this on any calculator, but you're here on RogerHub because it's cool. (:

I need more help! Try one of the different calculator modes listed above. The advanced mode handles many different kinds of situations, such as:

  • If you have more tests and homework before the final
  • When your final counts as a test grade
  • Dropping the lowest test grades
  • Makeup assignments or test retakes
  • Extra credit
  • Missing assignments

Comments Check out the comments page if you have other questions or feedback about the calculator.

Grade Calculator

Ben Eggleston

The Grade Calculator is a simple and free helpful tool to help you as a student have a better understanding of your current standing in class and what is needed to maintain or improve your grades throughout the academic year.


Type in the grades you’ve received, along with the weights they’ll have in the determination of your overall average. Then, if you want, fill in one or both of the fields embedded in the questions marked ‘ OPTIONAL: ’. After you press ‘Compute’, the results will show your average so far, as well as the answer(s) to any question(s) whose embedded fields you filled in. Every grade you enter must be a non-negative number, and every percentage you enter must be a positive number.

- What is the plus and minus grading scale and how does it affect my GPA?

This is a question I'm often asked by students, so I have written a short paper to demonstrate how I determine minimum percentages when using the plus and minus grading scale.

ben picture

Using the Plus and Minus Grading Scale

The problem.

In the Fall 2008 semester, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences added grades with pluses and minuses (A–, B+, etc.) to its list of available grades. (Such grades had been available in some schools at KU previously, but not in the College.) Here are the web pages stating the KU and CLAS grade lists:

When the only grades were A, B, C, D, and F, it was pretty easy to come up with a final grade calculator, and it was easy for me to show students how to calculate grade percentage. For example, I usually used the following grading scale:

With the introduction of pluses and minuses, minimum percentages need to be determined for a much longer list of grades, as shown in table 2. (For now I’ll assume the possibility of A+, even though it is not an available grade at KU, and then I’ll adjust for its absence at the end.)

My Solution

If you think of the new grading scale as dividing each of the old grades’ ranges into three smaller ranges (e.g., the A range gets divided into ranges for A+, A, and A–), it seems logical to think that the minimum percentage for an A– under my new grading scale should be the same as the minimum percentage for an A under my old grading scale, that the minimum percentage for a B– under my new grading scale should be the same as the minimum percentage for a B under my old grading scale, and so on. So I can partially fill in my table as follows:

Now, I’d like for the other minimum percentages to be based on KU’s grade-point conversion scale:

Notice, though, that there is a structural mismatch between tables 1–3 and table 4. The former were concerned with minimum values, and the latter is concerned with middle values (e.g., 3 grade points goes with the middle of the B range—it has nothing to do with the bottom of the B range). So, to use KU’s grade-point conversion scale to figure out my new percentage-based grading scale, I need to pay attention to middle percentages, not minimum percentages. My old grading scale had 95 in the middle of the A range, 85 in the middle of the B range, and so on. I’ll keep these as the middle percentages in my new grading scale:

Now, to fill in the other percentages using KU’s grade-point conversion scale, I’ll assume that the relative spacing of the grades on KU’s grade-point conversion scale should dictate the relative spacing of the grades’ middle percentages on my grading scale. I’ll start with the B+. Since a B+ is worth 3.3 grade points, and 3.3 is 30 percent of the way from a B (3.0) to an A (4.0), I want to know what number is 30 percent of the way from an 85 to a 95. That number, of course, is 88. So, that should be the middle percentage for a B+. By similar reasoning (working with 3.7 grade points for an A–), the middle percentage for an A– should be a 92. Filling in the other values analogously, I have the following:

With these middle values determined, all I need to do to figure out the corresponding ranges is to figure out the midpoints that lie between consecutive numbers:

Now, there are just a couple of further decisions I have to make. First, what should the threshold between D– and F be? For consistency with my old grading scale and for consistency between D– and the other minus grades under my new grading scale, I’ll make it 60.

Second, should a student whose percentage is equal to a threshold percentage get the letter grade just above it, or just below? For reasons of charity, I prefer to award the letter grade just above it. So, these thresholds are actually the minimum percentages for the grades just above them. That means that I can completely fill in the “minimum percentage” table I started with, but couldn’t get very far with at the time (table 3):

So that’s the way I would assign letter grades, under a complete plus/minus system. KU’s grading system, however, maxes out at A; there is no A+. So I need to make an adjustment. One way of handling this is to enlarge the intervals associated with each of the eleven remaining passing grades (A down to D–). But that would violate a lot of the constraints I’ve operated with so far, as well as being a mess.

A second option is to proportionally enlarge the intervals associated with A and A–, so that 90 remains the minimum value for A–, with 95 being the new minimum value for A. This, however, would make the unavailability of the A+ grade result in a disproportionately high percentage required in order to get an A. I think that would make A’s harder to get than they should be. A third option, my preferred one, is just to absorb the values associated with A+ into the range for A. So, the minimum value for an A would remain 93.5, and anything above that (up to 100, or higher, for that matter) would still be an A:

So those are the minimum percentages I use. In most courses, I grade individual assignments on a scale of 0 to 100, and then at the end of the semester I use Blackboard or Excel to compute each student’s final average to the nearest hundredth of a percentage point. So, in practice, my grading scale is as follows:

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, considered by itself. But it reflects the fact that the grade points aren't themselves evenly spaced: there's a difference of 0.3 between some pairs of consecutive grade points (e.g., 3.0 and 3.3), but a difference of 0.4 between some others (e.g., 3.3 and 3.7). If the grade points were more evenly spaced (e.g., 3.00, 3.33, 3.67, etc.), then the mathematical technique used above (the one used to fill in table 6) would yield more equally sized percentage-point ranges for the letter grades.

No—the grades available in a grading system don’t need to be equally spaced along whatever numerical scales (e.g., grade points or percentages) they can be correlated with.

Those numbers do seem more intuitive, but they can have some counter-intuitive consequences. To see this, suppose that, partway through the semester, a student is right in the middle of the B+ range, with an average of 88.33 (which is halfway between 86.67 and 89.99). She works hard to raise her average by 3.33 percentage points, to 91.66, which is right in the middle of the A– range (it's halfway between 90.00 and 93.33). For her efforts, she is rewarded with an extra 0.4 grade points (3.7 grade points for an A– instead of 3.3 grade points for a B+). But now suppose this same student had been right in the middle of the B range, with an average of 85. Then her 3.3-percentage-point increase would have resulted in a final average of 88.33 (right in the middle of the B+ range, as we saw above). Then, her reward for her efforts would have been only 0.3 grade points (3.3 grade points for a B+ instead of 3 grade points for a B). It seems odd that the reward a student gets for raising her grade by a certain number of percentage points should depend, in this way, on where she started. My grading scale doesn't allow this to happen, since it makes the distance from the middle to the B+ range to the middle of the A– range larger than the distance from the middle of the B range to the middle of the B+ range.

Here's another way of looking at this issue. When thinking about pluses and minuses, it is natural to take ⅓ as the default plus/minus increment: grade points would be raised and lowered by this amount, we would use percentages like 83⅓ and 86⅔, and so on. When this default is deviated from, as with our plus/minus increment of 0.3, the percentages need to be adjusted accordingly. Under the default system, a student with an 85—in the middle of the B range—would need to raise her average by 1⅔ percentage points in order to get a B+. Her reward would be an extra ⅓ grade points. If her reward is going to be less than that, then the extra work she has to do should be less, too. Specifically, if her reward is going to be only 0.3 grade points, then the extra percentage points she needs should be 1⅔ times the ratio of 0.3 to ⅓. That ratio is 0.9, and 1⅔ times 0.9 is 1½. Hence my B+ threshold of 86½ rather than 86⅔.


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