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First Semester Grade Question


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Hi all,

I'm a first year student in a Biostatistics program.  I was hoping to get some advice from someone regarding a delicate grading policy question.

Here is the background. This past semester  I was really surprised to see I got a B+ for a class where, according to all calculations, the overall grade should have been an A. The reasons I say it should have been an A are as follows:

  • The syllabus says the overall grade will be calculated as weighted average with the following weights: homework - 30%, midterm - 30%,  final - 30%, attendance - 10%
  • My grades for each of these three components were as follows: homework - 97, midterm - 88, final - 100, attendance - 100

Given all this, my overall final grade for the class comes out to be 95.5, which I fail to see how it could possibly be assigned a B+... I emailed the professor for clarification as soon as I saw the grade, since I assumed it was probably a typo but he said that the reason I got a B+ was because most students (70% of students) in my class got a higher overall grade than me.. I'm really confused and I was wondering if anybody else had come across similar grading policies? Is this common? 

Any suggestions/comments would be much appreciated.

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Your professor is grading the class on a curve.  Generally, professors only do this when it will help students, not hurt them, as obviously giving a student with a 99 a B is stupid. So, your professor is a jerk but it's really up to them how they grade. Did the syllabus not say what grade a 95.5 would correspond to?

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Hi there,

Yeah, that's the thing, the syllabus does not give a grading scale estimate, it just says that the numeric cutoffs for deciding the final grade letter would be based on overall class performance. But just like you pointed out earlier, I thought that merely meant that he was going to curve to help us if the overall class hadn't performed as well as expected, not that he'd start giving out B's to whomever got a grade below whatever numeric cutoff he had. I still don't know what that was because he didn't mention it, not even in his response email..

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