Grading on a line Converting percentages to the UW

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To create this graph in Excel arrange the endpoints of your linear scale in contiguous cells with. the x elements in a single column on the left, Highlight the data in the cells then click Insert then Charts Scatter Scatter with Straight Lines. Then click on the graph to bring up options to format add axes scale titles etc in a more or. less intuitive manner Axis labels are under Chart Tools Layout. The above grades are predictable from percentage score according to the algebraic. grade 1 5 5,i e y mx b, Here is a convenient Excel formula that implements the preceding conversion formula in a. spreadsheet,IF 95 4 IF 62 0 0 1 5 5,Grades assigned by Linguistics. The above grade conversion formula is probably most appropriate for a class with. relatively easy material such as introductory classes But some classes within Linguistics are. harder than others or at least have historically been graded harder i e grades at certain. percentiles have historically come out higher or lower in certain classes than in others The. following graph and table it is based on are taken from University of Washington Comparative. Grade Reports for a selection of quarters between Autumn 2007 and Summer 2011. There are various factors that can influence the way students final grades come out in a. particular class particularly as summarized with only three measurement points as in the above. instructor differences,o differences in grade conversion formula. o differences in ability to teach the material, student performance due to differences in talent diligence time to devote to course.
level of class less talented students will likely not make it to higher levels. size of class, o small numbers of students will likely receive more help than usual from instructor. o one failing student e g in a small class will dramatically lower the 25th percentile. Manipulating the conversion, Some classes undoubtedly contain inherently harder material than other classes within. the same department It is probably not the case grades in harder classes should have the. same distribution of grades in easier classes Nonetheless there may be some reasons for. reconfiguring the grading scale for a class, As you are calculating the final grades that quarter if grades seem to be coming out too. high there is not much you can do You committed yourself to this grading scale on your. syllabus so it would be unconscionable to lower grades that quarter On the other hand if. grades seem to be coming out too low as they might when you give a final that everyone finds. difficult or long they can in good conscience be raised To do so in a consistent manner for all. students move both endpoints of the grade conversion line up by the same amount keeping. the slope of the line the same, If it is your first time teaching a class it is hard to know whether final grades have come. out too low or too high for a particular class since you have no prior experience teaching the. course Before you turn in final grades your best bet is to show your final grades to an. experienced instructor to see if your grades are in accord with the way they have historically. come out for that class, The next time you teach the class you may want to tweak the grading scale if it didn t.
seem to calculate appropriate final grades You would probably want to first discuss this with. others who regularly teach the class If grades seemed to come out too low last time lower. the top end of the scale if there do not seem to be enough 4 0 grades lower the bottom end of. the scale if too many people seem to be failing the class If grades seemed to come out too. high last time adjust the cut off percentage for a 4 0 upwards e g change from 95 to 98. and or adjust the cut off percentage for a passing grade upwards. situation remedy,too many high grades raise top point. too many students who deserve to fail are passing raise bottom point. not enough high grades lower top point, too many students who deserve to pass are failing lower bottom point. In general to tweak the line first decide on the top and bottom grade conversions e g. 94 4 0 50 0 7 the two x y points which can define a line With these two points you can. then recalculate the slope of the line and the y intercept to interpolate intermediate grades. along a line, Then calculate the slope of the line that the connects the two points on your graph. rise vertical difference over run horizontal difference. slope y1 y2 x1 x2, For example using 94 and 50 as the upper and lower bounds. slope 4 0 0 7 94 50 075, Once you have the slope and one x y pair you can calculate the y intercept from a version of.
the algebraic formula y mx b that describes a line. y intercept y slope x,Continuing with our example,3 05 7 075 50. This is the current 451 551 grade conversion formula Notice that as the material is harder. than that of an introductory class both the cut offs for 4 0 and for passing the class are slightly. lower than those of the commonly used grading scale. Grading on a line Converting percentages to the UW grading scale Sharon Hargus and Laurie Poulson Nothing is as traumatic and anxiety provoking as grading for instructors and students alike Some of the anxiety for both parties may be alleved by having a clear idea of how final grades are going to be figured out and then communicating this information to students well before the first

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