How Grades were calculated

by Mike Gleicher on December 15, 2014

Adam and I have finished grading everything. Project 2s, Final Exams, and assigning Final Grades.

Project 2: We went through and ran all of them. We were lenient about hand in mistakes (and tried to fix small things to get things to run). At least 2 people had projects that required a newer graphics card than I have in my office (fortunately Adam’s laptop is better). We overlooked these small mechanical issues. We scored each project on whether they met the basic criteria, and a subjective assessment of different aspects of the project (scoring things like “technical ambition”, “technical correctness” and “artistic merit”) on a 0-4 scale. We then divided the projects into 7 rough buckets, and went through and assigned each project a grade, and an “alternate grade” if we felt it was on the border.

Final: We noticed that the numbers didn’t add up (it only added to 97), and we basically gave people points on the last page – even if your answer wasn’t a “true” fact, or was something that actually was covered on the exam. There were a couple questions where we decided that there were multiple allowable answers (even if one was technically wrong).

The range of answers was good (for each question, there were multiple people who got it completely correct). The high score was 98, and several others scores in the high 90s. The median and mean were in the 70s.

We had cutoffs for grades (e.g. 90 for A), but then we assigned everyone two grades: the grade with the cutoff, and then an alternate grade (where people on the wrong side of the cutoff but close were given the higher grade). So, if you had an 87, we would have given you AB/A.

Final Grades: We converted the assignments (11 assignments, all with roughly binary scoring) to an A-F grade. We then did the straight average of the 5 parts (assignments, 2 projects and 2 exams). This was used as a starting point for your grade.

We then used the higher of your grade and the alternate grade for P2 and the Exam. We then took the lowest of the 5 things, and reduced its influence by half. Finally, we looked at everyone who was still on a borderline, and pushed most people who were close up.

Giving you feedback: unfortunately, it is hard to give people the detailed feedback we have. We could send you the row of the spreadsheet for the online scoring sheet (it was a google form than input the data into a spreadsheet). We could give you the spreadsheet row with your exam scores by question. (if you want these things, send me email – be sure to include your wiscmail account). I could write a script to send everyone emails (with this data formatted nicely), like I did for Project 1. (but not this week) – however even if I did give you all the data, it doesn’t capture all of the discussion (Adam and I discussed each project and final grade and boundary case in detail).

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