Tuesday, December 31, 2013

How to Calculate Your Grade

In my last post I taught you How to Calculate Your GPA, in this post, I will be teaching you how to calculate your grade.  Grades are MUCH more complicated than GPA.  So if finding your GPA was hard for you, you might just want to ask your teacher or find out if your grade is posted online.

There are several different ways to find a student’s final grade. The two most common grading systems are Norm-Referenced and Criterion-Referenced.  Norm-Referenced means you are evaluated based on your relationship to how well other students did.  This is more common in college.  Some examples of this is grading on a curve, choosing a certain percent of students to get an A, B, C, D and F, and percentile ranking, such as in state testing.   Criterion-Referenced means you are evaluated based on how well you perform according to pre-determined standards or rubrics.  Almost all high school classes use this grading system.  For more information about these two grading systems, visit this site.

If your teacher uses a Norm-Referenced system, you will not be able to calculate your grade.  You need other students’ grades to calculate your grade but other students’ grades are confidential material. 

If your teacher uses a Criterion-Referenced system, you may be able to calculate your grade.  The first step is to find your class syllabus.  The class syllabus should say how you are being graded in the class.

Most teachers either use a points-based system, a percentage-based system, or a mixture of both. 

A points-based system is where each assignment is worth a different amount of points according to how much the assignment is “worth” and then all assignments are added together then divided by the amount of possible points for the final grade.  In this type of system you may see homework as 10-point assignments and your final as a 250-point assignment. 

In a percentage-based system all assignments are worth the same amount of points (usually 10 or 100), but when the grade is calculated, different types of assignments comprise different percentages of the grade.  In this case, your homework and final would both be 100-point assignments, but your homework may only be 10% of your final grade and your final may be 25% of your final grade.

When I taught, I used a mixture of the two.  I used a point-based system within a percentage-based system.  For example, homework was worth 15% of the final grade, but some homework assignments were worth more points than others.  This is the most complicated, so most teachers that use this will use a computerized grade book.  Most of these have online components, so you won’t have to worry about calculating this yourself.  If you have questions about your grade and your teacher uses this system, it is best to schedule a meeting with your teacher outside of class time.

 How to Calculate Your Grade in a Points-Based System 

The first thing you want to do is to make a list of all of the assignments completed, how many points they were worth, and how many points you earned.  It will look something like this:

Then add up all of the points earned to find your total points earned and add up all of your possible points to find your total possible points.

After you’ve found both sums, you will divide your total points earned by your total possible points.  You should get a decimal.  Multiply this decimal by 100 to find your percentage grade.

How to Calculate Your Grade in a Percentage-Based System

The first thing you want to do is to make category lists of all of the assignments completed and how many points you earned.  It will look something like this:

Then you need to write down how what percent of your grade each category is worth.  Also, find the total points earned for each category.  Multiply the percent in decimal form by the points earned to find the percent earned.  Once you’ve found the percent earned for each category, average them together to find your total grade.


Here is a FREE PDF printable grade calculator for points-based systems and an EDITABLE Excel workbook grade calculator for both points-based systems and percentage-based systems.  Download on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Students:  Questions about your grade?  Ask below!
Teachers: How do you grade?  Which system do you use?  Do you use a computer program?  I always used Engrade.

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