This course is currently in-between semesters— the information on this website is presented for informational purposes only; material is subject to change for active semesters.

Policy on grade rounding

Grades are not rounded up; the reasoning for this policy is reflected in the following statement on grade rounding, borrowed from Joseph O'Rourke of Smith:

“It is my practice not to round the numerical grade before mapping to letter grades. This can be a sore point, so let me explain. For example, I use ≥90.00 as the transition from a B+ to an A-. This means that if your numerical grade is 89.9, I map it to a B+ and not an A-. It can be heartbreaking to miss a grade boundary by -0.1, I know. But to round up, say, every numerical grade ≥89.50 to 90.00 and map that to an A-, means that the transition from B+ to A- is actually 89.50, not 90.00. And that would mean that a grade of 89.4 would miss a grade boundary by -0.1. (It would also mean that me announcing the grade boundary of 90.00 is not accurate.) No matter what policy is followed, some could miss a grade boundary by a hair. Even though there may be some psychological difference between the two situations, I prefer to keep it straightforward by announcing the sharp grade boundary and then following it strictly. I find it helps keeps the process more objective, and does not allow room for subjective grade adjustments, which are almost always unfair.”