35 Courses, 636 Letter Grades

My last adjunct contract at Bellarmine ended at 11:59 PM Wednesday night, August 3. I’m now unemployed until the University of Georgia begins on the 15th. What should I do (well, besides packing)? I’ve got a spreadsheet of my instructional assignments, the grade distributions, and my student evaluation summary marks. Hmm…

Student comments are a large and touchy subject, so even though I learned a good bit about them, I’ll defer comment for now. Perhaps for ever. Instead, I thought it would be interesting to look over my grade summary. Well, maybe it’s interesting just to me, but I’m going to do it anyway. This won’t be very granular, because I don’t want to get near FERPA restrictions. However, it would be impossible to find any specific student in this pile of 636. That’s my total count of non-withdrawn marks at Bellarmine. Unfortunately, I don’t have my grade distributions from Chicago. I had 6 courses, and a total of about 119 students, plus or minus 2.

The grades of C-, D+, and D- only became available in Fall 2010, so they are relatively infrequent. The grade of A+ is rare, because according to the official course catalog, they are “For truly exceptional work; to be awarded rarely.”

A grades: 143, 22.5%. 1 A+, 97 A, 45 A-.
B grades: 294, 46.2%. 49 B+, 175 B, 70 B-.
C grades: 153, 24.1%. 65 C+, 85 C, 3 C-.
D grades: 30, 4.7%. 2 D+, 27 D, 1 D-.
F grades: 16, 2.5%.

My median grade was B. My mean grade, using Bellarmine’s 4 point scale, was 2.81. This is significantly below the Bellarmine average grade, which is somewhere between 3.10 and 3.20. My GPA distribution should take into account the natural sciences adjustment, because hard sciences tend to have harsher grading policies than humanities. According to the paper on the grade inflation website, a 2.8 in natural sciences is equivalent to about a 3.0 in social sciences and a 3.2 in humanities. Given Bellarmine’s mix of courses, I was harder than expected, but not that much harder – about 0.1 GPA points.

According to gradeinflation.com, Bellarmine’s GPA is near the mean for all schools, and below the private school mean. It is a little stricter (0.0 to 0.1 points) than average for a private institution of its rank.

Since the purpose of this post was to provide facts, not hypotheses or explanations, I won’t add commentary here. Of course, you can feel free to do so.

About Adam

My quest is a world where calling someone "virtuous like a fairy tale hero" is routine, not fantastic or ironic. My vocation is the teaching and learning of statistics. My dream is a long happy life with a wonderful wife and kids. Who knows if any will become true? More information is at my homepage on the twelvefruits network: http://adam.twelvefruits.com
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