How to Calculate the Average After Midterms

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Whether you're a freshman or in your last year of post-graduate studies, the middle of the semester is a stressful time. You've got tests, papers and research in most classes, and grades that can make or break the remainder of your first half of the school year. Most students take a guess at midterm grades, but it would be easier if a calculation could be made, with variables interchanged for the number of assignments leading up to the heavily weighted midterm exam.

    Write down or gather all your grades from homework and assignments graded up to the midterm exam. Each one of these assignments will be graded as a numerator and denominator (such as 40 points out of a possible 45).

    Add up the points earned for homework (or your homework numerators) and do the same for the total possible points (or your homework denominators).

    Take both of those numbers, which can be expressed as HWn and HWd and plug them into the following equation: 100 * HWn/HWd. This equation will allow you to see what your homework average (HWa) is, in terms of a percentage.

    Use your midterm grade, expressed in a percentage, to find a midterm average for all your homework and tests. An equation for this particular calculation could look like this:

    MA = (0.5 * HWa + 0.25 * ME) / (0.75).

    Take note that the "0.25" means that the midterm exam (ME) was worth 25 percent of your grade, while the "0.5" means homework was worth half your grade, but this might differ, depending on your teacher's grading structure. Check your syllabus for particular percentages or weights of exams. The "0.75" at the end of the equation represents the normalization factor. It was obtained by adding your two percentages, which reflect the weight of a midterm exam (0.25) and homework (0.5).

    Put your values in the equation to find your average: For example, say you have seven assignments. Six of those assignments are on the midterm report, as well as a midterm exam. Those assignments total up to a possible 60 points, of which you have earned 56. The midterm exam was worth 100 points, and you got 89 points. Because homework counts for 50 percent of your midterm grade and the exam counts for 25 percent, the equation would look like this:

    MA = (0.5_93.3 + 0.25_89)/(0.75) MA = (46.65 + 22.25)/(0.75) MA = 91.86

    Tips

    • The equation listed in Step 4 is expressed in terms of all homework from the first half of the first semester being turned in and graded. If your class assigned nine assignments, but only five have been graded in this semester, a normalization factor needs to be accounted for. This would change the multiplier in front of HWa to the following: (5/9)*(1/2) = 0.278.

      Additionally, the normalization factor (0.278) needs to be added to "0.25" to properly calculate the percentage of homework graded, as well as the midterm exam. Given both situations, the formula would look as follows:

      MA = ( 0.278 * HWa + 0.25 * ME ) / (0.528)

References

About the Author

Dan Gaz is a graduate of Indiana University with degrees in both exercise science and applied sport science. A self-proclaimed Internet Renaissance man, Gaz is a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. His work can be seen in the "Post-Bulletin" (Rochester, Minn.) and on various websites.

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