## Jack Applin

A≥ 90
B≥ 80
C≥ 70
D≥ 60
F< 60

I generally assign letter grades according to the table at the right. Invariably, after the grades are released, a student will write to me, saying something like this:

I checked my grade, and I see that I’m getting a C. Is this before or after curving? I earned 79.8 points, which rounds to 80, so this should be a B. My other professors round up this way. Besides, I need a B to keep my scholarship.

Let’s consider these one by one:

Is this before or after curving?
It’s after curving. I would not be so cruel as to post a letter grade that isn’t what you will get.
I earned 79.8 points, which rounds to 80, so this should be a B.
Firstly, you probably didn’t earn 79.8 points. You probably earned fewer points, which got curved up to 79.8.
Secondly, as a professional computer scientist, I know how to compare numbers. 79.8 is less than 80. Yes, 79.8 is close to 80, but it’s less than 80. The cutoff is 80. The fact that 79.8 is near the cutoff is a shame, but that’s how it is. I have to draw the line somewhere. Where should it be? 79.8? 79.7? 79.5? I have chosen 80.
My other professors round up this way.
That’s great. I follow my published syllabus, which says you get a B if your points are ≥ 80.
Besides, I need a B to keep my scholarship.
What you need is your business. My job is to assign the letter grade that you have earned.