Grade Calculator

Use this grade calculator to calculate your weighted average grade or final grade, as well as grading planning chart. The grade fields can take number as well as alphabetical. The weight fields need to be numerical. New row will be added automatically.

 Assignment or Test (optional)GradeWeight

Grade Planning Calculator

If you have a target for you grade, the following tool can help calculating the average grade needed for your future assignments or tests.

Current Average Grade:
Target Final Grade:
Current Total Weight:

RelatedGPA Calculator

The calculators above take any numerical grades and the classical five-point system (A, B, C, D, or F), which will be translated into points by the following equivalences.

Why We Get Letter Grades

The first college in the U.S. to use letter grades was Mount Holyoke, at the time an all-women's school, in Massachusetts. The college chose to use a scale of A, B, C, D, and E. E was failing.

Before that, Yale used a ranking system in 1785 where "optimi" (Latin for 'the best') was the highest mark, followed by second optimi, inferiore ("lower"), and pejores ("worse"). William and Mary ranked students by number, where No. 1 was the first in their class and No. 2 students were "orderly, correct and attentive."

For a while, Harvard had a numerical grading system where students were graded on a scale from 1-200 (except for math and philosophy classes, which were 1-100). Yale had a four-point scale in 1813, switched to a nine-point scale somewhere down the track, and back to a four-point scale in 1832.

The letter system was rapidly adopted by colleges and universities across the U.S. The only change made was to stop using the letter 'E,' and replace it with the letter 'F.' This was done because many students misunderstood the letter 'E' to mean 'excellent,' when it meant quite the opposite.

After World War II, some schools—many in the Midwest—decided to go back to E, getting rid of F.

In truth, any letter could stand in for E or F and still mean the same thing. Some schools use "U" for "unsatisfactory" or N for "no credit." Educators could use just about any letter and it would amount to the same thing. It is simply an indicator of a non-passing grade.

Do We Need Letter Grades

Many educators would like to see letter grades disappear. Critics of the grading scale believe a written analysis of students' work would be far more useful, providing specifics to change.

Supporters of the letter grading system claim that students and parents probably wouldn't read written evaluations. It is well-known that overworked teachers don't have time to provide extensive written evaluation on homework and tests.

Educators know that letter grades only provide a general idea of student performance, but they are not likely to change the system. They say that letter grades motivate many students. The goal of earning an "A" or avoiding an "F" is often enough to make students study and prepare for that next exam.

What letter grades don't do is to help students develop a growing and persistent interest in the subject, one that will empower them to continue learning beyond the tests, or even to use or remember what they learned. While letter grades motivate, they also demotivate students by discouraging them, sometimes pressuring the same students that they motivate. Ultimately, a teacher that depends upon letter grades as the sole or primary motivator risks missing out on the experience of cultivating a high-impact learning community of purpose and possibility.

Carrot and stick tactics are too extreme, many educators say. They only work in the short term.

Many educators try to create an environment that limits the role of grades in motivating students. They try to increase student performance by concentrating on where and how the students do well. It is a very different thing to learn alongside a group that wants to get a good grade. It is a completely different experience to learn with a group of people who develop a drive to learn for other reasons.

How Professors Grade

Students rarely learn the way in which professors grade both papers and tests. First of all, they don't spend a lot of time doing it. Educational studies show that most college teachers spend no more than 10 minutes on a paper or a written exam.

How can they do this? The reason is because they have so much experience grading students who take their courses. When you have graded 50, or even 70 papers a week over and over again for months, you begin to have a very good idea of what to expect. This is why students should be precise in what they write and careful in following logic.

It is also little known that grading is often outsourced. In large classes at large colleges, the professor giving the lecture is rarely the one who does the grading. Instead, there is usually a cadre of low-paid grad students who do the grading ‐ and probably not the ones who run your discussion sections. It's more likely that your grader might be an unseen and unnamed person who has been hired only to grade the written work, with no other duties in the course. Some professors actively manage the grad student or grader, going over sample papers and setting a grading scale. But other professors are happy to delegate the whole job to the underling and never set eyes on student work.