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Ryan’s Theory of Grade Points

Yesterday at work after discovering the last of my grades, I came up with what I think is a reasonable way to think about grades, at least for me. By taking the 0.0-4.0 grade as an exponent of 10 provides a number that seems to me to be about equivalent to how well I actually did in a class. For example, I feel that my 3.9 is Computational Bioengineering was about 10 times better than the 2.9 I got in BioChem. Similarly, the 4.0 I got in 467 was about 1.25 times better than the 3.9 I got in my BioE classes.

This paradigm translates fairly well to letter grades as well: Each half-letter grade (ie, A to A-, which is equivalent to 4.0 to 3.7) represents a 2 to 2.5 multiple of the “grade goodness.”

B+ = 3.3 -> A- = 3.7 = 10^3.7 / 10^3.3 = 2.5x difference
B- = 2.7 -> B = 3.0 = 10^3.0 / 10^2.7 = 2x difference

I’m not sure how well it translates to very low grades, but it seems to work well down to my lowest UW grade — a 2.4 — where the system tells me that I did about 40 times worse than I could have, which certainly feels about right.

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