The overall grade for a subject in the report seems wrong


The overall grade for one of my child's subjects seems wrong. (She scored an A+ in one assignment and got A in a test, but has an overall grade of C.)


It is most likely that the results are correct. Not all tasks contribute equally to an overall score, and it is possible for a student to have an average overall result even if she did excel in one or two tasks. 


The overall grade for a subject is calculated based on individual scores for tasks, the weighting of the task, and the weighting of the category each task is in. Weightings reflect how much work or effort is required for the task, and how important a category is within the subject. For example, a ten-minute quiz will not contribute the same amount to the overall grade as a project that requires the student to write 2,000 words or conduct several weeks of research. The amount any one task contributes to the overall score can be determined by a mathematical equation:

Contributing score = score for the task x weighting for the task x weighting for the task's category

For example, if the student scored 100% for a test, but that task had a weighting of 10% and the category had a weighting of 20%, the score would contribute only 2% of the overall score (100% x 10% x 20%). Had the student scored 50% for the same test, that would have contributed 1% to the overall score. This is because the weightings are low.

On the other hand, if a student scored 90% for a major project with a task weighting of 80% and a category weighting of 60%, the score would contribute 43.2% of the overall grade (90% x 80% x 60%), with that task making up 48% of the overall score (assuming a score of 100% was attained).

So if your child has an overall score that seems less (or more) than it should be, have a close look at the weightings. Chances are the overall grade is correct.

It's actually a little (or a lot!) more complicated than this. Only the tasks that have been assessed (to date) are included in the calculation of the overall grade. The same applies to the categories; if none of the tasks in a category have been assessed, then the category is not included in calculations either. This means that the weightings for assessed tasks and categories are temporarily adjusted.

For example, if a category has three tasks with weightings of 20%, 20% and 60%, and only the first two tasks have been assessed, they will each be temporarily treated as having a weighting of 50%. This makes sense, because the two assessed tasks are of equal weighting, and each represents half of the work assessed so far.

Because of this, the overall grade can be expected to fluctuate each time an additional task is assessed. The amount of fluctuation depends on the consistency of the student.

If you do the calculations yourself and find that overall grade does not match your calculations, contact your child's teacher and provide your calculations. In exceptionally rare situations, it is possible that weightings are not applied correctly, resulting in an incorrect overall result. But let us emphasise that these situations are extremely rare.