Last Updated on May 28, 2021 by David Shaw
I had countless experiences with rounded-up scores that gave me a different grade. While many students are unsure whether their final score would be rounded up by a professor, I know for a fact that rounded up scores can often help students obtain a better letter grade.
How do you determine if your final scores will be rounded up by your professors or not?
As a general rule, students can know if their grades will be rounded up by looking at the absence of decimal points in the grading scale provided in the course syllabus. If no decimal points are listed in the course grade, expect your professors to round up scores unless they specify numbers with decimal points.
Although it can be confusing whether your professor will eventually round up the grades or not, the best way to find out is to ask your professor directly. Let’s understand and discuss further some different scenarios in this article.
Typical Round-Off Standards For A Grade
Even if you might already know the basics, let’s put it out there again for context.
Numbers between 1-4 are rounded down while 5-9 are rounded up. If your professor decides to round off final grades, expect 89.4 to be 89.0 while 89.5 to round up to 90. It is just the basic concept of significant digits, no way for your professor would decide to round off a 0.4 to 1 on a good day.
An example grading scale like the following will likely determine whether your professor will round off grades:
- Course Syllabus Example 1 (No decimal values, professor will likely apply round off)
|Course Grade||Letter Grade||GPA|
|90% – 93%||A||4.0|
|86% – 89%||A-||3.7|
|80% – 85%||B+||3.3|
|75% – 79%||B||3.0|
|70% – 74%||B-||2.7|
|60% – 69%||C+||2.3|
|55% – 59%||C-||1.7|
|50% – 54%||D||1.0|
- Course Syllabus Example 2 (Decimal values used, professor will not likely apply round off)
|Course Grade||Letter Grade||GPA|
|92% – 97.9%||A||4.0|
|90% – 91.9%||A-||3.7|
|88% – 89.9%||B+||3.3|
|82% – 87.9%||B||3.0|
|80% – 81.9%||B-||2.7|
|78% – 77.9%||C+||2.3|
|70% – 77.9%||C||2.0|
|68% – 69.9%||D+||1.3|
|62% – 67.9%||D||1.0|
|60% – 61.9%||D-||0.7|
Like I said previously, a good hint to tell you if professors round off grades is check the use of decimal values like in the Course Syllabus Example 2 because it can be subjected to the rules of significant digit system, which is rounding down 1-4 and rounding up for 5-9 numbers. However, some professors will accept your argument or request to round off grades regardless, so communicate well with your professors on their grading styles.
Is It Possible For 0.4 Rounded Up To 1.0?
Let’s say you obtained 89.4% for your Calculus class, setting you short of 0.6% below the grade for A which is 90 and above. Is it possible for professors to round your score up to 90?
University professors generally will never round up a 0.4, but that doesn’t imply they wouldn’t round up instead if you requested for it. Professors reserve the right to apply weightings or a little boost to your course material grades before submitting your final grade.
In the end, it is up to the professor’s discretion whether to round up or disregard your request. If you’ve been putting the effort in and contributing and engaging in lecture and class activities, they will likely consider bumping you up that last point as a token of appreciation for your class participation. Conversely, if you’re inactive during class participation or demonstrate poor class performance throughout the quarter, you may be out of luck because the professor has no valid rationale to reward you the extra 0.6%.
What If Professors Won’t Round-Up 0.5 to 1.0?
If you’re having difficulty convincing your professor to round up a 0.5 to 1.0, chances are some of your classmates are facing the same issue too. In times like this, come together as a group with your classmates instead of arguing alone to inflict constructive pressure to better convince your professors to bump the grades.
From a personal experience of mine, I remember signing up for a Discrete Math class back in college when all my classmates were struggling to keep up with the class materials. In the end, after gathering our voices to propose applying weighted grades to our professor, we not only bumped our grades by an additional 5% but also led to our professor’s decision to curve the grades so more students could pass the class.
I believe as students, a reasonable plea or request for professors to bump up or modify the grading rubric is definitely possible if being doing appropriately. As long the proposal is logically reasonable and does not break the college rules, never abuse your rights as a student towards your professor, they have rules set by higher authorities they need to obey as well.
If you’re just browsing and learning about this topic out of curiosity, you can expect a handful of professors across colleges or universities to round up course grades, or will be open-minded and convinced to do so.
Other than that, understand or reflect on your performance in class before appealing to your professors for grade requests. Don’t expect professors to favor you if you have no evidence to convince them you’re putting in effort into the class which is typically the reason why students are angry at their professors. Next thing you know, students will either flood the professor’s review on social media or RateMyProffessors. As long as you’re putting a good amount of effort into a class, requesting grading favors should be the least of your worries or challenges.