Course Assessment


Rebecca Kundrik, Science, Year 1

One of the reasons UST is nicknamed University of Stress and Tension is because of the dreaded bell curve grading system. While on its own bell curve grading is not so entirely evil, UST is full of hardworking and talented students; one needs to work for good grades here. I can’t say I’m fond of the system because firstly, often I feel my grade doesn’t accurately reflect how much of the course I understood and also, I find it very stressful as I have no idea what grade to expect in a course. Until the final grades are released, it’s complete anticipation for me; sometimes I do far better than expected and unfortunately sometimes I do worse. It’s hard to come up with a very complete explanation of the grading here because it really depends on the department and on the professor for how he or she distributes the grade. I found that generally for my first year, achieving the mean was a B. One SD above the mean turned out to be around an A-. One has to do exceptionally well to expect an A+. However, in other classes, the mean is a C+ (ouch!).

I’ve found that most of my core courses have followed approximately the same assessment scheme (as follows): (Please keep in mind that this is coming from a student in the school of science. If you are planning to join the school of business the composition for most courses is weighted heavily with presentations and projects.)
15% Quizzes/Homeworks
35% Midterm
50% Final

I really like this setup. Each individual quiz or homework is not worth a large percentage so their is no need to stress but I can still get valuable feedback on my progress. I prefer exams over homeworks and presentations anyways so the heavy weighting is ideal. Additionally, since the midterm has a lighter weighting than the final, it is a good way to reflect on my progress in the course while still having time to improve for the heaviest portion. (Although if you screw up the midterm, it is pretty hard to come back and get an overall good grade in the course).