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Factors in Determining Your Grades

by Ron Kurtus (updated 28 February 2022)

Your grade in a class is determined by several factors. Most teachers emphasize the score on the final exam in determining your grade, followed by an average of your quiz scores. Some teachers grade homework, and others include class participation in your grade. Finally, there is the hidden factor of whether the teacher likes you or not.

It is good to know how to optimize your efforts in these various factors, so that you will get top grades in your classes.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Test scores most important

The scores you get in quizzes, tests, and especially the final exam usually count the most in determining your grade. Since these scores are so important, you need to learn to be good at taking tests.

Note taking helps studying for exams

First of all, you must have good study habits and be able to learn the material being taught. A very effective way to remind yourself of what was taught in class, as well as to study for a test or exam, is to take good notes during class.

Besides taking notes, you should re-do them to organize your thoughts and improve your memory of the material.

Learn to be good in tests

If you want to get good grades in school, it is well worth your while to learn to be good in taking tests.

You can often learn to do well in tests by practicing working under the pressure of taking a test. This can be done by putting time-constraints on your homework, thus simulating taking a test.

Of course, this does not work for all types of homework, but it is good to do once in a while.

Participation and homework

In order to prepare for tests and especially the final exam, you must participate in class and do your homework. Teachers often include both as part of your final grade.

Class participation

Class participation consists of volunteering to answer questions from the teacher, as well as contributing in class discussion. If you raise your hand to answer some question, your teacher will feel you know the material and grade you accordingly.

It is worthwhile noting the questions the teacher asks, because they may be considered important and may be asked again in a test.

Neal would often raise his hand and ask the teacher questions about the subject. He thought he was impressing his teacher with his desire to learn.

However, the teacher often grew impatient with Neal and told him to study harder.

You can also ask questions to clarify material you don't understand. But too many questions can give the impression that you haven't studied. It can even be annoying.


Homework is usually a combination of reading material from your textbook and doing a written assignment. Being able to read rapidly is a helpful skill for doing your homework.

The reason for homework is to practice what you have learned in class, as well as to learn some new material. It is meant to improve understanding and retention or how well you remember the material.

Many teachers grade homework and make those scores part of your final grade. However, there are other teachers who just collect the homework and check it over without giving individual grades for the work done. It is important to know how your teacher views homework.

In John's Algebra class, the teacher would have each student pass his or her homework to the person behind. Miss Krause would then give the answers and the students would grade the other person's homework. She collected the papers and recorded the grades.

Since homework is a large factor in going to school, you want to learn how to do it effectively. Furthermore, since homework can be so time-consuming, you need to know how to get it done in the shortest possible time.

Teacher-student relationships

Although teachers are supposed to grade purely on your test scores and homework grades, many teachers add their personal feelings to the grade.

Considerations in grading

A teacher who likes you will often give extra considerations in grading you. On the other hand, if the teacher does not like you, feels you are disruptive or even disagrees with some views you may have, he or she may lean the other way and give you a lower grade than is deserved.

Avoid rubbing the wrong way

Such grading is not fair. Similar unfairness happens to people in their jobs, concerning raises and promotions. That is why it is important to avoid rubbing your teacher the wrong way or getting on the wrong side of the teacher.

Jeffery liked to make funny noises in class when the teacher was writing on the board. He didn't think the teacher knew who made the noises. Some of the other students laughed.

However, the teacher was aware who made the noises and ultimately reduced Jeffery's final grade in the class.

Be cordial and respectful

If you want decent grades from the teacher, it is worthwhile to be cordial and respectful, even if you don't like him or her.


The three major factors that determine your grades are how well you do in tests and exams, your class participation and homework, and what sort of relationship you have with your teacher.

It is very important to learn how to effectively take tests. Homework can be time-consuming, but it is important in learning and being able to pass tests and exams.

Finally, a hidden factor in what grade you get is your relationship with your teachers. Since they have the power to determine your grade, it is wise to treat them with respect.

Be proud of your achievements

Resources and references

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