Effects of Exam Grade "Dropping" on Course Grade Distributions
I compare the distributions of students' final grades in classes with two distinct grading schemes. With the first, students' course grades are the mean of some number n of exam grades. With the second, students' course grades are the mean of the n - 1 highest exam grades; in other words, the lowest exam grade is "dropped." The effect of grade dropping is examined with individual exams following uniform, exponential, and normal distributions. I focus on the case in which three exams are part of the course, although I also include a section discussing the implications of a greater number of exams. Additionally, I investigate the effect of grade dropping using real exam grade data from an undergraduate level course. Finally, the effect of grade dropping is compared between each of the above mentioned cases.