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Grades and Documentation
At the end of a class, we can provide a few different types of documentation, upon request.
On this page
- Submitting A Request
- Types of Documentation
- Examples of Documentation
- Translating Progress Into Letter Grades
Submitting a Request
You can request documentation by going to Requests page while logged into the student account and clicking the button.
For Contest Preparation courses, we can provide a Certificate of Enrollment or Completion.
For subject and computer science courses, we can provide a Grade Report, a Certificate of Enrollment or Completion, or a Summary of Coursework.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any assistance submitting your request.
Types of documentation
A Grade Report provides a brief description of the course as well as information about how the student did in the course.
In a request for a Grade Report, please specify whether you would like
- only a letter grade (no instructor comments),
- only instructor comments (no letter grade), or
- both a letter grade and instructor comments
Please see the Translating Progress into Letter Grades section for more information about our grading philosophy and how we translate this progress into letter grades at the end of a course, if requested.
Certificate of Enrollment or Completion
A Certificate of Enrollment confirms a student is currently (or was) enrolled in a particular Art of Problem Solving course. A Certificate of Completion is similar to the Certificate of Enrollment, but instead recognizes a student's successful completion of the course.
Summary of Coursework
A Summary of Coursework is a one-page document that very briefly summarizes what classes a student has taken and the letter grade earned in each.
Translating Progress into Letter Grades
At the end of a course, we can provide a grade for any student who has completed a subject or computer science course, upon request. If you have any question about grades or you would like to request a grade for a class, please contact us at email@example.com. We only provide student grades on request.
Below are some notes on our grading philosophy and standards, as well as answers to a few common questions.
Our Take on Grades
Grades: we don't like them. In our online courses, we assess our students constantly. As they move through their homework, they are told how well they are doing by a series of colorful bars that track their progress. We use all of these micro-level assessments to motivate the students and encourage them to keep working and to get better. The trouble comes when we generate data that's designed to motivate and guide students' actions, and then try to reuse it to evaluate students. A student's grade needs to be a message of how well the student understands the subject and the student's performance in the class. This is a related, but different, problem.
Grades: we love them. A grade is a key. It tries to quickly provide information to a person or institution about a student's level of understanding of the material contained within a course. Students who belong at AoPS don't typically belong elsewhere. We understand that students often need grades from us in order to continue studying with us, so grades are a byproduct of the privilege of working with such amazing students.
The short version is that we will gladly give students grades, but instructors will assign grades holistically. That is, grades will only partly be based on what students see on their Report Tab—most of the information there is generated automatically. The numbers are a good place to start, but our instructors look closely at what a student's done in class beyond just numerical data. Has the student shown growth through the course? If the student did poorly in a couple of weeks was it a comprehension issue or a time issue? Did the student incorporate homework feedback? Assigning grades goes deeper than adding a handful of numbers.
"Getting an A"
Students are told that their progress bars will turn green when the system has evaulated that they've done enough work to "pass" that particular component of the week's work.
As a result, there is only one promise that we will make: for courses without auto-graded writing problems, if every bar on a student's report is green or blue, then we will always give that student an A. This rule is simple: Green is where we tell the students that they're done and they can move on, and it would be unfair not to reward students for reaching that point. This is the baseline we start with when we're assigning grades.
This does not mean that a student who has a few non-green or blue bars cannot receive an A. Aside from the above, we will not commit to a particular grade without fully assessing the student's progress.
Also, note that we can't make that promise for courses with auto-graded writing problems, since we will always have to reevaluate what a student submitted for the auto-graded writing problems manually and take that into consideration when determining a letter grade for these courses.
Finally, we don't look very hard at the overall bars when assigning grades, so a student shouldn't think too hard about what they mean in terms of final grades. The weights we put on the individual scores to create those overall bars are meaningful, and are meant to help students track their overall progress in an AoPS course— but when assigning final grades, we've found that they don't tell a very complete story.
A grade of Incomplete
There are two general cases in which we assign grades of Incomplete. If a student does not finish enough work in the class, especially toward the end of the class, we may not be able to assign a grade. Alternatively, if a student does not solve enough of the writing problems in a class, we may not be able to assign a grade.