Students at any college or university know how important the average score is. For one, it’s oftentimes the metric that determines whether you get honors or not (particularly “Latin” honors, like summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude) upon graduation. However, it’s not only the graduation honors that are determined by your grade average. Your average score would also heavily influence other things, such as eligibility to take some classes, eligibility to be part of some school activities and organizations, and the like.
The basic way of computing for the average, of course, is by summing up the amounts for each item, and then dividing the total by the number of items. So, for instance, you have three items, and the points for each are 89, 95 and 93 percent, respectively. Summing these up, you get 277. Divide these by three, you get 92.33. Therefore, the average among these three is 92.33.
However, when you are computing for grade averages in college or university, you have to factor in the weight of each item. In particular, you have to consider how many units any particular subject or course entails. For example, classes might constitute three units each subject. But major subjects might be given a weight of five units or even more. Minor subjects might be given a minimal one or two units. Some non-academic subjects might even be assigned units just to determine the number of hours per week of course work, but are not counted toward the average.
In calculating your average score, then, you would need to multiply your grade in a subject by the number of units assigned to this subject. You then get the total, and then divide this by the total number of units, instead of the number of subjects. You then arrive at your grade average.
For example, Math is five units, and English and History are three units each. You have a grade of 89 in Math, 95 in English, and 93 in History. You then need to multiply these by the number of units, in which you get 445 + 285 + 279, for a total of 1,009. You then divide this by the total number of units, which is 11, and you arrive at an average of 91.73. Notice how different this grade average is from the example computed above.
Note that the same concept applies to schools that use different grading systems, for as long as this is numeric. For instance, some schools would use a gauge of 1 to 5, with 0.25 increments in between, with 1 being highest and a grade of 5 being a failing grade. Some would use a gauge of 1 to 4, with 4 being the highest, and 1 being a failing grade. Whichever system is being used, the same concept of getting the average still applies. Just remember that you will have to apply the weights for each subject when computing for the average.
Computing for your grade average can be useful when applying for scholarships or postgraduate studies, signing up for special classes, or trying out for athletics teams. It’s a good idea to keep track of your grade average as you progress with your studies, as this can you determine trends in your grades—whether you are improving or not.