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Speaker: Dr. Sue King, University of California, Irvine
Title: “Adaptive Grading: Using a Simple R Script to More Fairly and Equitably Assign Grades in Organic Chemistry”

Abstract: During the past three years, a system of adaptive grading was used to more fairly and equitably assign final grades in a yearlong organic chemistry series. Using a simple R script, grades were calculated 8-21 different ways, with the weights of midterms, assigned homework, final exam, and participation scores varying between calculations. Each student earned the highest calculated grade. This proved to be a lifesaver for students during the sudden move to online classes and other unique challenges arising from the pandemic. With the weights of different course components adjusted in line with their strengths and struggles, students were able to overcome setbacks, such as missed assignments, that might otherwise have jeopardized their standing in the course. This strategy universally helped students earn a grade that represented their true standing in spite of the disruptions that unequally affected different students, and it significantly closed gaps for first generation students, low-income students, and other underrepresented groups pre-pandemic. During the pandemic, this strategy was not enough to entirely mitigate the upheaval of the pandemic, and thus students from vulnerable groups lost some of their pre-pandemic gains.


The Chemistry and Biochemistry Departmental Seminar Series covers a broad range of fields in the Chemical and Biochemical Sciences. In past seminars, scientists from Academia, Government, and Industry have presented their most recent discoveries and contributions in their respective areas. This Seminar Series offers students and faculty the opportunity to interact directly with other leaders in their specializations and to gain a good overview of the entire range of fields in Chemistry and Biochemistry.


This seminar will take place virtually.

  • Maryanna Sapp
  • Melissa Suarez

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