Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Final grades

I've just posted your final grades on myBama, and I just updated the gradebook on Blackboard to include your final exam scores and overall averages. Have a look.

The final exam average was about 80%. For the problems portion you averaged 78.9%, and for the multiple choice you averaged 79.5% after scaling. The problems section went well, and there was no scaling. The multiple choice section went ... less well. The raw average was in the 60% range, so I scaled it by taking your best 9 out of 12 multiple choice questions and adding 7% (with a maximum of 107% on this section). The average of the multiple choice and problems sections then determined your final exam grade, and the class average was about 79.2% for the final exam as a whole, with a standard deviation of 13%.

Quite a few people changed grades (like B+ to A- and vice versa) as a result of the final. Many went up, many went down. On average, your final exam grades were about 2% lower than your average going into the final. Not many of you changed by more than half a letter grade, but some of you did. Those are the breaks, and I really hate doing it. Assigning final grades is agonizing, even when it is basically just by-the-numbers, and even after all the scores are in and the grades calculated it takes me hours to pull the trigger and submit grades.

In the end, the overall class average was 85.5% with a standard deviation of 8.65%, which is quite high. Most of you got A's and B's, and I'm fine with that.

I know some of you will be oddly surprised by a higher-than-expected grade, but a good number of you will also be annoyed by a lower-than-expected grade. Look at your final exam scores and overall grade breakdown on BlackBoard, and keep in mind that the final exam was worth quite a bit (so it was possible to change your grade by a fair amount).

If things don't seem to add up, or you have questions, let me know ASAP - we have just under 24 hours to easily alter things before the deadline if a mistake is found. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Final grades are not ready yet

Those aren't the final grades on Blackboard - I'm still not finished grading the final exams. I should have the finals graded by the end of the day, and hopefully I'll have final grades calculated this evening.

I'll post here when the grades have been updated so you know for sure, and I will also include a column for the final exam score on Blackboard.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


At 5am Friday morning, the power is going out in the building that has the server hosting all of my of my PH125 files. While this page will remain up (being hosted by Google), all old and current HW, exams, etc will not be available from 5-6am or so.

(The relevant server was actually turned off preventatively late this afternoon, as I had forgotten to tell the IT guy I really needed it to stay up. He agreed to keep it running up until the power outage, though I may owe him a beer now.)

This should not be a problem, but just in case you find dead links, I'm copying all of my old PH101, PH105, and PH125 material to my dropbox account in a publicly-viewable folder.

Again, right now and up until about 5am Friday morning, everything should be fine. If you can't get to the HW, exams, etc., try the link above. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Final exam layout

The final exam will be broken up into 5 sections. In each section, you will have a few required multiple choice questions and a choice of problems (4 problems given, solve any 2). The multiple choice questions will require some calculations, but will be much shorter than the problems. Here are the details of each section, with the corresponding sections of the book noted.

Overall, you need to do 10 problems and 12 multiple choice questions. An extensive formula sheet will be given, and you will be allowed to bring in two sheets of paper (front and back) with your own notes.

Section 1: Kinematics

  • 2.2-10 (1D motion)
  • 4.2-7 (2D motion)
  • 5.2-9, 6.2-5 (forces)

2 required multiple choice questions, choose 2 of 4 problems

Section 2: momentum and energy

  • 7.2-8 (K, work)
  • 8.2-8 (PE, consv. E)
  • 9.2-10 (p)

4 required multiple choice questions, choose 2 of 4 problems

Section 3: rotation and gravitation

  • 10.2-10 (rotation)
  • 11.2-4, 6-11 (torque, angular momentum)
  • 13.2-8 (gravitation)

1 required multiple choice question, choose 2 of 4 problems

Section 4: oscillations and waves

  • 15.2-7 (oscillations)
  • 16.2-10, 17.2-5 (waves)

2 required multiple choice questions, choose 2 of 3 problems

Section 5: fluids & thermodynamics

  • 14.2-10 (fluids)
  • 18.6-11 (temperature, heat)
  • 19.3-5, 11 (kinetic theory of gasses)

3 required multiple choice questions, choose 2 of 4 problems

Exam 4 and its solution

Here is exam 4 and its solution. Though it was an optional exam, it is a reasonable guide to what sort of questions I might ask about oscillations and gravitation on the final.

Details of the final exam coming soon.

HW6 solutions

Here you go. Final exam details and Exam 4 solutions coming shortly.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Grades updated

I've posted the grades to Blackboard again, and the lab grades should show up now. I also made a few corrections based on your feedback.

Please check carefully that all the HW sets you turned in have grades. If your lab or quiz average doesn't seem to make sense, let me know and I'll give you a detailed breakdown.

If you took the optional fourth exam on Wednesday, I'll have your graded exams back on Friday. Though very few of you took it, you chose wisely: each of you did improve your grade. (That's not to say anyone made a mistake by not taking it - for the fourth exam to really be a good call, you had to be on the borderline between grades and have one anomalously low exam grade. Not many of you fit that scenario.)