MATC Mathematics Club
Lecture #49

Madison Area Technical College
Madison, Wisconsin


Spring 2006 Presentation #49 (Thursday January 26, 2006)
by Jonathan Kane

"Dropping Lowest Grades"

Abstract: Some teachers will drop one or more grades earned during a course in order to help raise students' grades. In this talk we consider the problem of finding the best r grades to drop from a collection of k grades. Many examples will be given showing that when the k grades are not all worth the same number of points, the optimal solution can be non-intuitive and tricky to identify. Many of our natural assumptions about how to find the best solution prove to be wrong. A brute-force algorithm for finding the best grades to drop would be to calculate the average grade for each subset of k - r grades of the k grades. This algorithm is inefficient and impractical to use. The talk will include a very efficient algorithm which works well in practice.

Biography:  Jonathan Kane is a Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin --Whitewater where he
has been teaching a variety of mathematics, computer science, statistics, and actuarial mathematics courses since 1980. He has
a Ph.D. in mathematics as well as masters degrees in statistics and computer science all from the University of Wisconsin. He
has published articles in his thesis area of Several Complex Variables and in Probability Theory. He is author of the computer
grade book program GRADE GUIDE marketed as shareware since 1985 as well as the shareware program Sudoku Studio. Dr. Kane is a former chair of the Wisconsin Section of the Mathematics Association of America.

Click here to download Professor Kane's Powerpoint presentation.

Click on any of the above pictures for the original sized image file.



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