The Levine Law of Diminishing Test Returns (I’ve not seen it quoted elsewhere in this fashion, so I lay claim) states: “If one factor of a grade is altered, while the others stay constant, the overall effect of the next test on your grade will relatively decrease after a point.” Thus, for example, if one’s first two exam grades are a 90 and a 74.2 respectively (and each counted as 30% of the final grade), and one posesses a project grade of 95, as well as 5 points of extra credit, one needs a third exam grade of 14/15 (93%) to obtain a solid “A”. However, one needs only a 70% to get a “B”, and only 35.8% to receive a “C”. This has enormous implications for grading and scholarly work – if one cannot raise one’s own grades, even with a tremendous amount of effort, then the effort is wasted. Of course, the point at which the law begins to operate is uncertain, as it varies with the actual constant grades and other factors.

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