Your grade will be based on five parts, totalling 500 points:
Grades for each exam will be normalized as described below, and all subsequent calculations will be based on the normalized scores.
The purpose of normalization is to weigh each of the hour exams equally and to rank students in the class fairly. There is no set quota for any grade. It's possible for everyone to get an A if you all do well. I will tell the class after each exam approximately where the breakpoint is for each letter grade on that exam.
At the end of the term, Canvas will automatically drop your lowest of the five exam grades (three hour exams and two sections of the final exam).
An average of 90 (450 out of 500) will guarantee an A of some sort (i.e. this is the A-/B+ boundary), 80 (or 400) a B of some sort, 70 (or 350) a C of some sort, and 60 (or 300) a D. It is possible for these thresholds to be lower if we feel that everyone has performed well.
In order to make a fair comparison among different exams and students, we will normalize the scores for each of the five parts to a mean of 80 and a standard deviation of 10. Your normalized score for each exam will be:
(10/s)(X-m+8s) = 80 + (X-m)(10/s)
where X is your score, m is the mean, and s the standard deviation.
Bottom line: Normalization is about weighting all exams equally and ranking students in the class fairly. Your final grade will be based on a subjective evaluation of your performance that takes into consideration your ranking in the class. On Canvas, you will see "Exam raw" and "Exam credit." The latter is your normalized score, and only it will be used to calculate your final grade.