Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Throwing Out the Lowest Score.

Throwing Out the Lowest Score

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 21, 2022)

3

I remember when I was in junior high school, my algebra teacher (Mr. Jones) would periodically take pity on us and institute a grading plan that was actually quite helpful. Mr. Jones would take a look at all our quiz scores for the grading period, and then throw out the lowest score. (Sometimes I think that is all that got me through his class.)

Using Excel, Mr. Jones could easily have automated the throwing out of the lowest score. For instance, let's say that the quiz scores for the period were in cells B3:B12. Putting the following in cell B13 provides a total for the scores:

=SUM(B3:B12)

This isn't exactly what is wanted, since the lowest score is still figured into the total. To throw out the lowest score, simply change the formula in B13 to the following:

=SUM(B3:B12)-SMALL(B3:B12,1)

The SMALL worksheet function returns, in this case, the lowest score in the range. When that is subtracted from the total, the result is that the lowest score is removed from the mix. You could also use a slightly different formula to remove the lowest score:

=SUM(B3:B12)-MIN(B3:B12)

Either approach will work fine. Plus, if there are two or more identical low scores, then only one of those scores is thrown out; the others remain in the result returned. This is exactly what you would want to have happen if you are only tossing out a single low score, not all low scores.

(Mr. Jones would have been more impressed with this than he was with my algebra skills.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12358) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Throwing Out the Lowest Score.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Weird Actions for Arrow Keys and Enter

If your arrow keys and the Enter key aren't working as you expect them to, the problem could have any number of causes. ...

Discover More

Creating Custom Document Properties

Word allows you to keep track of any number of custom properties about a document. Here's how to create those properties ...

Discover More

Can't Find or Delete a Style

Using the shortcuts available in the Styles pane to select text can be very helpful. It may, however, be quite ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Calculating an Expanding Square

When doing a systematic search for rescue purposes, it isn't unusual to implement what is termed an "expanding square." ...

Discover More

Incrementing Numeric Portions of Serial Numbers

If you use serial numbers that include both letters and numbers, you might wonder how you can increment the numeric ...

Discover More

Calculating an IRR with Varying Interest Rates

You might wonder how you can calculate an IRR (internal rate of return) when the person repaying the loan pays different ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 4?

2022-05-24 09:58:43

J. Woolley

@Dave Bonin
You're right. It's been a LONG time since I was in school. I was thinking of scores for the class, not for a single student. And I wondered why the teacher would throw out the lowest score for the class. Mea culpa.
Statistics depend upon your assumptions (or your point of view).


2022-05-23 10:14:48

Dave Bonin

Mr. Wooley,

It appears you may have mis-read the setup. Though not specifically stated, it appears Mr. Jones was willing to throw out ONE lowest score, not ALL lowest scores.

Consider the case where a student took five quizzes and received a grade of 70 on each.

Allen's formulas would give the student a calculated overall score of 70.

Your formula would give the student a calculated overall score of 0.


2022-05-22 14:48:07

J. Woolley

If there are two or more identical low scores, who gets the credit? This seems more fair:
=SUMIF(B3:B12,">"&MIN(B3:B12))
Mark Twain: "There are lies, damned lies, and statistics."


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.