I am supposed to write a program that takes a person's whole name and returns the name's numerical value. The numerical value is found by the values of the letters in the name (with a=1, b=2...z=26).

This is what I have so far:

def main ():

    name = input("What is the whole name? ").lower()    #get name, make all lowercase

    alph = [" abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz"]      #list of characters

    total = 0                                   #apply value for each character in name
    for ch in name:
        total = ord(ch) + total - 96            

    print("The numerical value of the name is \n", total)   #print the result

main()

For some reason my program works with some of the names I input (such as dani = 28), but other names (notably longer ones) are not returning correct answers. What am I doing wrong?

Here is the whole homework problem for reference:

Numerologists claim to be able to determine a person's character traits based on the "numeric value" of a name. The value of a name is determined by summing up the values of the letters of the name where 'a' is 1, 'b' is 2, 'c' 3 etc., up to 'z' being 26. For example, the name "Zelle" would have the value 26+5+12+12+5=60. Write a program that calculates the numeric value of a single name provided as input.

Expand your solution to the previous problem to allow the calculation of a complete name such as "Jackson Thomas Mills." The total value is just the sum of the numeric values of all the names.

Take out the blank at the beginning of alph and ignore all characters not in alph.

A space is not considered a letter so you have to find out a way to skip it.
If you don't succeed in doing that, just return, we will help.

Add a print so you know what is going on and where the problem is occurring.

    for ch in name:
        print("\nbefore", ch, total)
        total = ord(ch) + total - 96            
        print("after", ch, total)