Sunday, March 3, 2013
Grading on the curve...
A fellow student gets into trouble for getting a crew cut? Protest to the administration! Students get told off for holding hands and kissing? Insist that a no PDA rule should then apply to teachers too (we had a married couple who taught at our school ... the PDA was mild, but present).
So I have to admit I had a bit of a giggle when I read about of bunch of students at John Hopkins University who decided to see if they could beat the curve used to determine their grades.
Apparently these clever little chickadees worked out that if every single one of them refused to do the test, thereby getting a zero for it, then they all would essentially have the highest mark, meaning they would all get the highest possible grade based on the rules of the system.
Ha! Didn't see that loop hole, did you, Mr Professor person!
In fact, the professor who set the exam was surprisingly cool about the whole thing. I suspect he was actually proud of them for managing to co-ordinate it all and get that many students to all agree to sit out the exam. I'm pretty sure battles have been fought that would have required less organisation than getting a hundred or so students to all agree to risk their grade like that.
I'm Australian, so I never really understood the concept of grading on the curve. When I went to school you got a mark out of a hundred and that mark determined what your grade was. There wasn't any complicated tables or graphs needed to decide whether you fell into a certain percentile. If you failed, then you failed!
And we had to walk uphill to school ... in the snow ... carrying approximately thirty seven kilos of books ... and wearing paper bags instead of shoes...
Sorry, I let my inner grumpy old man take over for a bit.
But my point about grading on the curve still stands. It hardly seems fair to me that you could get a 95%, but if everyone else in the class got 96% then you're going to fail. 95% is not a failing mark! Hell, I can say that any time I ever got 95% on anything I did heel clicks up and down the street while singing an a capella version of Knees Up Mother Brown!
Besides, I don't know if I would trust a marking system that's more complicated than the exam itself.