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comment by b_b
b_b  ·  3042 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How to Game a Grading Curve

Grading on a curve is retarded to begin with. If the professor only gives an exam about what (s)he taught, then its up to the students to pass or fail. If the professor knows from experience that the mean score on exam will be low, then they can define a score of, say, 40% as minimum passing grade, and, say, 80% as an 'A'. That way it can't be gamed. As long as the target isn't moving it can't be manipulated.

cgod  ·  3041 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The curve helps control certain problems with test. A problem that was really just too damn hard for almost all the class. For instance a problem where all but one or two students in a high level class can come to grips with in a half hour or so. Material the teacher meant to cover, but didn't. You can say it's all the professors fault and that they should have written a better test, but many professors got where they are by excelling in their field, not by being fantastic test writers.

I would rather have a percentage of professors that are respected experts in their field of study then just professors that are good at writing comprehensive exams. Most students look at these things only from a fairness perspective and don't value having talented practitioners with a few teaching deficits, but experts are good for university programs overall.

Not that the curve is the best thing ever. I remember an mathematical econ class where there was a student who consistently completed exams in a half hour of a two hour exam who got every problem correct, with no other student scoring 100%. That guy really harshed on our curve.

briandmyers  ·  3041 days ago  ·  link  ·  

> That guy really harshed on our curve.

Always the problem with curves. Seems that some discarding of outliers could fix that problem.

cgod  ·  3041 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The professor in question was a talented mathematician, she did reduce his effect on the curve, but didn't wholly eliminate it.

jmcs  ·  3042 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You can also have to opposite problem I had a professor giving a test so easy that the worse grade was 17 out of 20. I would prefer an almost impossible test and then be graded against my classmates, you just have to provide some rules against gaming (minimum requirements for example).

geneusutwerk  ·  3041 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I had one professor who would pick the best score for each short answer and then then grade everyone else based off of that score. Of course she also had a rule that if the best wasn't good enough she could grade against her own standard.

It wasn't probably the most scientific way of grading but it was interesting.

She also pretended to be entirely blind to who took each test, so everyone got a random number ahead of time and then you went to talk to her about the test and told her your number, and she'd give you that test. You could then look at everyone's test to compare them. During this conversation she would refuse to admit that it was your test and just pretended like it was something you were interested in looking at.

b_b  ·  3042 days ago  ·  link  ·  

From experience, I can say that the first time you give a test its a bit of a craps shoot. Every subsequent semester you have a pretty good idea of how the class will do. Students, in the aggregate, don't generally change from one semester to the next.