Curving Grades
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Student Life

New Flash, Curving A Student's Grade Is Actually The Worst Thing You Can Do For Them

It's not producing graduates with career readiness or motivation to acquire knowledge for themselves.


It turns out this seemingly generous implementation is actually hurting our academic development. Often times in our more challenging courses, particularly in the mathematics or science areas, students buzz about the apparently "huge curve" that saves their grade and ensures them success in the future.

The inherent problem behind this concept is, in order for your low grade to dramatically change, the distribution of marks other students receive must also be extremely low. While this often is the way it works out initially, we may take for granted the extent of this boost in our grade and solely aim to score "above the curve" or "higher than average," rather than aiming to master all of the concepts. This average grade is constantly changing and cannot be measured or predicted.

Additionally, certain classes are naturally going to have students who are inclined to score better, so what if you're placed in the section with a bunch of math majors while your equally competent friend is in the class with freshmen who are taking it as a gen ed requirement? Chances are, they will receive a much better grade than you, solely because they benefit from the low success rates in their class, which, oftentimes, varies greatly.

Additionally, examine the issue objectively: professors clearly do not want the majority of their class to fail. By enabling these educators to implement a curve, they have more of a safety net in terms of the effectiveness of their teaching being measured. Even if none of the students understand the material entirely, the ones who managed to make the most sense of it (while still not doing relatively well) and are receiving A's are going to have a false sense of confidence in that subject area. They are not truly learning the subject matter and are simply in the higher bracket compared to their peers.

For those of us who plan to go to graduate school and must take these entry-level exams that measure our aptitude for rigorous courses, we are clearly ill-prepared if we do not retain the majority of the material taught to us in fundamental courses but simply managed to "beat the statistics." Such a method adopted in education is not producing graduates with career readiness or motivation to acquire knowledge for themselves.

A much better solution would be to either make exams more comprehensible or offer incentives to complete additional work and show effort and provide an incentive by offering to boost the grades of these committed students.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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