Posted by: thebylog | December 3, 2004

Curves Redux

Awhile back, I had a discussion with a friend about the validity of using curves when grading students. You know, what ever happened to the idea of an objective standard?

I was thinking of this again in relation to my big ol’ Material Science class. There’s probably 140 people in there. The odds that there would be an extraordinarily above-average class with that many people are pretty long.

Now, there’s this class that I’m going to take next term that probably will have less than 10 students in it. I don’t know if a curve is fair in that instance.

But then there’s the fact of the difficulty of writing completely fair tests. In the case of a non-standardized situation, there’s always the danger that the prof will write an unusually difficult one. It seems if the class is big enough, you can let the class show you how hard the test is, but if the class is tiny, it could be possible that you could have an exceptional or mediocre class. Maybe I’ll talk to my professor about it next quarter.

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