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Old 28 April 2010, 12:06 AM
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Casey Casey is offline
Join Date: 15 December 2003
Location: Detroit, MI
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Originally Posted by Elwood View Post
When I started college the first time, my dad told me he got a B with a 20-something % in some advanced math or science class. I used to think he made it up, but now I could see now it might happen, if graded straight. I'm not sure that method is used much anymore, at least not at WVU.

Most classes I have right now have a set number of possible points for the term, usually around 500, with strict compliance to final grades coming down in, say, 50 point intervals (or 10%, one class is 570, another is 450). So 450-500 is an A, 400-449 is a B and anything under 300 receives a failing grade. 449/500 might be 89.8%, but it's not going to get rounded up, because where does it end? If there is any curving to be done, it comes on the individual test or assignment, so that the class average works out to a mid-C, usually 74%. When my Organizational Communications class averaged 65% on an exam, the prof just added 9 points to our tests, with an allowance to go over 100%. I actually have an average well over 100% in Business Law to date right now due to that sort of thing. If I didn't bother to show up for the rest of the semester and skipped the final, I'd still have a B.

Now, one professor I had a while back just curved the class by percentile. 7% got A's, 18% got B's, 50% got C's, 18% D's, and 7% F's, period. The first day of class, he actually announced "Welcome to Geology 101, 7% of you will fail." There really wasn't any way to know how one was doing until the final grades were released, as students knew their scores, but they didn't know where they stood with respect to their classmates. Another simply did not curve at all. His scale was in 12.5% intervals instead of 10, so 87.5% for A, 75 for B and on down the line. Nobody got an A in there. 86% was the highest grade, and he didn't budge.
I had three classes in college that were that bad. In Cell Biology, his grading was so harsh that a 38% ended up as a C. I know, because that's what I got!

It was incredibly bad in my Vertebrate Anatomy class. Half the grade was essay exams, which were subject to his highly capricious grading style (having all the details he wanted might only net you a C), but the other half was comprised of 2 lab practicals. Those were something else.

67 structures to find, on various skulls, slides and dissections. Only 6 sets of slides for 24 people. Only 12 dissections. Only 4 skulls. Even getting to the point where you could look for something was an accomplishment, and it was made worse by the rest of the scale. A correct answer was worth 3, correct on the second try 1, rest nothing. He and his TA violently disagreed on basically everything, and we were in the crossfire. It was possible to gain 30 points by only asking his TA to check our IDs, as she would mark things right even if wrong, while the prof often did the opposite just to spite her.

The med school shelf exams, taken after each clinical rotation, are also graded on a curve. Problem is, the national standard is that getting below the 10th percentile is an automatic failure, so 10% fail just by walking in the room.
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Old 28 April 2010, 12:09 AM
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geminilee geminilee is offline
Join Date: 02 December 2005
Location: New Orleans, LA
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Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
Still not statistically likely unless you're using a loose definition of 'over achiever'. It's certainly not the top 10% of a students, those would be achievers or maybe high achievers, but there is nothing 'over' achieving at being the top of the class.
Not even given the number of courses taught per year, and the number of years schools have been teaching?

I don't think it is "likely" but I think it is probably "possible". And it may even be "likely" over all classes, while being incredibly unlikely for any given class.
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Old 29 June 2010, 11:44 PM
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Towknie Towknie is offline
Join Date: 25 September 2005
Location: Lewisville, TX
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The accounting department at UNT keeps a strict watch over grade distribution, and while a given class can have a skewed curve one way or the other for a semester, it had better not become a recognizable trend or the professor will have some serious explaining to do. As we get up into the advanced classes, straight percentages become nearly null and void. The professors do an analysis of where groups of students cluster in the final scores, and grade accordingly.

At the graduate level, the tax instructors revel in just outright torturing us through the semester. The top half get A's and the bottom half get B's. The people who don't show up or come to class with hangovers and do nothing, get C's. C's fail you out of grad school here, so D's and F's are inconsequential.

I found the undergraduate level too easy and over accommodating to slacker students, but I like the graduate way of doing things. They really just want us to think about what we're doing and come up with some creative ways solve problems.

Ohh.. Did I just equate accounting to creative? I didn't mean that. Really! Don't tell anyone! They'll come after my family for revealing these secrets!
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