Curving Grades

Written by Diane Sievert
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Curving grades is a hot topic of debate amongst educators and students. Whether or not you choose to curve grades is ultimately a decision that belongs to you and you alone. It is, however, not a decision to be taken lightly for it can have a good deal of influence on your students.

The Pros and Cons of Curving Grades

One good reason to curve grades is that it is a great way to motivate your students. If the students know that someone in that class is going to fail, no matter how well he or she does on the test, they are all more likely to study harder. The drawback to this is that it can foster competition instead of compassion in the classroom environment and cut down on the number of students who are willing to work together and help their peers.

Another reason many teachers like curving grades, especially at the college level, is that it generally lowers grade inflation. This is not, however, a foolproof design as it can actually increase grade inflation in certain circumstances. If everyone does quite poorly on a given test, the best grade (even if it's a 70%) will be an A.

At the secondary level, few teachers continue curving grades. The idea is that a student's grade should reflect his or her performance in the class, regardless of how the other students perform. In general, most students detest curved grades.


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I completely agree with this poicly. I, too think this setup of numbers can be confusing, especially since some students are considered a high 1,2,3,etc., , or a low 1,2,3,etc. . In my opinion, erinm4 has a good idea of a compromise, with both the numbers and the pluses and minuses. This is an interesting topic, and I hope you get this poicly changed.