Poll: Grading System Flawed?

Scarim Coral

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I see it as a flaw system in that if you got a C than it should acceptable as in you just barely made it. I view C as a bronze medal and you still get praise for a bronze medal well smaller compare to silver and gold.
 

Yopaz

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C is OK, B is good. So you don't do well with anything lower than B.
 

violinist1129

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Here at Princeton we dealt with pretty bad grade inflation for a while, but now they limit how many people are allowed to get As or Bs in any given class. The mean grade is a high C which seems about as close to fair as possible. At first people complained about the limits, but there's never really a situation where enough people do well enough to warrant any more "high" grades.

I'm pretty sure the OPs getting C=Average from the fact that almost everywhere you see grade explanations a C is "average", a B is "above average", and an A is "outstanding"

On a side note, it is absolutely hilarious to watch people from private schools who are used to getting only As suddenly realize how much more work it takes to get a real A. That and the fact that their parents disown them when they see the B average their "brilliant, gifted wunderkind" is struggling to maintain.
 

Trivun

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At my old school, and at my university, it was always "B is average, C is slightly below average but still acceptable, A is good, A* or A+ is excellent". I've subscribed to that view all my life, and feel it works better than anything else I've seen. using C as an average is the flawed system, because it implies that it's fine to have results that are around 50-60% correct. It simply implies that anything better than 60% is somehow special and that we shouldn't feel a need to bother aspiring to further heights. Then again, I went to a grammar school and a pretty decent university, but hey, I'm the one who has a decent future ahead of me, so I guess that's what matters at the end of the day, right? ;D
 

SciMal

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legend of duty said:
After a test my teacher writes the class average on the board. If it is anything less than a "B" then he says you all did not do that well. This bothers me as a "C" is supposed to mean average however all of the teachers I've had have also felt this way. Not to mention many colleges also feel this way. So Escapists do you think the grading system needs to be redefined or is it fine just the way it is?
Curved average, that's how 80% of my courses have run, and that's the way to do it to be the most fair. The question is - should the professors be fair, or should they be filters?

My Neuroscience course had average test scores in the 40s and 50s - and this is at a Research 1 institution - but the professor curved it so most came out with passing.

My Genetics course, on the other hand, was a filter course. No curving, and a test every other week. Most of his students pulled a D - which is still technically passing, but won't look that great to anybody else. A significant portion failed. However, in the field of genomic research, the stuff was necessary to learn; you had to know it.

So, I'd put it like this to you, Op: Never assume the system is broken unless you have proof. Always assume when they say "B" is average, they mean it - and you should shoot for an "A".

The only reason that the current collegiate scale is broken (save for a few institutions which use the much more amiable Pass-Fail scoring) is because more difficult institutions will result in lower GPAs, so that a 3.0 at one school could easily be a 3.5 at another. Frankly, that's just the way it is - and while it would be nice to change (particularly for those of us at more difficult institutions) - we have to play the game regardless.

Addendum: "Where" you got your GPA from rarely matters unless you're from the handful of schools known to be more difficult. There are 2,000+ 4-year institutions in the United States. Mine's in the top 1%, but since it's a Public University with a large student population and not on the coasts, it gets muddled into the mix of "Oh yeah, that one."
 

Matt King

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in my school (England) as long as you reach your target grade for the subject your teacher will be happy

but here you need at least 5 b's to get into sixth form
 

Logiclul

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Lilani said:
Logiclul said:
Who said that C = average? Because it is in the middle of "A B C D F"? I suppose that on average then people live to be L years, despite the fact that only 20 people do, and that it just happens to be at the middle of an arbitrary scale?

The interpretation is flawed. Subjective grading is flawed, which is the reality of many courses, but there is no superior option, as if we never do types of work which are graded subjectively, then we'll miss out on a lot of learning.
C being "average" is not referring to a mean or a median. It's referring to the quality of the work. If you accomplish the minimum requirements and do only what is asked of you. As and Bs are when the work goes beyond what was asked of the student. For example, I'm supposed to write an essay on the effects of Industrialization on the southern parts of the US. If I simply describe exactly what it says in the textbook verbatim, then that would be a C paper. But, if I not only describe what it says in the textbook, but also provide further analysis relating it back to the problems of Reconstruction and show how it ties eventually in with the Great Depression, then that would be closer to an A or a B. I proved I have more than a basic or minimal understanding of the topic.
Your grading system is different than mine. If I were to write that essay, and used mostly verbatim of the textbook, I'd get an F to a D. If I showed only basic understanding I'd likely get a D. The letters do not have absolute interpretations, it varies (literally) from each course.
 

bojackx

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It's not really the unwritten law that C is average, but it's supposed to be the case. Different schools have different levels of high and low grades, so it's not really wrong for them to say a B is average in your school.

I don't think it's needs taking a look at, well at least for maths and sciences. But for subjects like English and Creative writing, I don't see a way that they can be graded properly, it's more of a question of how well an examiner THINKS you've done rather than an actual mark scheme.
 

violinist1129

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SciMal said:
Addendum: "Where" you got your GPA from rarely matters unless you're from the handful of schools known to be more difficult. There are 2,000+ 4-year institutions in the United States. Mine's in the top 1%, but since it's a Public University with a large student population and not on the coasts, it gets muddled into the mix of "Oh yeah, that one."
This is probably a bigger issue in the end. A lot of kids that want to go to med-school or law-school won't go to a school like mine simply because a 4.0 is nigh-impossible. It doesn't matter that it's (in my opinion) the best school in the nation (screw you, Harvard), long-standing post-grad schools weigh GPA far higher than they ought.

Many state schools also are devalued for being state schools even though they are some of the better schools around. The entire system is absurd the moment you try to use a single number from thousands of individual sources to measure a student.
 

thedoclc

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Regnes said:
The most popular example to use is a doctor, do you want a doctor who only got 70% in his classes? Do you want to trust your life with a man who only knows 70% of what he's supposed to? This is the same for anything, if you perform 10 tasks and 3 of them wind up being totally botched, you aren't doing very good.
In many classes in medical school, 70% of the questions right is an A or B.

It most certainly does not equate to botching 30% of the time. A typical medical school question isn't, "How do you treat this?" It's more like, "Here are the patient's symptoms. Exactly where on the molecular model blow does the bacteria most likely to cause the patient's symptoms deactivate the structure below? By the way, we're not telling you the diagnosis."
 

legend of duty

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Wow, this thread became more popular than I thought it would be. Its kinda weird knowing that education standards across the globe are completely different than my own country.
 

thedoclc

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OP, look, it's called Grade Inflation. I'm speaking from what I see in the States, so, your mileage may vary elsewhere. Frankly, right now anything less than a B is considered mediocre in most universities - at least in the states. If you think about it, grades should naturally form a bell curve, and as C is central grade, it would wind up the mean, median, and mode. That just doesn't happen. If you are ever shown a graph of the grades in class and you cut out the outliers (the people who just really nail it or really blow it), you'll usually see something that tolerably approximates a bell curve.

That would mean the average student has a C if they did the grades as they once did, but that's just not the case anymore.

Today, it's as if an A starts about 1 SD above the mean, B's cover up to the mean, C's are down to 1 SD below, D's up to two below, and F's below that, with a bit of mercy thrown in. What that means is the class will have about 20% A's, 35% B's, 30% C's, 10% D's, and 0-5% F's.

If you go to grad school, suddenly the script flips, where anything below a B is going to get your academic counselor involved, and even a B is kind of a faint black mark.

Law school, class rank means a great deal (as does the name on your diploma), so students fight for grades and couldn't care about the Bar so long as they pass.

Med school, class rank means a lot less and so does your school, but your grades on the boards are overwhelmingly important. Most med students fail or nearly fail a couple of classes on the way.
 

spartan231490

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legend of duty said:
After a test my teacher writes the class average on the board. If it is anything less than a "B" then he says you all did not do that well. This bothers me as a "C" is supposed to mean average however all of the teachers I've had have also felt this way. Not to mention many colleges also feel this way. So Escapists do you think the grading system needs to be redefined or is it fine just the way it is?
I don't know where you're from, but in the US, C isn't really average. It's kinda supposed to be, but at a college level it's the lowest passing grade, and even in high school it's only 5% away from the lowest passing grade. Truth is, average is probably a B- or even a solid B in most classes.
 

thedoclc

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violinist1129 said:
Here at Princeton we dealt with pretty bad grade inflation for a while, but now they limit how many people are allowed to get As or Bs in any given class. The mean grade is a high C which seems about as close to fair as possible. At first people complained about the limits, but there's never really a situation where enough people do well enough to warrant any more "high" grades.

I'm pretty sure the OPs getting C=Average from the fact that almost everywhere you see grade explanations a C is "average", a B is "above average", and an A is "outstanding"

On a side note, it is absolutely hilarious to watch people from private schools who are used to getting only As suddenly realize how much more work it takes to get a real A. That and the fact that their parents disown them when they see the B average their "brilliant, gifted wunderkind" is struggling to maintain.
At my alma mater (the bulldogs to your tigers), I saw pretty much the same thing. Granted, this was about ten years back, so things may have changed nowadays, but the obvious thing was that as students learned what it was really like to struggle and get through real work, there was a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I came out of a crappy public high school where I could literally be woken up in class, stare at the board for a few seconds, and produce the right answer. Learning what it took to really learn was the most important thing I figured out in my first two years. I had to learn that I was no longer a big fish in a little pond, but a medium sized fish in a small bay that was opening up to much deeper water.

So yeah. Suck it up, new college students. You stepped into a bigger league, and it's just going to get harder if you decide to go on. It's like being the kid who gets picked first for pick up street ball trying out for the high school team, the high school star trying out for the NCAA team, and so on. Step up or step down.
 

Jessta

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Well, every system has flaws. to fill one flaw you would create another somewhere else so sometimes it's best to find a nice balance that doesn't fuck everything up and stick with it.

As for the whole C average thing, I think that's because if you want to compete in the rat race that is college and eventual white collar jobs, then you can't just be 'average' when you're looking through a list of applicants you don't see someone and say, this guy will be adequate, you look for who you think will be the best.
You are in direct competition with everyone else in your class, in your school, in every school, to do the best possible in hopes that when someone looks through their big list of applicants they will look down from above and say "this one"
You aren't going to school in hopes of one day flipping burgers and teachers aren't grading you so you can go on to do that either.
of course I might be wrong and the whole
A-Excellent
B-good
C-average
D-Poor
F-FAIL
system might just be so it doesn't damage someones self esteem because people would feel bad if they got a A Intelligent B average C stupid D failure F GTFO system. I haven't met ANYONE without some legitimate mental defect that can't get a C average with some application and I guess the idea could be to encourage people they are moving in the right direction when they go from poor to average rather than failure to stupid.
I moved to a new school system recently and they use a 1 point through 6 point rubric with 1 being fail 2 being poor 3 and 4 being average 5 being good and 6 being Beyond expectation, I rather like the idea of it but in the end I guess 6=120% of the assignment complete and 5 = 100% so if you get a 3 you think OH GOD 50% I'm failing! When in actuality its 60% and you are fine (well precarious but not over the edge yet) If it was a bit better explained I think it would be a lot more widely used, but I like the idea of encouraging people to go beyond and above their assignments. Mostly because when I show a five page presentation on fungi where I memorize the text before hand so I can keep eye contact with the class, use proper body language to get attention, use a wide variety of pictures that properly demonstrate my examples, give examples of innovative and practical ways that mushrooms are being used, cite 10 different sources, and remember to ask for questions at the end, I get the same grade as someone who copy pasted some wikipedia entry to power point then read it aloud (Shit happened to me before, we both got 95's, I did because apparently I was talking a bit fast and he did because lack of pictures and his text was to small for anyone else to read.)

I guess what I'm trying to say is if you filled the misleading flaw of getting kids hopes up by saying they are doing average then you would create the flaw of dashing kids hopes by calling them failures.
 

Jadak

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You just said it yourself. C is average. Average is not good. A and B is good, C is only the average due to the numerous grades being factored in from idiots and people who didn't bother. Without those people, average would be much better. Do you really want your standard of approval to be based on the inclusion of idiots? All a C is, is saying "well, at least you're better than those morons".

Simply put, if your grade isn't pulling the average up, your grade is not a good one. You might get by with it, but nobody ever applauds a C.
 

2012 Wont Happen

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A "C" grade used to be an average grade.
However, to encourage self esteem, grade inflation became incredibly commonplace.
In effect, this did nothing to increase self esteem, as people realized better grades were now easy to get. It just jacked up the grading system.

In theory, a passing grade of a 70 should be what is obtained for correctly doing the bare minimum of work to demonstrate understanding of a course.

In reality, I don't even carry out what I would call the bare minimum to demonstrate understanding (don't turn in all work, just most. Don't understand all concepts fully) and get high A's.

The grading system is largely worthless.