# Why grading on a curve is bad?

**Asked by: Prof. Nelson Heathcote DDS**

Score: 4.5/5 (32 votes)

When courses are graded on a curve **there is less interaction between students**, hence less learning. We have measured that there is also generally overall lower motivation.

Then, Is curve grading good or bad?

Most of the time,

**grading on a curve boosts the students' grades**by moving their actual scores up a few notches, perhaps increasing the letter grade. Some teachers use curves to adjust the scores received in exams, whereas other teachers prefer to adjust what letter grades are assigned to the actual scores.

Beside the above, Can grading on a curve hurt you?. Yet, like I just said, there is almost always at least 1 student who will earn a near perfect score and so the

**'curve' doesn't change the grading scale much**if at all. So where the curve doesn't directly hurt them (like the bell curve might) the psychological cost of counting on a curve that doesn't arrive is damaging.

Likewise, Is grading on a curve ethical?

**Never grade on the curve**.

Grading on a curve is a based on a standard bell curve; we have to ask, is the “population” of this class large enough to conduct a statistically significant analysis. Grading on the curve breeds competition rather than collaboration.

Can you be graded on a curve?

Grading on a curve refers to the

**process of adjusting student grades**in order to ensure that a test or assignment has the proper distribution throughout the class (for example, only 20% of students receive As, 30% receive Bs, and so on), as well as a desired total average (for example, a C grade average for a given ...

**44 related questions found**

### Can grading on a curve lower your grade?

Why Grading on a Curve Breeds Competition

However, if they were in a class of 40, curving will only allow eight people to get A's. This means that it's not enough to get a grade of 90 and above to get an A; if you get a 94 and eight **other** people get higher, you end up getting a grade lower than you deserve.

### Does a curve always help your grade?

Curves are a way to boost grades if the average score is too low, the test is too hard or the class is not prepared. Intended to scale scores and even the distribution, **curves are almost always introduced to better students' grades**. ... If more people do well and the average is higher, the curve will be lower.

### Can professors curve down?

In the American education system, a curving method is often employed before assigning grades. ... While there exists variation in how this takes place, there is a major downside to curving a given class section's grades; these **grades can be curved down instead** of up.

### Should professors curve grades?

No. **I don't use a curve unless I have to**, and then only to the benefit of students. In my school system, it is customary to default to an absolute grading scale, where 90 percent correct points on assignments or better is an “A”, at least 80 but less than 90 percent is a “B”, etc.

### Does Harvard grade on a curve?

**Harvard grades everyone on a curve**, and basically never gives lower than a B. They use "A+" as a system to identify the truly exceptional people. My point is that a professor should be able to write 20 questions that are relevant and interesting, and just look at the distribution of results to assign grades.

### Do professors curve final grades?

Many **professors curve their exam in some way to alter the grade distributions**. Some professors think this isn't necessary until the end of the semester and "curve" by altering cutoffs rather than adjusting final averages. Sometimes you, as a student, deserve the grade you got.

### Is a 65% passing in college?

**A letter grade of a D is technically considered passing because it not a failure**. A D is any percentage between 60-69%, whereas a failure occurs below 60%. Even though a D is a passing grade, it's barely passing. As such, it is not looked at favorably.

### How does a curve in grading work?

A simple method for curving grades is **to add the same amount of points to each student's score**. ... You can add 12 percentage points to each student's test score. If the test is worth 50 points and the highest score is 48 points, the difference is 2 points. You can add 2 points to each student's test score.

### Is grading on a curve unfair?

Grading on a **curve has long been disputed** in the academic world, just as weighting scores have. The main benefit to using the curve is that it fights grade inflation: if a teacher doesn't grade on a curve, 40% of her class could get an “A,” which means that the “A” doesn't mean very much.

### When should you curve an exam?

**If the class does significantly lower than I think they should have**, I will consider curving the exam. Also, courses have certain historical distributions. For example, in an entry-level course I may want an average (mean) of 80-82% with several A's.

### What is a B+ curve?

In law school, there will be a pre-determined median grade that is the same for every class in the school. This is what people are talking about when they say “grades at that school are curved to a B+”. That means a **B+ is the median grade at that school**.

### Do professors curve quizzes?

This is the teacher's way of acknowledging they gave a hard test and to provide some leeway and fairness in scoring without favoring anyone specifically. It's **all** at the teacher's discretion so don't expect it to always happen.

### How can I get my professor to raise my grade?

**Next Article**

- Be strategic. Always be honest and fair when you approach teachers with questions and commentary about your grades. ...
- Go the extra mile. Let your teacher know that you're serious about their class and its associated coursework. ...
- Ask for help. ...
- Be present. ...
- Play up your strengths.

### What should a class average be?

If the class is graded on a scale, 60% (of 100) could be average, or it could 80% (of 100). Typically, the norm is **in the middle** which is considered average, like the proverbial bell shape curve, where (approximately) half or 50% of the students are average (statistically).

### What is a good grade distribution?

In a 'normal' distribution, most of the data will be **near the middle or the 'mean'**, with very few figures toward the outside of the bell. Grading on a curve implies that there are a fixed number of A's, B's, C's, D's and F's. ... Further, such grades may actually pit students against each other.

### Are AP tests curved?

Tests with a similar curve include the **AP language tests** and AP Calculus BC, which are also considered to be tests with hard content. There is also another related reason for this curve. These classes self-select, meaning that most students who take it are already highly-qualified for the course.

### How do you curve a test fairly?

To curve grades according to a flat-scale curve, **simply add the same number of points to each student's grade**. This can be the number of points that an item most of the class missed was worth, or it can be some other (arbitrary) number of points that you think is fair.

### What does a 10 point curve mean?

There are several ways teachers create a test curve. First, if no one in the class scored 100, the teacher might take the highest grade (like a 90) and bring it up 10 points. She then adds 10 points to all the scores.

### How do you curve a grade with a square root?

To curve you take **the square root of the student's grade and multiply it by 10**. Looking at the example below, let's say a student scored a 75 on their test. We take the square root of 75, which is about 8.666, and multiply it by 10 giving them an 86.6% curved grade.