Can someone please explain a grade curve??

  1. I have no idea what this is, and from the sounds of it, I may not want to know!

    Are students not given the grade they actually earn? Is this standard practice in university?

    Please explain!
    Thanks!
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   Achoo!
    The way my class handled it, was say the highest grade was a 90%. That would then set the bar and be 100, and the rest would fall in accordingly. I have had it done for a few tests, but not for a final grade in the class.
  4. by   jenrninmi
    Quote from Achoo!
    The way my class handled it, was say the highest grade was a 90%. That would then set the bar and be 100, and the rest would fall in accordingly. I have had it done for a few tests, but not for a final grade in the class.
    Is this a NURSING class or prereq?
  5. by   FutureNurse2005
    I guess what I want to know is, does it mean that x number of people get A's, x number of people get B's, x number of people get C's?

    I'm just not sure I understand why a student would not get the grade they earned? kwim?

    Thanks for your replies!
  6. by   jenrninmi
    Quote from FutureNurse2005
    I guess what I want to know is, does it mean that x number of people get A's, x number of people get B's, x number of people get C's?

    I'm just not sure I understand why a student would not get the grade they earned? kwim?

    Thanks for your replies!
    I think it means, like the other poster said, say the highest grade on an exam was a 90%. That grade would turn into a 100% and then everybody else would have an extra 10% added to their grades. If I'm wrong someone please correct me. This kind of grading does not happen at my nursing school and I'm surprised it happens at ANY nursing school.
  7. by   FutureNurse2005
    I agree. I think you should keep what you get! lol
    How does changing it help?

    sigh...
  8. by   Achoo!
    That was for prereq's.
  9. by   SirJohnny
    FutureNurse2005:

    - Essentially, a curve cannot hurt you -- it can only help you.

    - Like the previous posters mentioned, a curve is used to "adjust" the class grades so that more students have better grade.

    - Purpose for this. You can't fail everyone.

    - I saw this curve thing used now and then during my comp sci/applied math degree days. Any professor, in any class can decide to use / not use a curve. Again, since it will only help you -- it's not something to really fret over.

    - Do I agree with the use of a "curve". Personally, I don't care. My goal is to put my designated daily study/memorization time in. I essentially "brute force" my way to an "A" by memorizing anything/everything the prof throws my way. Worked for my comp sci classes (undergrad and grad), and is working so far for pre-req classes.

    - Took Microbiology exam yesterday. Had put in about 100 hours (3 hrs/day for 5 weeks) memorization time. Had a lab exam last week - about 30 hours memorization time into that. Should be sitting with a 95% or better for the lecture exam and looks like I snagged a 100% on the lab exam.

    - In this case, I probably destroyed the curve for the other folks. but I don't care. Study and you won't have to worry about a curve.

    John Coxey
  10. by   jemb
    Grading on the curve means that your grade is determined by your standing relative to that of the other students in the class rather than on your absolute score.

    It is based on the assumption of a bell curve distribution of test scores.
    Generally, the top 10% will be 'A's, the next 20% will be 'B's, the middle 40% will be 'C's, the next 20% are 'D's, and the bottom 10% 'F's.

    That doesn't necessarily mean that 10% of the class will get 'A's, either (or that 10% will fail). The percentages are scores, not people -- it is based on the average of the scores being at the center (the peak) of the bell curve, and %'s are determined by the variation between the average and the extremes.
  11. by   ItsyBitsySpider
    I remember the days of the grading curves before nursing school...how I wish they would still do them now.
  12. by   LeesieBug
    We had an anatomy teacher that used a curve on nearly evey test, as the highest score was usually in the 60's. I can remember getting a 38%...it was a B with the curve! he just seemed to enjoy giving us IMPOSSIBLY difficult tests, then curving them....not a clue what his logic was.
  13. by   RN_N_05
    At my school, they use item analysis to see if the majority of the class missed a particular question. If they did, the question is usually thrown out (everyone gets the points, so its extra if you got it right). Their reasoning for this is that if the majority of the class missed it, it either wasn't taught very well or the question was worded funny. This seems to be pretty fair, and if you happen to get it right, you just got an extra point.
  14. by   PSUNURS05
    I am in a BSN program and grades ARE NOT curved. The following is my school's philospohy on grade curving: Unlike many other majors where the ultimate goal is earning a degree, in nursing you not only must earn your degree (diploma, etc) you must also pass the NCLEX (or whatever other tests that are needed for whatever other programs)....If you are pulling As or Bs or Cs because your fellow classmates are doing poorly or whatnot.. that will help you with earning your degree and having nice grades on your transcript and a nice GPA.....HOWEVER, will that help you pass your NCLEX?? If you cannot pass your NCLEX that means you cannot get your license. What good is it to get fabulous grades if you can't pass the NCLEX and practice. You feeding off another's misfortune of getting bad grades will not help you in passing the NCLEX. You are on your own with that one.

    Hey if your school curves grades and you get your license that's great, and if you know your nursing that's great. I wish my school did that, but it doesn't so I get the grades I earn.

    On rare occassion the instructor will throw out a question that was deemed bad or add points if everyone misses.

    I just want to say that since people often misinterpret written material because there is no tone to what is being said, I am not jealous of those students who go to schools where they curve grades. It doesn't bother me. Anyway, the students don't have any control over that. I was merely stating my school's philosophy on the subject. Thank you....
    Last edit by PSUNURS05 on Feb 17, '04

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