Grading on the Curve

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Teacher234, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

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    Apr 22, 2018

    Hello.
    For those of you that do not know, I teach a special class for grades 2-4.
    Recently, I graded a quiz and realized that the grades were not really fair. The quiz grades were relatively unfair for the students. My students have difficulty with reading comprehension. I decided to use the grading curve, in which I learned about during a teacher meeting last month. (How embarrassing! I have been teaching for way more than a decade and just learned what a grading curve was.)

    Anyways, I curved the grades to help the students with their grades. After having done this, I am now reconsidering and having second thoughts about grading on the curve.
    Note: I only curved my fourth graders' quiz. My 3rd graders will make corrections and my 2nd grade will go over the quiz with me.
    Your thoughts...
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I despise curves. They only serve to inflate grades.

    If I were in your shoes I would have thrown out the bad questions or the entire quiz. Reteach the standards I was assessing and then retest.
     
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  4. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Devotee

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    I also don't like curves.....it seems especially odd to curve for grades 2-4. That material seems particularly fundamental for them to master.

    One thing I have offered students in the past (keep in mind, this is high school) if a quiz went poorly, I tell them that I will drop the quiz for them if they do better on the test for that section as they have demonstrated that they have learned the material.
     
  5. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

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    Ok. Thank you for your suggestions. I found a new grading system and wanted to try it out, but after some research and your help, I will not use the grading curve anymore.
     
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  6. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

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    In past years, I just dropped their lowest quiz grade.....I should continue with this. Now that I have thought about it, it is another to falsify the grades. I might as well grade each assignment for completeness. Thank you for helping me.
     
  7. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

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    Normally, I would go over the assessment with the students and allow them to do corrections. (0.75 points earned back for each corrected question)
    As far as the "curved" grades go, should I revert them back to the original grades?
    I wanted to try something new (as far as modified a grading system), but given what news articles and other teachers say....I will not continue with this system.
     
  8. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Devotee

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    If you've already told the kids it was curved, I would not revert them. It will make them not trust, and probably breed resentment. I just wouldn't do it again in the future.

    Are your corrections done under supervision? The thing I don't like about corrections for points back is teachers let kids bring it home, and they just copy from a friend, so they are getting points back without truly learning. When I've done corrections, I've counted the corrections as a separate homework grade (the corrections did not affect the original quiz grade). If, after doing corrections, you would like to offer some form of re-assessment, that might not be a bad idea.
     
  9. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

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    For the majority of my students, if I let them take the corrections home........the corrections will not get done. I go over the corrections with the students individually and we work together to get a good grade. Of course, I do not give the students the answers to correct their mistakes, but to guide them and direct them to the appropriate tools.
     
  10. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Devotee

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    I don't think they should get a grade on something you worked together with them on, but that's just my opinion. I think it's wonderful for you to help them with it, but if it's graded, it should be done independently. This gets back to my not giving points back for corrections.
     
  11. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    In my mind, especially at elementary, the grade should match the student's understanding of the standards. If everyone understands it extremely well, and one kid is meeting the standard, would it be right for that kid to be marked "below expectations"? Not a fan of curve grading in general, and extremely against in elementary.
     
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  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Enthusiast

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    0.75 points back for quiz/test corrections are way too much! That incentivizes students to fail because they know they can get 3/4 of the points back, so why study?

    In all of math classes, I don’t allow quiz corrections in either regular or AP, I only give 0.5 points back for test corrections in regular math classes, and I give 0.25 points back in AP math classes. And students can’t ever leave the room with their tests and must write why their original answer was incorrect and how they arrived at the correct answer.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
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  13. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Apr 22, 2018

    I agree.

    I have never had a class in which grades were curved in my own academic studies.

    If your test is fair and the content was appropriately taught, there should be no need for a curve. If most students did poorly and it seems a curve is needed, it likely means the lesson should be retaught.
     
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  14. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I’m not a fan of the curve either. Either they meet the standards or they don’t. Assessment should give an accurate picture of a student’s abilities against curriculum standards and allow teachers to bridge any gaps. A curve hides this information and makes assessment quite redundant, well the true aim of an assessment anyway (sometimes I think non-teachers view the need for assessments in a different view to how teachers view assessments)
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Apr 23, 2018

    There are a few times grading on a curve is appropriate. Your explanation of how you want to use it is not one. You are talking about using it for grade inflation rather than the appropriate use. You are not alone in using it this way which causes problems for students later on.

    If a test or quiz is poorly written in that questions don't make sense, don't provide appropriate choices on multiple choice, or you never taught the information (gave it too early), then the most appropriate response is to throw out the quiz and do it again properly.

    Otherwise, a proper curve is when a test or quiz is designed to test the upper limits beyond the expectations for the content. You will see this in college and some higher level high school class where some of the questions are designed to see if there are any who are going well above A level content. The test contains enough content to ensure you will be able to determine A level mastery and below but contains content or complexity that goes well beyond an A for those students who are far superior than the course expectations. As the test creator you know where the expected average is going into the test. You know an A may be an 85 and a C a 60.

    When used to cover teacher instruction failures or student failures, grading on a curve is no less fraud than just putting a grade on the books without even testing them.
     
  16. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Devotee

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    That's a good point. The first time I ever experienced a curve was in college, where a test average of 40-50% was the norm. This was the first time we were tested on stuff we weren't directly taught so it was more appropriate in that context. I would assume elementary teachers, and even most secondary teachers, would not be giving tests on stuff they didn't directly teach (with the possible exception, as you say, of some upper level AP type courses).
     
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  17. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Very good point - thanks for sharing that! I, too, reflect on a college class where getting 80% was like acing the test because it was so difficult, but there was a huge curve to make up for that fact. It was a professor who liked to challenge his students far outside of the box.
     
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  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    What special class is it?

    I find this whole conversation very odd given that we're talking about 2nd graders. I've never heard of curving scores for students that young. I'm even surprised that grades are given as percents or letter grades instead of pass/fail or exceeds/meets/approaches/emergent.
     
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  19. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Enthusiast

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    The only time our class grades were ever curved was in college. I remember one class in particular (complex analysis), where I got an 83% on an exam, and I was pretty unhappy about it. However, I later discovered that the median exam score was a 62% and the standard deviation was 5, so I had an automatic A because I was 4.2 standard decisions above the mean. It was a great feeling, haha!
     
  20. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Enthusiast

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    My thoughts exactly. Why would 2nd graders need their grades curved?
     
  21. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

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    Apr 23, 2018

    I do see your point and it is extremely valid. However, you teach AP math classes (college-level). I teach a Special Class for Mid-elementary. While I understand it may be slightly high, the students have to make corrections (with help from me) and go over the quiz/test with me. Sometimes, I have the student retake the assessment, but in an easier format (usually open-book).
     

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