‘Curve grading’ bad for students


Many professors on Delta’s campus, and many other campuses, grade students on a “curve.” The term “curve” typically refers to one of the several methods of adjusting students scores to reflect a higher letter grade than what was actually earned.

There are different methods that teachers use to curve grades; The simplest form is changing the amount of points possible.

If a test is worth 100 points, typically 90-100 is and A, 80-89 is a B, and so on.  When a curve is in place, the highest score earned in the class becomes the new “highest score possible.”

If the highest score earned was a 93, the test is now worth a maximum of 93, resulting in most of the classes letter grades being higher than actually earned.

Another way is to find the average of all the scores and use set it as a B or C.

If the average score is a 70, the teacher sets that as a C, which will bring up many lower-scoring students into the passing range.

A professor once told me he “fit the test to the class, instead of making the class fit to the test.”

This resulted in many more students passing the test than before he implemented the curve.

Instead of making his students study harder to pass the next test, he just gave them all a reason to be lazy.

I am guilty of participating in the resounding “sigh” of relief when the professor says the test is graded on a curve.

While this seems to help the students in the short term, we must think of the long term consequences.

If a majority of a students teachers grade on a curve, that students transcripts are going to reflect inflated grades for most of their junior college career.  They will not receive the education they, and the taxpayers, and paying for.

If one compares their scores after curving to their raw scores of what was actually earned, you end up with students passing classes with 40-60 percent.

“Grading on a curve is just a way of pretending that students have actually understood more than is actually the case. I’ll never do it,” said Dr. William Ferraiolo, in an email interview.

The reason we can transfer from Delta College to a four-year university is because the classes here are supposed to be at the same difficulty level as the ones at a UC, CSU or private college.

If the teachers are cheating students out of their grades and their chance to learn the material, they will pass, and then transfer to these colleges.

Unfortunately, they will flunk out because the course material is much harder and they were not given the proper lower-division education.

Whether we as a student body like it or not, we need a standard of education no teacher can undermine.

It’s my understanding that each teacher on campus is paid a base salary for a certain amount of students in their classes per semester.  If there are students in the class over that set amount, the teachers are paid extra per head.

It would seem to me that teachers have the opportunity to dumb down the classes and make it much easier to get an A, so that many other students will take their class.

Simply put: they have the attractive opportunity to earn extra cash by robbing students of their opportunity to actually get the education they are paying for.

Unfortunately, there is no incentive for students to actually care about this issue; the easier Delta College is to get out of the better right?

For as long as I can remember, I would only work as hard as the teacher made me, and I suspect that may be the case for most students.

The teachers should have a standard because then they are forced to grade all students equally.

I believe this common practice fits into the category of “unethical.”

I would move to totally abolish teachers being able to grade on a curve, the standard should be set high for everyone.