please explain "the curve"

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soon2blawyer

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please explain "the curve"

Postby soon2blawyer » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:16 pm

I get that the highest score of exam and the median score determines the allocation of grades...

My question is if there is a genius in the classroom who gets a say..96 and then the next highest score is a 76 and most people get 70s..how does this work to allocate grades?

Also..it looks like professors MUST assign a certain min/max of Ds and Fs...
at least for the doctrinal courses...

is this understanding accurate?

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pancakes3

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Re: please explain "the curve"

Postby pancakes3 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:24 pm

soon2blawyer wrote:I get that the highest score of exam and the median score determines the allocation of grades...

My question is if there is a genius in the classroom who gets a say..96 and then the next highest score is a 76 and most people get 70s..how does this work to allocate grades?

Also..it looks like professors MUST assign a certain min/max of Ds and Fs...
at least for the doctrinal courses...

is this understanding accurate?


no. the bell curve doesn't have to be symmetrical.

PorscheFanatic

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Re: please explain "the curve"

Postby PorscheFanatic » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:26 pm

It'll depend on your school.

Where I went to school, only A+ and grades then anything below B- were discretionary. So pretty much everyone got B- through A, and the professor had to adhere to a certain percentage of students receiving each grade to maintain the curve. So, in your hypo, the 96 would likely get an A+ as that high of an outlier. The professors still have to get a certain number of As, so likely the best 76s would still get an A.

If you had a 100 person class, it might look like this:

A+: 2
A: 10
A-: 10
B+: 35
B: 35
B-: 8

If anything was really bad, you could get a C, but that was tough at our school.

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rpupkin

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Re: please explain "the curve"

Postby rpupkin » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:28 pm

soon2blawyer wrote:I get that the highest score of exam and the median score determines the allocation of grades...

My question is if there is a genius in the classroom who gets a say..96 and then the next highest score is a 76 and most people get 70s..how does this work to allocate grades?

Also..it looks like professors MUST assign a certain min/max of Ds and Fs...
at least for the doctrinal courses...

is this understanding accurate?

I don't know. It depends on the policy of your law school. Most schools don't require professors to assign Ds or Fs, but a few lower-ranked schools might.

As for your "96" outlier hypo, that shouldn't have an effect on the curve.

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mjb447

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Re: please explain "the curve"

Postby mjb447 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:31 pm

It's going to depend almost entirely on your school's policy and your prof. If the 96 gets an A or A+, prof still has many options for making the class as a whole average a certain letter grade or GPA. That's why people here often emphasize that a few missed points on an exam can make a half or full letter grade of difference depending on your prof and your peers.

I'm also going to guess that a gap that wide is pretty rare.

cavalier1138

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Re: please explain "the curve"

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:46 pm

Your school also publishes this policy; it's not a black box.

SFSpartan

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Re: please explain "the curve"

Postby SFSpartan » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:57 pm

Read your student handbook. Look for words like "grade normalization policy". That will tell you whether certain grades are discretionary or not. At most schools, anything below a B or B- is descetionary. A+s are generally discretionary as well.

cavalier1138

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Re: please explain "the curve"

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:09 pm

SFSpartan wrote:Read your student handbook. Look for words like "grade normalization policy". That will tell you whether certain grades are discretionary or not. At most schools, anything below a B or B- is descetionary. A+s are generally discretionary as well.


This is definitely not true once you get out of the T1 or so.

BeeTeeZ

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Re: please explain "the curve"

Postby BeeTeeZ » Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:55 pm

soon2blawyer wrote:I get that the highest score of exam and the median score determines the allocation of grades...

My question is if there is a genius in the classroom who gets a say..96 and then the next highest score is a 76 and most people get 70s..how does this work to allocate grades?


Basically, every student receives a raw score (x points out of y points), then everyone in the class is ranked from highest to lowest score; think of a single file line. The students in your hypo would be ranked first and second, not 96 and 76, respectively. Once everyone is in that "single file line," then the distribution of grades comes into play.

Paul Campos

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Re: please explain "the curve"

Postby Paul Campos » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:39 pm

Couple of things:

(1) Grade policies vary drastically by school. At my school (ranked in the 30s IIRC), there's a required median grade of B+ and no other distributional requirements whatsoever. A professor could in theory flunk half the class or give nobody less than a B+. (The latter thing actually happens).

(2) The raw point total off a rubric technique (which many profs don't actually employ, especially if they're not doing a race horse issue spotter) gives a kind of pseudo-scientific veneer to grading, which is probably why it's so heavily advertised as "the" way law school exams are graded.



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