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soon2blawyer

Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:26 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?

pancakes3

Posts: 6619
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:49 pm

### Re: please explain "the curve"

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

Posts: 159
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:19 pm

### Re: please explain "the curve"

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.

rpupkin

Posts: 5659
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:32 pm

### Re: please explain "the curve"

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.

mjb447

Posts: 1280
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:36 am

### Re: please explain "the curve"

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

Posts: 5056
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

### Re: please explain "the curve"

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

SFSpartan

Posts: 604
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:01 pm

### Re: please explain "the curve"

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

Posts: 5056
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

### Re: please explain "the curve"

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

Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:26 am

### Re: please explain "the curve"

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

Posts: 680
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:44 am

### Re: please explain "the curve"

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.