## Curve Question: How many below Medians?

thand42292

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### Curve Question: How many below Medians?

This is a question for law students. There's a lot of talk on here about being below median ie you should judge your chances by assuming 50% get above median and 50% get below and the ones who get below median have objectively entirely worse outcomes. However, it would seem to a 0L based on other information available that the Median should also be the Mode of the data set or a plurality of people get median grades. This should mean that those whose grades should be less than 50%. Ie there may be 40% above median 30% at median and then only 30% below median. Additionally, when people say below median do they mean those that are significantly below median or does that include those that are close to median but miss it slightly?

Again, I'm an ignorant 0L but it would help with the mental accounting to have a better idea how these curves work.

minnbills

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

My school has a quartile system so "median" doesn't mean much. Being in the top half is what people concern themselves with.

I would guess being "below median" at most schools really just means being below top half as well, but that's just a guess.

LeDique

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

I'm not exactly sure what you're asking from your post, so I'm not sure if this is what you want to know or not.

My school's curve is only required to be a B+ median. That means as long as only half the class is above a B+, everyone else can be given a B+. Some professors mostly do this, then throw in a couple B's. Some professors actually do a real curve and give out C's. So with a median, it really depends on the professor's own grade distribution for the class.

If you're asking about class rank as a whole, I have no idea because we don't rank beyond top third. Accordingly, people worry about being in the top third or they don't care. So it's also heavily school dependent.

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

I knew a professor who claimed that, at the end of 1L, 70% of the class has a GPA that puts them at or above median. I'm not exactly sure how this math would break down to the curve in an individual class.

dingbat

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

badaboom61 wrote:I knew a professor who claimed that, at the end of 1L, 70% of the class has a GPA that puts them at or above median. I'm not exactly sure how this math would break down to the curve in an individual class.

That professor is really bad at math

ScottRiqui

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

badaboom61 wrote:I knew a professor who claimed that, at the end of 1L, 70% of the class has a GPA that puts them at or above median. I'm not exactly sure how this math would break down to the curve in an individual class.

You can have significantly more than half of a population above median or below median, but it requires that quite a few of them have *identical* GPAs.

LeDique

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

dingbat wrote:
badaboom61 wrote:I knew a professor who claimed that, at the end of 1L, 70% of the class has a GPA that puts them at or above median. I'm not exactly sure how this math would break down to the curve in an individual class.

That professor is really bad at math

I'm not the best at math, but that seems entirely possible to me. 70% of the class could be "at median" alone. I don't think it's likely, but I have no idea.

andythefir

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

Median is a very loaded word in law school, and someone with a 3.28 on a 3.3 curve will call themselves median. In that same 3.3 curve a staggering number of people will be between 3.2 and 3.4 with a handful at 3.6+ and 3.0-.

I think the OP fails to take into account the different # of credits classes give. Not all B+, B, B+, A-s are created equal which means that there are fine differences such as 3.28 v 3.26 that would not be possible if everyone took the same # of credits.

dingbat

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

LeDique wrote:
dingbat wrote:
badaboom61 wrote:I knew a professor who claimed that, at the end of 1L, 70% of the class has a GPA that puts them at or above median. I'm not exactly sure how this math would break down to the curve in an individual class.

That professor is really bad at math

I'm not the best at math, but that seems entirely possible to me. 70% of the class could be "at median" alone. I don't think it's likely, but I have no idea.

If true, 30% are below median, 40% are at median and 30% are above median. I find it hard to believe that 40% of the class has the exact same score, although it is possible

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

dingbat wrote:
badaboom61 wrote:I knew a professor who claimed that, at the end of 1L, 70% of the class has a GPA that puts them at or above median. I'm not exactly sure how this math would break down to the curve in an individual class.

That professor is really bad at math

School doesn't fix the GPA for 1Ls to a certain median, they just set the median grade for each individual class. So if the mean is typically above the median in an individual class, then it makes sense that more than half of the 1L's could come out with a GPA that is higher than the median for a given class.

dingbat

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

badaboom61 wrote:it makes sense that more than half of the 1L's could come out with a GPA that is higher than the median for a given class.

It is not mathematically possible for more than half to be above median, ever.

ScottRiqui

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

dingbat wrote:
badaboom61 wrote:it makes sense that more than half of the 1L's could come out with a GPA that is higher than the median for a given class.

It is not mathematically possible for more than half to be above median, ever.

Sure it is. Take the following number set:

(2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10,10)

The median is 7, and 68% of the members of the set are at or above median.

ETA: Nevermind, I just saw that you said "above". I was thinking back to the "at or above" hypothetical from earlier in the thread.
Last edited by ScottRiqui on Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thand42292

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

So to clarify, when people say things like "if you're below median you're screwed at a lower t14" they really mean only very slightly less than 50% of the class because the median GPA is rarer than it would appear due to credit differentiation?

minnbills

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

thand42292 wrote:So to clarify, when people say things like "if you're below median you're screwed at a lower t14" they really mean only very slightly less than 50% of the class because the median GPA is rarer than it would appear due to credit differentiation?

Well firms, on their NALP cards, seem to state things like "top 25% preferred" or "top 50% preferred." I don't think they care about GPA so much as class ranking.

ScottRiqui

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

thand42292 wrote:So to clarify, when people say things like "if you're below median you're screwed at a lower t14" they really mean only very slightly less than 50% of the class because the median GPA is rarer than it would appear due to credit differentiation?

I think "below median" is pretty much synonymous with "bottom 50%". Unless you have a lot of people in the middle with identical GPAs, there shouldn't be very many students exactly at median. In fact, it's possible that *no one* in a class will be exactly at the median. This would be the case if there are an even number "N" of students, and student "N/2" and "N/2 +1" don't have the same GPA. In that case, the median would be the average of their GPAs, and one would be "below median" and the other would be "above median".

09042014

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

The curve at most schools looks like this

Tons of people near median, not so many far from median. I wouldn't be surprised if 75% of the class were "near median." At schools which don't give ranking or have a set median, it's even better. There nobody is even sure what median is. So if you are near the ballpark, people just assume median.

thand42292

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

OK that makes sense. See, my impression was that since there were so many Bs, or whatever the median (same as average in norm curve) grade in a class is, and there were a relatively low number of tests the median would approximate that B making potentially large amounts of students "at median" if that makes sense. It's mathematically sound just not factually accurate. I swear, I balled in stat and linear I'm not innumerate, lol! Thanks for the clarification guys

Pokemon

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

Mathematically, half of the class is below median, and the other half is above. Not so likely that a huge chunk of people will have the same exact, median GPA...
Practically, the better schools do not make the median public, so you should assume at a school grading on a B+ curve that anything from 3.25 to 3.45 is median from the employer's perspective. This is usually a very large percentage of the class.

scifiguy

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

If there are students with very very poor exams, is it possible in law school to even get "F" or "D" grades?

Or is there like a pre-determined "bottom" grade of like a straight C or something?

KingsCup

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

scifiguy wrote:If there are students with very very poor exams, is it possible in law school to even get "F" or "D" grades?

Or is there like a pre-determined "bottom" grade of like a straight C or something?

Second this question.

Hypothetical example: if you already have a job in law for when you graduate, and they are just requiring a law degree, could you go through law school not caring all that much?

BruceWayne

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

scifiguy wrote:If there are students with very very poor exams, is it possible in law school to even get "F" or "D" grades?

Or is there like a pre-determined "bottom" grade of like a straight C or something?

B-s are exceptionally common at UVA (almost every professor gives them out) and C+s on down are not rare. I think that we actually give out more grades in that range than most of the top 14 as a matter of fact. But, obviously, to balance it out and keep the 3.3 mean our professors also give out A+s. We have a very high risk/high reward sort of grading system.

ksllaw

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

Is above/below median ever actually asked about in interviews or would it not be class rank instead? Given many people probably cluster around median, is class rank a better (if imperfect - it may not parse out finely enough the differences in ability of those still clustering together around median...but does differentiate individuals a bit more concretely) measure of one's relative abilities?

Lincoln

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

scifiguy wrote:If there are students with very very poor exams, is it possible in law school to even get "F" or "D" grades?

Or is there like a pre-determined "bottom" grade of like a straight C or something?

At Cornell, the lowest grade in any given class will often be a B-, but we had a large class last year that handed out a D and several C-, C, C+. One person taking it pass/fail actually failed. That's almost unheard-of, though. On the other hand 30% of the class got an A to stick to the mean.

IAFG

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### Re: Curve Question: How many below Medians?

Let's not aspie out and talk past each other hear guys. It's absolutely possible that 70%+ of the class is "medianish" or better. The fact that 3.378 or whatever may be the real, actual median and half of everyone is below it isn't really relevant. All that matters is that employers who hire at median agree that you're sufficiently medianish.