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Guskey, T.R. (2000). Grading Policies that Work Against Standards… and How to Fix Them. NAASP Bulletin. 84(620) p.20-21
“Grading on the curve makes learning a highly competitive activity in which students compete against one another for the few scarce rewards (high grades) distributed by the teacher. Under these conditions, students readily see that helping others become successful threatens their own chances for success (Gray, 1993; R.T. Johnson, Johnson, and Tauer 1979; D. W. Johnson, Skon, and Johnson 1980). High grades are attained not through excellence in performance, but simply by doing better than one’s classmates. As a result, learning becomes a game of winners and losers… because the number of rewards is kept arbitrarily small… Furthermore, grading on the curve denies students the opportunity to work together and to help each other attain valuable, shared learning goals.
Perhaps most important, grading on the curve communicates nothing about what students have learned or are able to do. Rather, it tells only a student’s relative standing among classmates, based on what are often ill-defined criteria. Students who receive high grades might actually have performed very poorly in terms of established learning standards, but simply less poorly than their classmates. Differences between grades, therefore, are difficult to interpret at best and meaningless at worst (Bracey, 1994).”
Bloom, Madaus, and Hastings 1981:
“There is nothing sacred about the normal curve. It is the distribution most appropriate to chance and random activity. Education is a purposeful activity, and we seek to have students learn what we have to teach. If we are effective in our instruction, the distribution of achievement should be very different from the normal curve. IN fact we may even insist that our educational efforts have been unsuccessful to the extent that the distribution of achievement approximates the normal distribution.”
if a great teacher leads all students to mastery of a subject, why should they not get a's?
Requiring a distribution of grades makes no sense for entire fields, such as philosophy and literature, where all students may be producing non-comparable, but equally high quality work.
i've gotten a's and b's in ALL of my s/nc classes. i work just as hard.
airbage, my friend, I humbly request you to get a reality check done at the earliest possible. And believe me, there will be a lot of people willing to volunteer!
And as for the statement that "all employers ask for GPA" -- that is not true. In the last 30 years, I have applied for more jobs than I could count. Dozens, probably a couple hundred, even. I have never, not once, been asked for my GPA.
I think airbag is already a Brown student (and from looking at his other posts, a very loyal one) - I just think he hasn't downed all the kool-aid (yet).