I recently spoke with someone who explained a type of curving that I've never heard of before. The students in his class called it "chained curving". The way it worked was each person in class was "chained" to the person behind them. They would be one point higher than the person on their scoring left. The instructor would take their absolute grade average and rank them. The median score in class would be placed at 75. He typically teaches a class with close to 50 students. This makes for a good number of As, but *many* Fs(about %20 if everyone finishes). Each letter grade would have roughly equal representation, except he leaves W students in the grading pool(so fewer Fs and Ds are generally assigned at the end of semester).
However, in this class, there were less than 30 students. Because there were just under 30 students, and the median starts at 75, the maximum achievable score was 89. Because each person is chained to the person behind them, and cannot move more than one point ahead. Half of the class is below 75 and half is above. If you have 13 behind and 14 above, you get 75+14=89. No one in the class got an A, because it wasn't even possible. The guy I spoke to had an absolute score of 88 in class, and a "curved" score of 81. Presumably, there were at least five students who had an absolute score above 90 and yet were given Bs anyway.
I would be absolutely livid if I earned an A in class, but received a B because of a poorly designed curving system. I always thought the point of curving was to make very hard tests/standards and then bring scores up so most of the class doesn't fail. This seems like a completely pointless system, created for the sake of creating it. If the eighth best student in a class of 28 is getting an 88, it's probably not a difficult class and curving seems pointless.
Have any of you had bad experiences with curving systems?