How do must teachers curve at Tech

<p>Hey guys, a couple of current students warned me about the "bell curve" that most Tech classes follow, how exactly does this curve work? I mean in high school teachers usually subtracted the highest score from 100 and added the remainder to everyones grade but im a bit confused about how this bell curve works. The students told me that even if i have a good grade in class if there is a certain percentage better i may end up with a failing grade or go from a B to a C regardless of my final grade. Any truth to this? Also could someone please explain me how it works? Thanks a lot.</p>

<p>Basically what it means is that the Best 5 students get an A. The next 15 get a B. The next 5 get a C. And usually anybody who earns a D or F actual grade gets the D or F.</p>

<p>So let's say the class of 25 breaks down like this:</p>

<p>{99, 99, 97, 95, 93, 92, 92, 91, 90, 89, 89, 88, 88, 87, 85, 83, 82, 80, 79, 76, 76, 75, 74, 70, 65}</p>

<p>99-93 would get A's. 92-79 would get B's. 76-70 would get C's, and 65 would get a D.</p>

<p>Or in another case (a tough class; let's just say it's a class of 10)</p>

<p>{88, 83, 81, 75, 70, 65, 61, 59, 54, 52}</p>

<p>88-81 would get A's, 75-61 would get B's, 59-54 would get C's, 52 would get D.</p>

<p>Just imagine a bell - there are more people getting B's and C's than A/D/F's.</p>

<p>ohh i see now..thanks for your reply! Also, do ALL classes at tech have curves or only math/science? Is there a certain percentage that the professors follow for curves? Like if its a class for 150 to 200 students would they go by 15-20% A's or just a select number they feel like, for example 30 A's and all others would fall under B,C,D,F?</p>

<p>Most classes do NOT use a bell curve. Most classes do have some sort of curve, which is often to your benefit (this includes math and science). What I have encountered most is that they say "90+ is an A, 80-89 is a B, etc, but if less than ~80% of the class passes we will change that accordingly, which would only improve your grade, like 87+ A, 72-86 B, etc"</p>

<p>lol my Econ 2100 professor made an A to be 86+</p>

<p>wow thats great..so most of the times curves turn out in the students favors huh?</p>

<p>Yes. Usually curves work strongly in the students favor. I have only seen one example when this was not the case. This fall, Prof. Morley (A Calc prof.) required a 94 to get an A because he had been put on probation for giving to many high grades... Most introductory courses are very generously curved in the students favor.</p>

<p>Most curves for lower classmen are as follows-</p>

<p>_______________<strong><em>--
_</em></strong>
_________<em>-</em><em>-
_</em>
__________<strong><em>--</em></strong>-
_
________<strong><em>--</em></strong><strong>-
_
</strong>
_________----</p>

<h2>________--------</h2>

<p>__<strong><em>A</em></strong><strong><em>B</em></strong>C<em>D</em>_F</p>

<p>
[quote]
Most curves for lower classmen are as follows-</p>

<p>--
- -</p>

<hr>

<hr>

<hr>

<hr>

<hr>

<p>A B C D F

[/quote]
</p>

<p>If you check course critique you will see that this is patently false... Over half of students in nearly every class make As or Bs.</p>

<p>I believe how it works generally is that a department sets target GPAs for classes based on their level, with the lower level classes having the harsher GPAs. For example, 6000-level graduate classes may be curved around a 3.2-3.4, whereas 3000-level ones may be more like 2.8-3.0. Professors will basically structure the grades so that the class GPA falls in the appropriate range. Usually it's not a set thing but they more or less eyeball the grade distribution and make grade cutoffs where there are discontinuities.</p>

<p>I graduated last Saturday, and of all the classes I'd taken, only two were "explicitly curved." That is, the professor did not set cutoffs in the syllabus. In many classes, however, professors did retain the discretion to adjust the cutoffs. For example, I recall one professor explaining that 90 and above was definitely an A, but you could still have an A even if your final score was below 90.</p>

<p>I remember hearing that computer science has a departmental policy against curving, but apparently, "extra credit" in intro CS classes is commonplace, and "extra credit" is itself a type of curve.</p>

<p>Of course, I was not an engineering major, so your mileage may vary.</p>

<p>I've seen management classes where a 76 is an A. It happens.</p>

<p>Most classes at Tech shoot for a 2.7 GPA or so (in Management, that's probably closer to 3.0, in a "weed out" class, that's probably closer to a 2.5). To get to a 2.7, you'd need a distribution along the lines of 30% A, 40% B, 15% C, 15% D/F (notice, that despite what the complainers might claim, that's 70% A+B). So when a semester ends, the professor might assign the top 30% A's, the next 40% B's, etc. Alternatively, the professor might have an average he wants to hit, so he adds points to everyone's grades evenly to hit that average.</p>

<p>Why does this happen? It's incredibly difficult to write an exam to get a certain average. Only professors that have been teaching for a very long time can do it (and by that time in their career, it's their TA's writing the exams). Let's say you want an exam to have an 85 average, and the average score turns out to be a 75. What do you do? You add 10 points to everyone's score to make the average an 85. That's effectively how a curve works. Since students get really mad when you curve the opposite direction (take points away), professors tend err on the side of a test being too hard rather than too easy, then add points back to your grade.</p>

<p>oh wow..that doesnt sound too bad at all. I guess ive been taking advice from the wrong people then. I was told that noone in your class would be willing to work with you , or study in groups because essentially they are competing with you and they will do anything and everything in trying to get you a lower grade so they get A's and B's through curves.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I was told that noone in your class would be willing to work with you , or study in groups because essentially they are competing with you and they will do anything and everything in trying to get you a lower grade so they get A's and B's through curves.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Completely untrue. Well, it might be true for some people (apparently the person that gave you that information), but in general, people do work together and try to help each other. It's very rare to find a person that wants to sabotage others.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I was told that noone in your class would be willing to work with you , or study in groups because essentially they are competing with you and they will do anything and everything in trying to get you a lower grade so they get A's and B's through curves.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>This is probably one of the worst things about the bell curve grading system - competition. Which isn't always bad, but I'm sure there are a lot of people who don't want you to succeed just so they can succeed - welcome to the real world. I'm sure if you find a group of 4 friends early on who each share about the same talent, you can help out the other 3 in the course you're better at while they help you with a course you struggle with, and thus eliminate the competitive factor, and even add in a trust factor.</p>

<p>i find competition a source of motivation so im not too worried about that. I was just worried about people sabotaging other peoples work to get ahead..but i guess everything is fair in competition. Would you recommend befriending people from the same class and working with them or find someone with the same major as me and work with them instead?</p>

<p>People don't sabotage each other.</p>

<p>Find a group of people with similar study habits (procrastinators and planners do not study on the same schedule) and of similar intelligence (you don't want to be left behind or teaching everyone else everything) in your major and your year that will take classes with you throughout the years.</p>

<p>i would never do that, its morally wrong. Are there any public message boards besides this for ga tech? Like students talking about a certain class or a certain major and helping each other out? Cuz id sure like to ask some students in the CS major about their classes/experience since i'd be a transfer student id start out taking freshman CS classes.</p>

<p>I've had a mix of different style of curves. Some classes had defined cutoffs set at 85% A, 70% B, etc. while others had curves (or grading schemes) unexplained. For example, in MSE2001 I had literally no clue what my real grade was in the class until I...got my final grade, which was different than what I had expected it to be; I thought I was going to end up with a D or something but I got a B. My calc 1 was graded oddly, where the professor converted everyone's grades to a gpa, and if your gpa was a 3.3+ you got an A.</p>

<p>Like many people said earlier, the curving here is helpful. It is not strict bell-based. Also some classes adjust grade ranges previously or they do not list them at all so you have to feel your grade off of test averages, how other people you know are doing, etc. </p>

<p>When they don't list grades or averages, it can be stressful. For example, I took Organic 2 and made 63, 58, 68, 25, 35 on the tests and ended up with an A in the class, but I went into the final thinking it could end up anywhere from an A-D. Also Physics 1 classic (oh and don't believe any one that tells you modern is easier. Modern 2 final (fall 09) was the worst final I have taken here while classic (spr 08) was hands down the easiest). I made 65, 85, 95, 25, 60 and also made an A. Calc 2 with Bellissard (never take him if you can help it, but they don't post math department teachers on registration so just know it sucks if you get him), I had no idea what my grade was at any point because he NEVER told us averages, never posted anything online and did not state grade ranges. I ended up with a B. That being said, I nail finals and finals count for a lot of your grade here. Most of my math classes were 60% tests and 40% finals. Finals will save you if you put in the time. </p>

<p>All of this being said: DO WELL YOUR FIRST YEAR. Trust everyone, it gets infinitely harder and they stop putting in buffers for your grade. If you do well your first year you won't have to worry as much. I got 3.71 my first 2 semesters and trust me, it gets harder and you get lazier. I made my first C in spring and since freshman year my GPA has been slowly dropping. </p>

<p>Hopefully this helps and you can see that your grades can be everywhere and you still have the potential to do well.</p>