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 Is a class full of "A's" a BAD thing?? 
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When we were discussing the bell curve in class, I started thinking about teachers I have had in the past who have said the phrase, "I can't just give out all A's". Well, why not?? If studetns are completing their work and obviously mastering the concepts covered, then what is the problem with a class that makes all A's? The whole bell curve just really bothered me. I think it may discourage students rather than to encourage them to strive for being successful in the class. I know it may be a moral decision that we will be faced with in our future classrooms, but I was wondering what others thought about this? Do you think it's fair and would you use it in your class?

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Brandi Franklin


Thu Oct 06, 2005 2:50 pm
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No, I don't think using this method is a fair way to evaluate students.
Learning is about aquiring knowledge, internalizing the information, and being able to apply it in context. 100+% doesn't mean a student has mastery of a subject. Maybe they are good at test taking or memorization. I would never use this method in the classroom. Education should not be about grades but about challenging and motivating students so that they have the desire to learn not just acheive high scores.


Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:19 pm
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I know from personal experience that students who do well in classes don't always come through with as much as you would think. I am probably shotting myself in the foot with this admission, but I make really good grades and consider myself an intelligent person, but more often than not I forget almost the entire content of a course I have taken (minus a few of the more interesting tidbits) after I am finished with it. I am really good at memorizing information to take a test, but if you ask me most of the stuff only ten minutes after the test and I have already forgotten it. It really sucks, but that is how I have always gotten by in school.


Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:42 pm
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I don't agree with this method of evaluating either. However, I am like Kate, I memorize the material for a test but after I walk out of that room I probably could not tell you half the material covered. Yet I believe that if a student can do the work in class and know the material for the test he/she should be given an A. I just don't find it fair not to give students A's if they have made the grades. I had a teacher who said he had never given an A on the research paper and that semester one person made an A because her paper was written on an A level. The only place I would support the bell curve is in medical school because like Laurence (I think) stated in class I don't want someone who can not ace a test cutting me open :? .

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Just my thoughts!! Jenna Sexton


Mon Oct 10, 2005 8:37 pm
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I agree with both ways of grading. In a public grade school (k-12) I would not use the bell curve but I believe it has its place at the college level. Why? Because we are suppose to be representing the top 25% of society. I mean look at doctors, lawyers, and presidents. Do we want these people to be the lower end of the smartest while having our life’s in their hands? I don’t think so.

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Tue Oct 11, 2005 12:13 am
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Actually, if you look at our current president (who I believe has good qualities and bad qualities) you will find that he actually was mostly a C student. So, therefore, not everyone has to make good grades to have a position that is high up.
Also, I agree with who ever said that they believed in the doctors that didn't reach the top of their class. You see, those people may be more creative when it comes to treating their patients, and that might lead to discovering some way of curing some terrible disease. Also remember that some doctors who graduated high in their class are really smart, THEORETICALLY. Just because someone does well in school doesn't mean that they are going to do well in real life.
What happens when everyone in the class makes the same grade (or are within a few points of each other)? Then the bell curve depends completely on how the teacher feels about each student, and I wouldn't want to not be able to work in my dream job just because some professor didn't like the fact that I came from a poor family or whatever.


Wed Oct 12, 2005 6:15 pm
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I agree Kate. Just becaue you don't make straight A's doesn't mean you won't be great at what you do in life. Some people are just not good test takers. She is a biology major, you can sit and quiz her and she will tell you all you want to know about cells and what not and more. Once you sit her in front of a test though she freezes up.


Thu Oct 13, 2005 6:18 am
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Personally I rarely ever got straight As. I always would have atleast one class I wouldd get a B in. I don't think that all As is a bad thing if they are deserved, but I think it is rare to find a class where everyone deserves an A. Normally there are always a few students that don't care that much so that they put much effort into their work. These students should not get As. If they do recieve an A I hate to say it, but the class was probably too easy. It could have been all the students were interested by the subject more likely its not that.


Thu Oct 13, 2005 10:16 am
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What a good topic. I agree with Kate, I think that you can be book smart and know a vast amount of information but application of this information is a totally different thing. I took in school and still can memorize amost anything to do well on a test, however generally after the semester is over unless I take a course next semester to build on it, I forget what i've learned, which is so frustrating. The bell curve has its place. I agree it shouldn't be used in high schools, however I think there might be a few cases where it might be good to use. Like a large introductory class on a college level. Like for instance after you've had your basic maths for engineering they ususally have a higher level math or engineering class you take before you get into the college of engineering. Honestly it's a method of weeding out students. For something like that I think it is okay, because a student must realize they have to work hard if they want to be that, and if they just don't care then they'll have to drop it. Now the stipulation to that is that usually most professors that Ive had that use the bell curve didn't use it to the extreme it was demonstrated in class, I suppose it was a modified version. Don't get me wrong I don't think people we make a 80 or higher should fell a course because everyone else made higher than them, obviously you shouldn't use it here. Testing in general is a hard way to throughly tell if someone knows material anyway, but thats another subject.


Tue Oct 18, 2005 8:10 am
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Well, the whole "A" concept and goal to achieve in class just takes away the whole purpose of education, isn't the purpose more to learn and discover or to discourage and make impersonal. I wish grades weren't so strongly stressed as being so important, all these letters and numbers, and GPA's and social and uf!!!!...............It's such a wrong way to judge somebody in my opinion. There has to be a better way.

If I could throw all grades out I would but I would include a different way to evaluate student learning. I would make informal gatherings were each student could share things learned in an open space and find a constructive way of sharing the information. If succesful, great, it not, encourage student to try again.


Tue Oct 18, 2005 11:34 am
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I had a professor that stateed no "A" will be given. The instructor said that unless a person spent their entire life on a subject or issue they do not deserve an "A," because any less time than that would not be sufficent. At first I wondered who the hell thios person thought they were. But now when I think about it, all the "A's" I have recieved were bogus. I can not name one subject matter that have mastered. I do not think that grading on a BELL curve would harm the average student. How many times have you been in a "standard" class and have the whole class recieve "A's?"


Wed Oct 19, 2005 3:41 pm
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I will never use a bell curve because I do not think that a standardized curve can measure a person. Bell curves limit someone's potential, and if we, as teachers, are truly striving to educate our students then we should try our best to make sure each one gets an A. Some of my professors have let the class turn in work until full credit is gained and through this I learned. On the other hand in my classes where I could not re-submit work I did not learn from my mistakes.


Wed Nov 30, 2005 2:55 pm
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I think that it is important that teachers do their best to set their students up for success. In my experiences in school I had many teachers that made tests and papers so hard that it would be almost impossible for every student in the class to do well. With a bell curve you automatically set some students up for success, and some for failure. I don't see the harm in setting high expectations, or giving all A's to a class that is deserving.


Wed Nov 30, 2005 3:26 pm
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I feel the same way. I think that if the students have worked hard and all shown that they have tried the best that they could then I don't see the problem with them all getting A's if that is what they earned. I know that I have never been a good test taker. I could know all the material and tell you all about it, but when I comes down to test time I just can't perform.


Wed Nov 30, 2005 3:46 pm
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