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(Inside Higher Ed)   Problem: Professor grades on a curve. Solution: boycott final so everyone gets the "high" score (a 0) and therefore an A. Fark: it works   (insidehighered.com) divider line 192
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16741 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 Feb 2013 at 10:52 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-14 10:55:16 AM
This wouldn't have worked in Law School, too many douche bags.
 
2013-02-14 10:56:21 AM
math2033.uark.edu
 
2013-02-14 10:56:48 AM
They also all got the lowest score, so everyone fails.

They also all got the Median score, so everyone gets a C
 
2013-02-14 10:57:24 AM
www.maniacworld.com

What dangerous curves may look like
 
2013-02-14 10:58:11 AM
Why couldn't any of my class mates have been down for this?
Actually my problem was homework. Not tests. It only affected one class but unfortunately it was intermediate accounting II and I was an accounting major.
 
2013-02-14 10:59:37 AM
I'm amazed that that one guy who asks all the stupid questions right at the end of class didn't fark it up for everyone else by showing up for the exam.
 
2013-02-14 11:00:17 AM
I believe they all get an incomplete since they failed to take the test, and a disciplinary request to the administration for wasting my time and the schools resources.
 
2013-02-14 11:00:18 AM
Tricycle racer wins.  Prisoner dilemma FTW!


In the real world, college profs are given wide authority on grading.  I'd have failed the entire class for this kind of BS.
 
2013-02-14 11:00:52 AM
This is ridiculous. It sounds like you had a chance to improve your grade with the curve. If the highest score was an 80 then your grade got bumped up by 20 points. I don't understand the logic in getting everyone to sit out.

/ never graded on a curve.
//am I misunderstanding it?
 
2013-02-14 11:01:45 AM
I can somewhat understand grading on a curve, since many exams have different "correct" answers than what's written in the textbook, but the professor should have at least had a rule stating that anyone not present at the time of the exam gets a grade of "Absent", thus ineligible to get any score on the test.
 
2013-02-14 11:01:54 AM

Dogberry: I'm amazed that that one guy who asks all the stupid questions right at the end of class didn't fark it up for everyone else by showing up for the exam.


Did you read TFA? Everyone sat outside the room, and if one student had gone in to take the exam, all of them would have done the same.
 
2013-02-14 11:02:44 AM
they didn't take the test, so getting an A for the test is illogical: they should have gotten an incomplete, with their scores for the semester either unchanged or lowered due to the lack of the required 100-300 points the final would be composed of.  At the same time, the students are paying for an education, and knowing how to get the best grade is secondary to knowing the material with which you intend to base a career off of.  If those students were to think rationally about their motives, i.e. "How will I proceed in this course of study?  I have an A for this class, but I don't know the material, as I was too busy getting tanked to study, knowing we'd just be sitting outside the classroom."

/I would have walked into the room to take the exam
//would also have been the one who got the 100% and farked their possibility to get a curve
///yes, I'm that guy
 
2013-02-14 11:02:50 AM
As with any true loophole it only works once, but the people who figured it out deserve congratulations on pulling it off.
 
2013-02-14 11:03:40 AM

5monkeys: This is ridiculous. It sounds like you had a chance to improve your grade with the curve. If the highest score was an 80 then your grade got bumped up by 20 points. I don't understand the logic in getting everyone to sit out.

/ never graded on a curve.
//am I misunderstanding it?


They weren't protesting that it was "unfair" they simply wanted to see what the prof would do.  He (the prof) actually seems like a pretty cool teacher and even he learned something - he didnt go apeshiat trying to get revenge on these kids, he gave them the "well played ol' chap" nod and is changing his policy for the future.  All said and done *golfclaps* all around.
 
2013-02-14 11:03:59 AM
Fark that.  By the one student's logic, if I know I am going to ace the test anyway because I studied ahead of time there is no incentive for me to break the boycott because I will still ace the test.  Bullshiat.  Why should I let those other lazy farks off easy because they think they've found a way to game the system?

/would have failed them all if I was the professor
 
2013-02-14 11:03:59 AM
DussoJanladde:
Did you read TFA?

So many words.  I skimmed it.
 
MBK [TotalFark]
2013-02-14 11:04:12 AM
Oh man, I would have LOVED to trolled the entire class and taken the test.
 
2013-02-14 11:04:55 AM
Good luck trying to apply that one in the real world, kiddos.
 
2013-02-14 11:06:51 AM
 
2013-02-14 11:07:03 AM

BigNumber12: Good luck trying to apply that one in the real world, kiddos.


You mean the real world of tax loopholes, back room deals and collusion?  Yeah, in reality that shiat works in the real world too.
 
2013-02-14 11:07:12 AM
Grading on a curve is pretty stupid for a college class. It makes sense for something like the SATs where the number of test takers is very large and the group is varied in composition, but, in a high-level science class, there's a chance everyone there does very well and they should be graded as such.

...wait, I just read the article. He wasn't grading on a curve at all. That's not what grading on a curve is, despite what so many teachers may have wrongly told you.
 
2013-02-14 11:07:14 AM
FTFA Kelly said the boycott was made possible through a variety of technological and social media tools. Students used a spreadsheet on Google Drive to keep track of who had agreed to the boycott, for instance. And social networks were key to "get 100 percent confidence that you have 100 percent of the people on board" in a big class.

Because utilizing a spreadsheet and calling people have never been used in the history of organizing anything.  Evar.

/article fail
 
2013-02-14 11:08:13 AM

DussoJanladde: Dogberry: I'm amazed that that one guy who asks all the stupid questions right at the end of class didn't fark it up for everyone else by showing up for the exam.

Did you read TFA? Everyone sat outside the room, and if one student had gone in to take the exam, all of them would have done the same.


I would've sneaked in through a different door or crawled through a window or something. Just answer like 1 or 2 questions correctly and be done with it. That would've been hilarious.
 
2013-02-14 11:08:33 AM

5monkeys: This is ridiculous. It sounds like you had a chance to improve your grade with the curve. If the highest score was an 80 then your grade got bumped up by 20 points


If 90% of the class gets a score of 60, and the highest is 61, that 90% gets an A.

If 90% of the class gets a score of 60, and the highest is 98, that 90% gets a D.

Grading on a curve really does allow one person to mess it up for everyone else. Your score doesn't matter, only the highest score does, unless you can prove that your "incorrect" answers were correct as stated in the textbook, not covered in the class, etc.
 
2013-02-14 11:09:14 AM
How is grading on a curve a problem? It can only help you compared to the alternative. All they did was screw it up for everyone else in the future. If you can actually get everyone else on board, there are far more subtle ways to effectively manipulate a grading curve.

Also, the professor's new policy of "everybody has 0 points means that everybody gets 0 percent" would be just as ineffective if he's going to follow it to the letter as he did here. All everyone has to do is pick one question (or one relevant fact in the case of an essay test) that they're sure about and only answer that one.
 
2013-02-14 11:09:21 AM

StrangeQ: /would have failed them all if I was the professor


Not if you didn't like being sued for not following the syllabus that you printed and handed out. This was at Johns Hopkins, at least one of those kids would have had the dough to make that hurt.
 
2013-02-14 11:09:29 AM
Then some kid who passed out drunk the night before e-mails him, says he was "sick" and apologizes for not making it to the final, then asks if he can make it up...
 
2013-02-14 11:09:38 AM
Call me crazy but I have always felt when marking my students that their mark should be related to how much they know not how much the others in the class do.
 
2013-02-14 11:11:26 AM

BigNumber12: Good luck trying to apply that one in the real world, kiddos.


If they keep "leveling the playing feild", it will lower the standards enough to where it will work.
 
2013-02-14 11:11:54 AM

thurstonxhowell: Grading on a curve is pretty stupid for a college class. It makes sense for something like the SATs where the number of test takers is very large and the group is varied in composition, but, in a high-level science class, there's a chance everyone there does very well and they should be graded as such.

...wait, I just read the article. He wasn't grading on a curve at all. That's not what grading on a curve is, despite what so many teachers may have wrongly told you.


Yeah we was adjusting the max score to match the best performance which is definitely not grading on a curve.  And even for people who DO actually try and grade on a curve I've never met someone who was such a bastard that a 93% becomes a "C" because everyone did awesome and you were just a little less awesome.  I would be farking THRILLED if I had a class average a 93% on a test and would happily dish out the "A's",
 
2013-02-14 11:12:22 AM

Dogberry: I'm amazed that that one guy who asks all the stupid questions right at the end of class didn't fark it up for everyone else by showing up for the exam.


thankfully, no dumb questions from me right at the end of class.  He sits 3 chairs to my left in chemistry, though.

/and two rows forward in Embedded Design
//same kid, both classes
///professors are relieved when he doesn't show for class 60% of the time.
 
2013-02-14 11:12:43 AM

fireclown: In the real world, college profs are given wide authority on grading.  I'd have failed the entire class for this kind of BS.


Yes, but he almost certainly gave his students a paper explaining the grading policy. If he had failed them all, they could've gone to college administrators and appealed that grade. Many professors I had in college viewed the syllabus and papers like the grading policy as like a contract and generally speaking; are expected to stick with that, regardless of circumstances like exploited loopholes.
 
2013-02-14 11:12:46 AM

USCLaw2010: This wouldn't have worked in Law Dental School, too many douche bags.


FTFM
 
2013-02-14 11:13:30 AM
Ah, students these days.  Instead of working hard for your grade, let's find loopholes to slide by.
 
2013-02-14 11:14:26 AM

Quaker: How is grading on a curve a problem? It can only help you compared to the alternative


False. Grading on a curve is not the same as what this guy did. This guy bumped up students' scores so that the highest score was equivalent to getting 100% even if a few questions were wrong. That's not grading on a curve. Grading on a curve forces the grades into a pre-determined distribution, usually centered on a C. Most colleges are reluctant to give Fs, so you really have to fark up to get one.

If a class gets 96, 95, 92, 88, 86, 85, 85, 84, and 82, this guy would give them 100, 99, 96, 92, 90, 89, 89, 88, and 86. Grading on a curve would give them something like A, B, B, C, C, C, C, D, and D.
 
2013-02-14 11:14:30 AM

naughtyrev: DussoJanladde: Dogberry: I'm amazed that that one guy who asks all the stupid questions right at the end of class didn't fark it up for everyone else by showing up for the exam.

Did you read TFA? Everyone sat outside the room, and if one student had gone in to take the exam, all of them would have done the same.

I would've sneaked in through a different door or crawled through a window or something. Just answer like 1 or 2 questions correctly and be done with it. That would've been hilarious.


Reminds me of that show Biggest Loser when they have the temptation challenges. It is interesting to see one or two contestants chow down and eat like 2000 calories and others not touch anything.

I would have wanted to take the test but probably would have caved to peer pressure as a college student.

Still kinda stupid, Even if he took the high score and made that an A, he still calculates percentages based on that score. So if the quiz was worth 40 and the high score was 36, now the quiz is out of 36. If the student got 30, the student has a 83% instead of a 75%. If the high score is 0, and everyone has a 0, then everyone should still have 0%.
 
2013-02-14 11:14:41 AM

USCLaw2010: This wouldn't have worked in Law School, too many douche bags.


No need... Harvard and many other "top" law schools now don't grade first year, so that a huge percentage of their students applying for summer associate positions can legitimately claim that they're at the top of their class.
 
2013-02-14 11:14:46 AM

Onkel Buck: BigNumber12: Good luck trying to apply that one in the real world, kiddos.

If they keep "leveling the playing feild* ", it will lower the standards enough to where it will work

/*field

FTFM

 
2013-02-14 11:15:16 AM

5monkeys: This is ridiculous. It sounds like you had a chance to improve your grade with the curve. If the highest score was an 80 then your grade got bumped up by 20 points. I don't understand the logic in getting everyone to sit out.

/ never graded on a curve.
//am I misunderstanding it?


It depends - essentially the highest score is now "100%", and everything else is graded relative to that score. So, if everyone is clustered in a normal distribution then the curve should help.

In my experience, professors that graded on a curve generally wrote extremely difficult exams, and expected that the highest marks would be around 50-60% of the total. If, however, you happen to be in class with a freakin' genius who performs well above that expectation, then your grade would be totally shot. (Granted, *most* professors who do this will account for outliers and retool the curve so that it's more normally distributed...      sounds like this guy might not do that, however.)

(Lot of assumptions in here, I know...)
 
2013-02-14 11:16:34 AM

5monkeys: This is ridiculous. It sounds like you had a chance to improve your grade with the curve. If the highest score was an 80 then your grade got bumped up by 20 points. I don't understand the logic in getting everyone to sit out.

/ never graded on a curve.
//am I misunderstanding it?


Because then everyone with a '0' gets their score bumped up by 100 points. Beats an "80' every time.
These kids get credit for thinking outside the box AND getting this thing organized. The prof. gets credit for standing behind what he drew up, flaws and all, and not getting mad. He left a loophole in, and these kids exploited it. Lesson learned.
 
2013-02-14 11:17:55 AM

BigNumber12: Good luck trying to apply that one in the real world, kiddos.


Good thing the "real world" is more than just the workplace and learning how to come together to achieve goals is actually a useful skill.
 
2013-02-14 11:18:42 AM

thurstonxhowell: Grading on a curve is pretty stupid for a college class. It makes sense for something like the SATs where the number of test takers is very large and the group is varied in composition, but, in a high-level science class, there's a chance everyone there does very well and they should be graded as such.

...wait, I just read the article. He wasn't grading on a curve at all. That's not what grading on a curve is, despite what so many teachers may have wrongly told you.



I went to Hopkins, most professors grade on a curve in any class with more than 30 people or so, though they usually do a bell curve centered on a B with one standard deviation per letter grade.  A lot of them purposely make the test too hard, that way the really smart ones get all the As, stretching out the curve so that almost everyone fits inside of one deviation of the mean.

I'm not sure what Herr Froelich was doing though.
 
2013-02-14 11:19:08 AM
Trance354:
/I would have walked into the room to take the exam
//would also have been the one who got the 100% and farked their possibility to get a curve
///yes, I'm that guy



Farkied as "thinks he's hot shiat."
 
2013-02-14 11:19:11 AM

Quaker: All they did was screw it up for everyone else in the future.


How? They exposed the same loophole that you're biatching about them using. That's all that changed, it's not like he took away the curve or started requiring everyone to take their tests under armed guard. He just closed that loophole.
 
2013-02-14 11:19:12 AM
They divided by zero. Worlds colliding!
 
2013-02-14 11:22:17 AM
The students waited outside the rooms to make sure that others honored the boycott,

So it's like the Prisoners' Dilemma, if Henry has a gun, gets to watch Dave's questioning, and can shoot him if Dave starts trying to dime him out.

So in other words, not very much like the Prisoners' Dilemma.
 
2013-02-14 11:23:10 AM

Mikey1969: Quaker: All they did was screw it up for everyone else in the future.

How? They exposed the same loophole that you're biatching about them using. That's all that changed, it's not like he took away the curve or started requiring everyone to take their tests under armed guard. He just closed that loophole.


Milton's going to burn down the classroom now.
 
2013-02-14 11:23:41 AM
Wouldn't work at our school. Our university has a policy that says you must take the final in order to pass the course.
 
2013-02-14 11:25:46 AM

Gerald Tarrant: Call me crazy but I have always felt when marking my students that their mark should be related to how much they know not how much the others in the class do.


The idea behind a sliding scale (is that the best term for this type of gradaing....I hate when people call it a curve because grading to a curve is something completely different) is that it helps cancel out issues such as ambiguous or poorly worded questions, poor explanation or coverage of a subject,  and other testing issues.  The idea is that if a question is "bad", for whatever reason, such that the majority of the class misses it, then it is more likely that the fault lies with the test, the professor, or the text.  Ideally you would review the results of each question to weed out the bad ones, but practically you accomplish the same thing by adjusting the grading scale to the top score.

Trust me when I say that if this method of grading wasn't used, you'd have more of the piss poor profs whom seem to revel in the "lets see how many students I can fail this term" tests.  It can promote grade inflation however and should be not be used as a crutch by professors to justify lazy / bad test writing (which it does at times from my experience).
 
2013-02-14 11:26:18 AM

wxboy: Mikey1969: Quaker: All they did was screw it up for everyone else in the future.

How? They exposed the same loophole that you're biatching about them using. That's all that changed, it's not like he took away the curve or started requiring everyone to take their tests under armed guard. He just closed that loophole.

Milton's going to burn down the classroom now.


probably shouldn't have touched his stapler, upon further reflection.
 
2013-02-14 11:26:27 AM
That's petty clever, I wonder if the they learned it from the labor movement.
 
2013-02-14 11:27:27 AM
I am getting the impression that the professor is either foreign or his family is fairly new to the states. An American professor would have flunked them, dressed them down for a few hours, and then shot them all.

/too soon?
//yes it is a joke so get over it...
 
2013-02-14 11:27:42 AM

5monkeys: This is ridiculous. It sounds like you had a chance to improve your grade with the curve. If the highest score was an 80 then your grade got bumped up by 20 points. I don't understand the logic in getting everyone to sit out.

/ never graded on a curve.
//am I misunderstanding it?


I can't tell FTFA, but a proper curve enforces a standard distribution on grades - 1 A, 2 Bs, 3 Cs, 2 Ds, and 1 F, for example, regardless of the actual spread of results.  This is hardly ever done any more, and the more common meaning of "grade on a curve" is that the highest score is now equal to 100%.  So, the smart kid gets 92 out of 100 on the test and everybody gets eight points added to their score.  So now the kid who only got a 75 is getting a B instead of a C, etc.  This is probably what this prof was using in his class.  So, the end result when the highest score is 0 is that everybody gets 100 points added to their score, which means everybody gets an A.
 
2013-02-14 11:27:58 AM

the ha ha guy: 5monkeys: This is ridiculous. It sounds like you had a chance to improve your grade with the curve. If the highest score was an 80 then your grade got bumped up by 20 points

If 90% of the class gets a score of 60, and the highest is 61, that 90% gets an A.

If 90% of the class gets a score of 60, and the highest is 98, that 90% gets a D.

Grading on a curve really does allow one person to mess it up for everyone else. Your score doesn't matter, only the highest score does, unless you can prove that your "incorrect" answers were correct as stated in the textbook, not covered in the class, etc.


I was that one person once. My networking class had a hard exam on IP addressing. I understood how to convert binary to decimal and hex. Knew how to do the wide range of IP addressing classes and subnets. Scored a 98%. The next highest grade was a 65%. The professor said he would of graded on a curve if it was not for the one person who scored a 98%. My friends found out it was me and I ran for my life.
 
2013-02-14 11:28:16 AM
Grading on a curve is pure instructor laziness.  Since at least 1 student will get an A, the instructors ability to instruct is never challenged.

I don't think the students boycotted it to ensure everyone got an A, as it was a real risk the instructor wouldn't allow their shenanigans, I think it was more of a buck the system.

Brilliant!
 
2013-02-14 11:28:42 AM

YoungLochinvar: 5monkeys: This is ridiculous. It sounds like you had a chance to improve your grade with the curve. If the highest score was an 80 then your grade got bumped up by 20 points. I don't understand the logic in getting everyone to sit out.

/ never graded on a curve.
//am I misunderstanding it?

It depends - essentially the highest score is now "100%", and everything else is graded relative to that score. So, if everyone is clustered in a normal distribution then the curve should help.

In my experience, professors that graded on a curve generally wrote extremely difficult exams, and expected that the highest marks would be around 50-60% of the total. If, however, you happen to be in class with a freakin' genius who performs well above that expectation, then your grade would be totally shot. (Granted, *most* professors who do this will account for outliers and retool the curve so that it's more normally distributed... sounds like this guy might not do that, however.)

(Lot of assumptions in here, I know...)


I had one of these professors on college.

IIRC,the curve was something like:

> 80 was an A
60-79 was a B
45-59 was a C
35-44 was a D
 < 35 F

What's the point of teaching agiving exams where 75% of the students are retaining maybe 50% of the  information.
 
2013-02-14 11:29:24 AM
Grading on a curve is dumb, and this prof had it coming.  Just grade on an absolute scale; that way students compete with the test and the material and not each other.
 
2013-02-14 11:31:15 AM
FAIL tag beats ASININE?

Andrew Kelly, a student in Fröhlich's Introduction to Programming class who was one of the boycott's key organizers, explained the logic of the students' decision via e-mail: "Handing out 0's to your classmates will not improve your performance in this course," Kelly said.

If I were an employer, I'd be thrilled that this guy allowed his name to be used in the article, because he is so delusional I'd never consider for a moment hiring him.

Does he not realize exams are supposed to asses your understanding of the material taught in a class, and a grade is supposed to be a final reflection of your understanding of the material?

The professor should be rightly lambasted for his "curve" scheme as well- bringing the "A" grade down to the highest scoring student? Why should there be any reason to adjust the grading based on a particular group of students and their peers? If pre-med students taking anatomy were all idiots, and couldn't do better than a 60% at any time, you'd be damn sure I'd want most of them to fail, because they clearly do not understand the material. As such, I don't want them to be able to become doctors until they do. Not that employers place a great deal of importance on grades anyway, but saying you got a 3.5 GPA in our field of study when in reality it was just because everyone you took classes with was as stupid as you is tantamount to lying about your academic history.

There are times when a curve is acceptable- when the test has mistakes on it, or is worded so poorly that you can't help but get the question wrong. This is evidenced by a huge proportion of the entire test-taking base getting that question wrong, and generating a statistical aberration in the scoring. You then curve the scored upward by the value of the questions missed. This is how the SAT, ACT, and most other standardized tests do it.

The icing on the cake is the fact that this was an INTRODUCTORY level course, not some 500-level advanced programming study. If you can't handle the intro courses in your major, it's time to change majors.

/had a math teacher who always offered to curve our test scores
//he'd mention he was planning on using a bell curve to statistically normalize them
///we never took him up on it
 
2013-02-14 11:32:34 AM

5monkeys: This is ridiculous. It sounds like you had a chance to improve your grade with the curve. If the highest score was an 80 then your grade got bumped up by 20 points. I don't understand the logic in getting everyone to sit out.

/ never graded on a curve.
//am I misunderstanding it?


That's an adjustment, on a true curve the highest grade is always a 100 and the lowest grade is always a 0. Most professors who "grade on a curve" actually just adjust the mean grade to 2.8-3.2 depending on thethe performance of thethe class and then adjust everyone elses hrade relative to the mean.
 
2013-02-14 11:32:54 AM

R66YRobo: Gerald Tarrant: Call me crazy but I have always felt when marking my students that their mark should be related to how much they know not how much the others in the class do.

The idea behind a sliding scale (is that the best term for this type of gradaing....I hate when people call it a curve because grading to a curve is something completely different) is that it helps cancel out issues such as ambiguous or poorly worded questions, poor explanation or coverage of a subject,  and other testing issues.  The idea is that if a question is "bad", for whatever reason, such that the majority of the class misses it, then it is more likely that the fault lies with the test, the professor, or the text.  Ideally you would review the results of each question to weed out the bad ones, but practically you accomplish the same thing by adjusting the grading scale to the top score.

Trust me when I say that if this method of grading wasn't used, you'd have more of the piss poor profs whom seem to revel in the "lets see how many students I can fail this term" tests.  It can promote grade inflation however and should be not be used as a crutch by professors to justify lazy / bad test writing (which it does at times from my experience).


I like how you explained that. I just had an IT ethical class midterm and one of the questions had "right" answers (one of those choose which answers fit questions). I, as well as the majority of classmates, got it wrong. I argued that that question was indeed a bad question because ethics is defined as where a person grew up and world view (broad definition I know). And that technically all the answers were indeed the right answer to the question. It worked and the question was thrown out to allow easier grading. Which raised everyone's grade by over 20 percent.
 
2013-02-14 11:33:11 AM
Oh, and a CSB

Had a high school teacher who graded this way and even told the class flat out that if everyone handed in a blank test he would give everyone a 100%.  Of course, if one person answered a single question, everyone else would get a 0.  He had been doing it for 20+ years when I had him and as far as I know no class ever even attempted to game it, even with him admitting the loophole.  Of course, as it was high school you couldn't set up outside the door to ensure no one came in like these college students did.  You'd have to sit the test hour with you test blank in front of you the entire hour and just trust that the other 30 people in class were doing the same.
 
2013-02-14 11:34:42 AM

PsyLord: Ah, students these days.  Instead of working hard for your grade, let's find loopholes to slide by.


I'm usually one of those "get off my lawn" types, too, but you did the same thing when you were a kid and your parents did so before you. You're just upset because they got over and you didn't. Frankly, I admire it. They took a big chance and it paid off big. Were that some of us would do the same.
 
2013-02-14 11:34:54 AM
Don't like the way a teacher grades?  You find out all about it during the first week.  Just drop the class.  Problem solved.
 
2013-02-14 11:35:52 AM

grinding_journalist: FAIL tag beats ASININE?

Andrew Kelly, a student in Fröhlich's Introduction to Programming class who was one of the boycott's key organizers, explained the logic of the students' decision via e-mail: "Handing out 0's to your classmates will not improve your performance in this course," Kelly said.

If I were an employer, I'd be thrilled that this guy allowed his name to be used in the article, because he is so delusional I'd never consider for a moment hiring him.


The guy got dozens of other people to follow him in on a risky proposition - a group which MUST have included people who would have gotten an "A" anyway.  There are plenty of places that WOULD hire him just because of this....
 
2013-02-14 11:35:52 AM
hahaha, I used this same grading system on a group of about 60 people working for me.

I based it off the work they were doing (tickets, meetings, etc.). -It worked wonders.

They were used to people smoozing their way to the top without doing any real work. When this got implemented, those same jerks were revealed for their lack of work.

Tickets got done faster, people started attending meetings (I included grading for participation -meaning if you promised something at the last meeting and didn't have it or didn't show up, you got a zero that day), and I promoted the ones who worked.

The only ones not happy with the system were the lazy farks who eventually were either let go at the end of their contracts or left on their own.

Interestingly enough, when I started, I didn't know who to trust, so I had a meeting discussing our new way of working, and gave them a handwritten "test" on it (but I allowed them to cheat). I used the results for handwriting analysis... which works really well if you do it right by the way.

If only the rest of the business world was run this way.
 
2013-02-14 11:37:02 AM

Gerald Tarrant: Call me crazy but I have always felt when marking my students that their mark should be related to how much they know not how much the others in the class do.


What you said.
 
2013-02-14 11:37:04 AM

Dogberry: I'm amazed that that one guy who asks all the stupid questions right at the end of class didn't fark it up for everyone else by showing up for the exam.


The one that furrows his brow and repeats the question every time the professor answers it because he isn't getting the answer he wants?
 
2013-02-14 11:38:03 AM

StrangeQ: Fark that.  By the one student's logic, if I know I am going to ace the test anyway because I studied ahead of time there is no incentive for me to break the boycott because I will still ace the test.  Bullshiat.  Why should I let those other lazy farks off easy because they think they've found a way to game the system?


I bet you practically pop a gasket in the supermarket when you see somebody buying steaks and ice cream with food stamps.
 
2013-02-14 11:44:34 AM

Fizpez: The guy got dozens of other people to follow him in on a risky proposition - a group which MUST have included people who would have gotten an "A" anyway. There are plenty of places that WOULD hire him just because of this....


Another way of looking at it would be: This guy convinced dozens of other people to do an ethically questionable gaming of the system for personal benefit. I wonder if he'd do that with his pool of office co-workers at our company? He clearly has no problem with it, and here, it might cost us money.
 
2013-02-14 11:47:19 AM

grinding_journalist: Another way of looking at it would be: This guy convinced dozens of other people to do an ethically questionable gaming of the system for personal benefit. I wonder if he'd do that with his pool of office co-workers at our company? He clearly has no problem with it, and here, it might cost us money.


meh.  A company with a strong union wouldn't even notice the difference.
 
2013-02-14 11:47:46 AM

the ha ha guy: 5monkeys: This is ridiculous. It sounds like you had a chance to improve your grade with the curve. If the highest score was an 80 then your grade got bumped up by 20 points

If 90% of the class gets a score of 60, and the highest is 61, that 90% gets an A.

If 90% of the class gets a score of 60, and the highest is 98, that 90% gets a D.

Grading on a curve really does allow one person to mess it up for everyone else. Your score doesn't matter, only the highest score does, unless you can prove that your "incorrect" answers were correct as stated in the textbook, not covered in the class, etc.


When I was in high school (not college) I would sometimes throw off the curve (i.e., affine adjustment) like this.  The teacher usually just curved the score off the second-highest test.  Naturally they didn't extrapolate my score to a 130 or whatever on the test, nor did they cut me a break if I didn't turn in homework.  So Miss Second-Highest-Test-Score ended up getting the highest grade even though I left her in the dust on all the tests, just because I failed to turn in a single homework.
 
2013-02-14 11:48:27 AM

Dogberry: I'm amazed that that one guy who asks all the stupid questions right at the end of class didn't fark it up for everyone else by showing up for the exam.


Some of my Dad's classmates in med school would play "Bimbo Bingo", with the names of all the suckups on cards.
 
2013-02-14 11:53:54 AM

Gerald Tarrant: Call me crazy but I have always felt when marking my students that their mark should be related to how much they know not how much the others in the class do.


Yeah I'm not sure what the point of it is unless it's to prop up bad students (ie everybody is a winner). The grades are supposed to reflect an individual's performance, where this is like you're grading the group as a single unit.
 
2013-02-14 11:54:41 AM
They changed the conditions of the test; got a commendation for original thinking. They don't like to lose.
 
2013-02-14 11:55:48 AM

fireclown: Tricycle racer wins.  Prisoner dilemma FTW!


In the real world, college profs are given wide authority on grading.  I'd have failed the entire class for this kind of BS.


This is that undergrad bullshiat where they demand an A because the tests are TOO HARD.

/do the work and you shouldn't have to worry about failing
 
2013-02-14 11:57:14 AM
You just know that ONE of these students will ask for a letter of recommendation from this guy, and that is where he will exact his revenge.
 
2013-02-14 11:58:00 AM
I guess congratulations are in order for the whole class getting 100% on this exam, but from the sound of it the organizers at least put in more work to get out of the exam than they would have had to put into studying in the first place.

/was always the "curve breaker" in middle and high school
//enjoy the Ds you earned, you jock bastards
///I've gotten much dumber with age, unfortunately
 
2013-02-14 11:58:02 AM
Clever, and you win on a technicality (which isn't even really a technicality, the professor's syllabus and grading style are not legally binding), but come on you whiny entitled bastards. It's just a test. Seriously.

I'd have failed all of them on principle.
 
2013-02-14 11:58:20 AM

AngryPanda: fireclown: 

/do the work and you shouldn't have to worry about failing


I bet most of them weren't in any danger of failing.  However, many of them were likely in danger of getting a B.
 
2013-02-14 11:59:57 AM
Grading on a curve seems absolutely stupid.

It makes the teacher look like an idiot when one person gets an A.
It makes the students look like idiots because they weren't number 1.
It makes 4.0 impossible.

It's stupid and outdated.  But..... It saved me in the only class I had it.  Business Law.  Frankly, my 40s and 50s ended up 70s and 80s by the grace of God.  Imagine knowing the subjects, knowing the answers with 100% certainty.  Explaining in detail the laws.  And getting a 40 on the test.  I was pretty sure I was going mad.  I talked with the teacher and he assured me I was fine.
 
2013-02-14 12:00:40 PM

pyrotek85: Gerald Tarrant: Call me crazy but I have always felt when marking my students that their mark should be related to how much they know not how much the others in the class do.

Yeah I'm not sure what the point of it is unless it's to prop up bad students (ie everybody is a winner). The grades are supposed to reflect an individual's performance, where this is like you're grading the group as a single unit.


You are making the assumption, usually but not always correct, that tests actually test knowledge. In my experience, admittedly anecdotal, all tests prove is that people like me can easily pass without studying while the people on the bottom end of the class spend hours studying to get mediocre grades.

Normalization of grades have been happening for a long time, I see little reason to object to it now.
 
2013-02-14 12:02:14 PM

Gabrielmot: hahaha, I used this same grading system on a group of about 60 people working for me.

I based it off the work they were doing (tickets, meetings, etc.). -It worked wonders.

They were used to people smoozing their way to the top without doing any real work. When this got implemented, those same jerks were revealed for their lack of work.

Tickets got done faster, people started attending meetings (I included grading for participation -meaning if you promised something at the last meeting and didn't have it or didn't show up, you got a zero that day), and I promoted the ones who worked.

The only ones not happy with the system were the lazy farks who eventually were either let go at the end of their contracts or left on their own.

Interestingly enough, when I started, I didn't know who to trust, so I had a meeting discussing our new way of working, and gave them a handwritten "test" on it (but I allowed them to cheat). I used the results for handwriting analysis... which works really well if you do it right by the way.

If only the rest of the business world was run this way.


25.media.tumblr.com
 
2013-02-14 12:02:52 PM
I would have loved to have been the ass that ruined it for all of them.

"Fark all you guys. I'm here to learn shiat, not for a goddamn grade. I'm smart enough to take this test and pass it. If you're not, then go find a new line of study."
 
2013-02-14 12:06:46 PM

The My Little Pony Killer: Don't like the way a teacher grades?  You find out all about it during the first week.  Just drop the class.  Problem solved.


They did like the way the teacher grades, though. They liked it a whole lot.
 
2013-02-14 12:08:04 PM

Adolf Oliver Nipples: pyrotek85: Gerald Tarrant: Call me crazy but I have always felt when marking my students that their mark should be related to how much they know not how much the others in the class do.

Yeah I'm not sure what the point of it is unless it's to prop up bad students (ie everybody is a winner). The grades are supposed to reflect an individual's performance, where this is like you're grading the group as a single unit.

You are making the assumption, usually but not always correct, that tests actually test knowledge. In my experience, admittedly anecdotal, all tests prove is that people like me can easily pass without studying while the people on the bottom end of the class spend hours studying to get mediocre grades.

Normalization of grades have been happening for a long time, I see little reason to object to it now.


It sounds like the problem lies with the tests, though I wouldn't know how to go about solving it myself. Maybe it's just wishful thinking and this is the best way to compensate.
 
2013-02-14 12:09:26 PM

Mikey1969: Quaker: All they did was screw it up for everyone else in the future.

How? They exposed the same loophole that you're biatching about them using. That's all that changed, it's not like he took away the curve or started requiring everyone to take their tests under armed guard. He just closed that loophole.


That's true for now. But as a general rule, when you find a system that can be exploited, it's never helpful in the long run to take that exploitation to the extreme. They could have coordinated their efforts in a more subtle way so that everyone gets a reasonably good grade without necessarily alerting the professor to the collusion. Instead they risked ruining it for everyone else down the line so that they could all get A's.

thurstonxhowell: Quaker: How is grading on a curve a problem? It can only help you compared to the alternative

False. Grading on a curve is not the same as what this guy did.


Semantics.
 
2013-02-14 12:12:29 PM
If this was a literature class, yeah... the professor should fail/incomplete them all.  For classes in a field where it is a valuable skill to be able to spot edge cases, and put together a system that makes sure this doesn't blow up in your face (one student takes test)... i thinkthe prof did the right thing.
 
2013-02-14 12:15:45 PM

blatz514: What dangerous curves may look like


A methed up redneck?
 
2013-02-14 12:15:49 PM

thurstonxhowell: StrangeQ: /would have failed them all if I was the professor

Not if you didn't like being sued for not following the syllabus that you printed and handed out. This was at Johns Hopkins, at least one of those kids would have had the dough to make that hurt.


Oh really?  Most curves work by setting the lowest score as the max and then adjusting the rest proportionally from 0 to 100.  The range in this case is 0, and mathematically anything/0 is undefined, so I could set their grades anywhere on the scale from 0 - 100 and still have mathematically graded on a curve.  I choose 0.
 
2013-02-14 12:22:04 PM

Quaker: That's true for now. But as a general rule, when you find a system that can be exploited, it's never helpful in the long run to take that exploitation to the extreme. They could have coordinated their efforts in a more subtle way so that everyone gets a reasonably good grade without necessarily alerting the professor to the collusion. Instead they risked ruining it for everyone else down the line so that they could all get A's.


Or you could look at it this way:
Kevin Mitnick now uses his computer hacking skills to help companies protect their systems and networks.
FrankAbagnale started the same thing to help protect companies from scammers, fraudsters and forgers.
You could call these kids 'White Hats' if you really wanted to.

Both of these people went to extremes, and have now seen how damaging those extremes can be, deciding now to help fix those problems. If these students hadn't done this, the loophole still would have existed. The only thing they "ruined" is that nobody else can exploit that particular loophole, and if they hadn't "ruined" it, someone else would have farther down the road, and THOSE people would have "ruined" it. The curve still exists, he's just adding a clause that you actually have to take the exam now, which should go without saying anyway. I don't see anything ruined, except that someone else can't exploit the loophole later. I se it as a learning experience for all, and a chance for the professor to make his system more realistic and fair...
 
2013-02-14 12:24:43 PM
In my professional program, the comp finals were assembled from all the tests given previously in the semester. Our class organized and had each student memorize 2-3 questions and all answer options off of each test. Then we reassembled each test afterwards with all correct answers. For the comp final we then had 100% of all the questions and answers that had been given that term to study by.

Not cheating, and we were pretty organized about it. Then the dean found out what we had been doing and threatened to expel anyone cooperating. Yay for college in the south?
 
2013-02-14 12:26:05 PM

StrangeQ: Oh really?  Most curves work by setting the lowest score as the max and then adjusting the rest proportionally from 0 to 100.  The range in this case is 0, and mathematically anything/0 is undefined, so I could set their grades anywhere on the scale from 0 - 100 and still have mathematically graded on a curve.  I choose 0.


As pointed out in the article, his grading policy is to apply an adjustment to the grades equal to the difference between the highest score and the maximum grade.  Under those rules, if the entire class makes the same grade (including 0) then they are entitled to 100%.  If that's specified in the syllabus, he really has no choice in this matter.  As class performance can have financial impact in a student's life (both immediately, i.e. grants and scholarships) and long-term (job market), the syllabus is an important document for letting a student evaluate their expected performance, and should be treated like a contract.
 
2013-02-14 12:27:17 PM

StrangeQ: Oh really? Most curves work by setting the lowest score as the max and then adjusting the rest proportionally from 0 to 100. The range in this case is 0, and mathematically anything/0 is undefined, so I could set their grades anywhere on the scale from 0 - 100 and still have mathematically graded on a curve. I choose 0.


The syllabus probably said something like, "Tests with the highest score in class will be given a 100. Every other test in class will be assigned a grade that is a percentage of the highest score."

Which means that division by zero wouldn't occur for all the highest scores.

Given that this was a programming class, you might argue that closely following the logic (like a computer would) actually reflects a deep understanding of how computers work and that the grade is therefore deserved.
 
2013-02-14 12:27:48 PM

BafflerMeal: In my professional program, the comp finals were assembled from all the tests given previously in the semester. Our class organized and had each student memorize 2-3 questions and all answer options off of each test. Then we reassembled each test afterwards with all correct answers. For the comp final we then had 100% of all the questions and answers that had been given that term to study by.

Not cheating, and we were pretty organized about it. Then the dean found out what we had been doing and threatened to expel anyone cooperating. Yay for college in the south?


There were almost certainly sections of your academic policy that prohibit copying and redistributing tests, which is what you were doing.  It doesn't have anything to do with "the south."
 
2013-02-14 12:29:30 PM
My experience taking classes graded on a curve included students sabotaging other students' lab experiments, books being stolen from the reserve library, pages ripped out or blacked out, cheating on a massive scale, you know, just the sort of behavior you want to encourage.
 
2013-02-14 12:29:50 PM
There are many good reasons not to grade on a curve, I suppose this might be one of them.


Although, if they were actually fit to a curve, all students should have a middle C, not a 100.

Whoops.
 
2013-02-14 12:32:16 PM

Dokushin: BafflerMeal: In my professional program, the comp finals were assembled from all the tests given previously in the semester. Our class organized and had each student memorize 2-3 questions and all answer options off of each test. Then we reassembled each test afterwards with all correct answers. For the comp final we then had 100% of all the questions and answers that had been given that term to study by.

Not cheating, and we were pretty organized about it. Then the dean found out what we had been doing and threatened to expel anyone cooperating. Yay for college in the south?

There were almost certainly sections of your academic policy that prohibit copying and redistributing tests, which is what you were doing.  It doesn't have anything to do with "the south."


Wow. Memorizing is copying? I think we just created a new DMCA crime.
 
2013-02-14 12:32:44 PM
This was a very risky idea. Imagine, if one student had signed the agreement, but been legitimately sick on the day of the exam and in the infirmary, thereby qualifying for a make up exam.
 
2013-02-14 12:33:41 PM
Meh, who cares?  Tests are easy, it sounds like they were just having some fun with the prof.  It was a low-level class, if you didn't bother to learn the material because you were too busy gaming the system, good luck on the next tier of classes that builds on the base you were just tested on.  If anything the big loser here will be the guys teaching the 2000 level classes, who find out on the first day that a bulk of the class spent more time organizing a social event instead of putting their knowledge to use.

From my experience in the world of project/program management and general successful business, nobody is handing out grades, but you will damn sure be judged on your competance.

The people organizing this little event probably got some valuable experience in managing people out of it.  They found a way to convince a group of people to work together, albeit in an unorthadox manner, to achieve a common goal.  That is always a good skill to have.

/Me?  I would have taken the test, but only because I would rather take it quickly, and leave as soon as I am done, typically well before the allotted time.  Sitting in a hallway for the entire testing period sounds boring as hell.
 
2013-02-14 12:35:32 PM

Pair-o-Dice: They divided by zero. Worlds colliding!


Nope, they didn`t divide anything. They averaged the scores (all zero) found the highest mark (zero) and said if you got the highest mark you got 100%.
 
2013-02-14 12:37:58 PM

StrangeQ: thurstonxhowell: StrangeQ: /would have failed them all if I was the professor

Not if you didn't like being sued for not following the syllabus that you printed and handed out. This was at Johns Hopkins, at least one of those kids would have had the dough to make that hurt.

Oh really?  Most curves work by setting the lowest score as the max and then adjusting the rest proportionally from 0 to 100.  The range in this case is 0, and mathematically anything/0 is undefined, so I could set their grades anywhere on the scale from 0 - 100 and still have mathematically graded on a curve.  I choose 0.


Yes, but not this curve as the article and proffessor made pretty clear.

grinding_journalist: Fizpez: The guy got dozens of other people to follow him in on a risky proposition - a group which MUST have included people who would have gotten an "A" anyway. There are plenty of places that WOULD hire him just because of this....

Another way of looking at it would be: This guy convinced dozens of other people to do an ethically questionable gaming of the system for personal benefit. I wonder if he'd do that with his pool of office co-workers at our company? He clearly has no problem with it, and here, it might cost us money.


There was no "ethical" question.  they were followingt he ruiles laid out in the class.

Personal benefit?  Everyone in the class benefited.
 
2013-02-14 12:39:49 PM

BafflerMeal: Wow. Memorizing is copying? I think we just created a new DMCA crime.


If I took a hundred people and each of them memorized three pages of Harry Potter, and then we all got together and wrote it out exactly like it was, do you think that counts as original work that we can publish, or as copying?
 
2013-02-14 12:40:39 PM
True curve grading depends on a statistical analysis of the data, which results in grade assignment based upon that analysis. In my experience, this meant the mean score +/- one standard deviation would get a grad of B- or C+ depending on the class and every other grade was adjusted according to that. This was in very difficult classes and often the mean would be around 50 out of 100. It's really only fair if it's also a pretty large class.

Any other grade adjustment may be called "grading on the curve" but it is not.

/Hopkins alumnus
 
wee [TotalFark]
2013-02-14 12:41:28 PM
They should have all taken the test by answering only the first question, with everyone choosing the same answer.
 
2013-02-14 12:42:25 PM

Dokushin: BafflerMeal: Wow. Memorizing is copying? I think we just created a new DMCA crime.

If I took a hundred people and each of them memorized three pages of Harry Potter, and then we all got together and wrote it out exactly like it was, do you think that counts as original work that we can publish, or as copying?


Amusing straw man.
 
2013-02-14 12:44:08 PM
Grading on a curve is useful when the quality of the prof's teaching and test are in question.  I had a prof who was a great guy and totally brilliant, but brand new to teaching (having served his time in industry before becoming a prof).  We were his first class.  On one test the high score was a 21/100.  The median was 10.  I got a 9.   If the whole class flunks, either they are all stupid, or the teacher's not teaching well or the test is too hard or poorly written.  He knew we weren't stupid, so the prof did the right thing and graded on a curve, blaming himself and not us.  My 9 became a C-.
 
2013-02-14 12:46:02 PM

BafflerMeal: Dokushin: BafflerMeal: Wow. Memorizing is copying? I think we just created a new DMCA crime.

If I took a hundred people and each of them memorized three pages of Harry Potter, and then we all got together and wrote it out exactly like it was, do you think that counts as original work that we can publish, or as copying?

Amusing straw man.


How do you think that situation is different?  Here, let me remind you what you said, emphasis mine:

BafflerMeal: Our class organized and had each student memorize 2-3 questions and all answer options off of each test. Then we reassembled each test afterwards with all correct answers. For the comp final we then had 100% of all the questions and answers that had been given that term to study by.


How is that both not copying and unlike the Harry Potter example?
 
2013-02-14 12:46:17 PM

red5ish: My experience taking classes graded on a curve included students sabotaging other students' lab experiments, books being stolen from the reserve library, pages ripped out or blacked out, cheating on a massive scale, you know, just the sort of behavior you want to encourage.


Hey who said classes can't teach you real world activities.
 
2013-02-14 12:47:50 PM
The smartest, the stupidest, the strongest, the trolliest and the ethical all have good reason to break the boycott.
 
2013-02-14 12:51:54 PM
I am against grading on a curve.  Besides the Asian students always wreck  it.
 
2013-02-14 12:52:38 PM

liam76: There was no "ethical" question. they were followingt he ruiles laid out in the class.

Personal benefit? Everyone in the class benefited.


I don't get how someone can be this obtuse. By extension, all those bankers selling loans and mortgages to people they knew couldn't afford them wasn't ethically wrong, they were just following the rules set out for them. It's not THEIR fault that the system was set up that way, and as such, there should be no reason anyone should fault them for screwing people over.

I cannot believe there wasn't a single person in this class who didn't want to take the test, and be assessed normally, since, you know, they're PAYING for it. I'm certain that the "consensus" achieved had NOTHING to do with the gang of students standing outside the door, preventing anyone from entering. The claim that they would have all taken it had one student crossed the picket line, but who's going to be that student who gets ostracized for being the strike breaker? ESPECIALLY as a freshman?

You really don't see any problem whatsoever with someone intentionally failing a test designed to examine their knowledge of a subject because a loophole exists that allow them to obtain a result equivalent to them having perfectly mastered the material?

Personal benefit? Uh, yes, he personally benefited. How others do in the class doesn't affect his academic standing overall. His GPA increases as a result of his actions. After this class is over, he doesn't give a shiat about the standings of the other students,. only that his grades are better because of a movement he organized. (In this class, yes, but that's only due to the wacky curve rules.)
 
2013-02-14 12:54:57 PM

Glancing Blow: I believe they all get an incomplete since they failed to take the test, and a disciplinary request to the administration for wasting my time and the schools resources.


Yeah, the one flaw in their plan is that the academic rules of the school apply here.  If the school has a rule that not writing a final is considered an incomplete or that in order to pass a course you need x% on the final exam, these kids are screwed.
 
2013-02-14 01:02:12 PM

Glancing Blow: I believe they all get an incomplete since they failed to take the test, and a disciplinary request to the administration for wasting my time and the schools resources.


This.  Programming students should learn to consider all conditions and their potential outcomes.  These clowns are examples of why we have bonehead bugs in code.
 
2013-02-14 01:03:19 PM

Dear Jerk: The smartest, the stupidest, the strongest, the trolliest and the ethical all have good reason to break the boycott.


I don't see how. All you need is the smartest guy in the class sitting outside and ready to take the test if anyone crosses the "boycott" line.

(1) The smartest has a 100% chance of getting an A if the boycott is successful. Someone else might be better prepared, so if the smartest takes the test and competes, their chances of an A would be less than 100%.

(2) The stupidest definitely wants the boycott to succeed. They have a 100% chance of getting an A, and almost none if someone breaks the boycott.

(3) The "trolliest" only trolls the class if he breaks the boycott. By supporting the boycott he trolls the whole university as well as the professor. We wouldn't be discussing this here if the trolliest had decided to take the test.

(4) The ethical should be guided by what best serves the needs of the many. The rules were that if everyone boycotted, everyone would get an A. Thus the grading system is fundamentally flawed - it is linked to a defective rule and not to the actual performance of the students. Additionally, in a computer class, a participant would be expected to choose the best outcome in accordance with game theory fundamentals.
 
2013-02-14 01:03:40 PM

Adolf Oliver Nipples: pyrotek85: Gerald Tarrant: Call me crazy but I have always felt when marking my students that their mark should be related to how much they know not how much the others in the class do.

Yeah I'm not sure what the point of it is unless it's to prop up bad students (ie everybody is a winner). The grades are supposed to reflect an individual's performance, where this is like you're grading the group as a single unit.

You are making the assumption, usually but not always correct, that tests actually test knowledge. In my experience, admittedly anecdotal, all tests prove is that people like me can easily pass without studying while the people on the bottom end of the class spend hours studying to get mediocre grades.

Normalization of grades have been happening for a long time, I see little reason to object to it now.


Normalizing grades should not be done. Testing is not a random process subject to statistical rules, no matter how much it may look like it.

I write my tests to ascertain whether the students learned everything I set out to teach them. That's what I test them on. If everybody learned everything I meant for them to, they all get A's (I can get away with this because it's graduate level).

If the highest score on the test is 90%, then that means everybody in the class failed to  learn 10% of what I meant to teach. I might adjust my teaching or my test next time around, but the grade stands.
 
2013-02-14 01:09:32 PM

Dokushin: BafflerMeal: Wow. Memorizing is copying? I think we just created a new DMCA crime.

If I took a hundred people and each of them memorized three pages of Harry Potter, and then we all got together and wrote it out exactly like it was, do you think that counts as original work that we can publish, or as copying?


Who tried to publish a test?  As far as I know, if you wanted to type out the text of Harry Potter directly from the book, without even memorizing it, and then sit around in a coffee shop with a group of friends comparing different pages from the text you typed up, there would be zero law-breaking or legal ramifications.  No publishing.  No attempt at selling.  No binding to look like the original (i.e. making a forgery).

What a silly concept.

If we are playing cards together, lets say something like spades, and I count cards so I know when there is no more trump left, is that cheating, or playing the game well?

/Your answer should give some insight into whether you suck at cards or not.
 
2013-02-14 01:11:42 PM

grinding_journalist: liam76: There was no "ethical" question. they were followingt he ruiles laid out in the class.

Personal benefit? Everyone in the class benefited.

I don't get how someone can be this obtuse. By extension, all those bankers selling loans and mortgages to people they knew couldn't afford them wasn't ethically wrong, they were just following the rules set out for them. It's not THEIR fault that the system was set up that way, and as such, there should be no reason anyone should fault them for screwing people over.


So you see how some unamed group that got screwed over by the classes actions is like the millions of peopel who were hurt by the financial crisis that was alrgely caused by the actiosn of the bankers?!?!

Seriously?

grinding_journalist: I cannot believe there wasn't a single person in this class who didn't want to take the test, and be assessed normally, since, you know, they're PAYING for it. I'm certain that the "consensus" achieved had NOTHING to do with the gang of students standing outside the door, preventing anyone from entering. The claim that they would have all taken it had one student crossed the picket line, but who's going to be that student who gets ostracized for being the strike breaker? ESPECIALLY as a freshman?


We are just making stuff up now?  The dishonesty of comparing everyoen getting an A to the worst financial crisis in the US sionce the great depressionw asn;t enough for you?


grinding_journalist: You really don't see any problem whatsoever with someone intentionally failing a test designed to examine their knowledge of a subject because a loophole exists that allow them to obtain a result equivalent to them having perfectly mastered the material?


They didn't fail.
They got A's.
Their actions, according to the class rules very clearly meant they would get an A.

Getting an A on the test, or even 100%, doesn't demonstrate perfect mastery of the material unless you believe the test is all inclusive of every bit of info presented in the class, and can rate your knowledge perfectly.  You really want to argue the test was perfect (aside from the curve)?


grinding_journalist: Personal benefit? Uh, yes, he personally benefited. How others do in the class doesn't affect his academic standing overall. His GPA increases as a result of his actions. After this class is over, he doesn't give a shiat about the standings of the other students,. only that his grades are better because of a movement he organized. (In this class, yes, but that's only due to the wacky curve rules.)



So you agree that yes it wasn't just his personal benefit.
 
2013-02-14 01:15:03 PM

Mikey1969: Quaker: That's true for now. But as a general rule, when you find a system that can be exploited, it's never helpful in the long run to take that exploitation to the extreme. They could have coordinated their efforts in a more subtle way so that everyone gets a reasonably good grade without necessarily alerting the professor to the collusion. Instead they risked ruining it for everyone else down the line so that they could all get A's.

Or you could look at it this way:
Kevin Mitnick now uses his computer hacking skills to help companies protect their systems and networks.
FrankAbagnale started the same thing to help protect companies from scammers, fraudsters and forgers.
You could call these kids 'White Hats' if you really wanted to.

Both of these people went to extremes, and have now seen how damaging those extremes can be, deciding now to help fix those problems. If these students hadn't done this, the loophole still would have existed. The only thing they "ruined" is that nobody else can exploit that particular loophole, and if they hadn't "ruined" it, someone else would have farther down the road, and THOSE people would have "ruined" it. The curve still exists, he's just adding a clause that you actually have to take the exam now, which should go without saying anyway. I don't see anything ruined, except that someone else can't exploit the loophole later. I se it as a learning experience for all, and a chance for the professor to make his system more realistic and fair...


Well that's why I called it a  general rule. But in either case, it's apples and oranges, since those are examples of an exploitation that was benefiting some at the expense of others. In this situation, no one is being harmed by students colluding to artificially inflate their grades.

And while it's true that they didn't end up actually ruining anything for anyone else except the ability to use that same loophole, they had to (or should) have known that bringing the collusion and exploitation to the attention of the professor and the administration could have resulted in the entire grading curve being abandoned, thus preventing future students from colluding more subtly in order to artificially inflate their grades. At the very least, they put more scrutiny on future students in this context. And all because someone who would have gotten a C on their own couldn't just be happy getting an undeserved B and decided to take it to the extreme to get an A.
 
2013-02-14 01:21:10 PM

my_cats_breath_smells_like_cat_food: Dokushin: BafflerMeal: Wow. Memorizing is copying? I think we just created a new DMCA crime.

If I took a hundred people and each of them memorized three pages of Harry Potter, and then we all got together and wrote it out exactly like it was, do you think that counts as original work that we can publish, or as copying?

Who tried to publish a test?  As far as I know, if you wanted to type out the text of Harry Potter directly from the book, without even memorizing it, and then sit around in a coffee shop with a group of friends comparing different pages from the text you typed up, there would be zero law-breaking or legal ramifications.  No publishing.  No attempt at selling.  No binding to look like the original (i.e. making a forgery).

What a silly concept.

If we are playing cards together, lets say something like spades, and I count cards so I know when there is no more trump left, is that cheating, or playing the game well?

/Your answer should give some insight into whether you suck at cards or not.


Publication is prohibited by copyright.  That it counts as a 'copy' is what is at issue, here.

Academic policies at almost all universities prohibit duplication (or distribution) of tests.  Memorizing parts of it separately so that you can reassemble it is certainly duplicating -- copying -- it.  The prohibition does not require publication and clearly covers this case.

In addition, the intent of the rule is to prevent trivializing the comprehensive exam by disallowing studying the small subset of potential questions it may have.  Attempts to circumvent this are clearly attempts to gain an unfair advantage on the exam.  Whether an "unfair advantage" is cheating is a question you'd have to answer for yourself.

In this case, both the letter and the spirit of the law specifically prohibit what has happened, which is a centuries-old small-minded trick that students have been reinventing for a long time.  Yes, the university has already thought of "hey, what if we copy it  with our minds?".

If I play cards and get everyone except you to share so we can guess what's in your hand, are we playing well, or cheating?
 
2013-02-14 01:24:57 PM

ZeroPly: Dear Jerk: The smartest, the stupidest, the strongest, the trolliest and the ethical all have good reason to break the boycott.

I don't see how. All you need is the smartest guy in the class sitting outside and ready to take the test if anyone crosses the "boycott" line.

(1) The smartest has a 100% chance of getting an A if the boycott is successful. Someone else might be better prepared, so if the smartest takes the test and competes, their chances of an A would be less than 100%.

(2) The stupidest definitely wants the boycott to succeed. They have a 100% chance of getting an A, and almost none if someone breaks the boycott.

(3) The "trolliest" only trolls the class if he breaks the boycott. By supporting the boycott he trolls the whole university as well as the professor. We wouldn't be discussing this here if the trolliest had decided to take the test.

(4) The ethical should be guided by what best serves the needs of the many. The rules were that if everyone boycotted, everyone would get an A. Thus the grading system is fundamentally flawed - it is linked to a defective rule and not to the actual performance of the students. Additionally, in a computer class, a participant would be expected to choose the best outcome in accordance with game theory fundamentals.


1. The smartest gains from differentiating himself from the field.
2. The stupidest gains by creating enough confusion to lift himself from last place.
3. The trolliest wins by trolling those with the most at stake, the boycotters.
4. The ethical win by following the spirit of the rule, not by gaming the system.
 
2013-02-14 01:27:35 PM

5monkeys: This is ridiculous. It sounds like you had a chance to improve your grade with the curve. If the highest score was an 80 then your grade got bumped up by 20 points. I don't understand the logic in getting everyone to sit out.

/ never graded on a curve.
//am I misunderstanding it?


Because theN. It's possible for somebody to score a 90 and still fail. That's why grading on a curve is bad. Grade on merit and let the students earn thier grade
 
2013-02-14 01:46:37 PM

Dokushin: Publication is prohibited by copyright.  That it counts as a 'copy' is what is at issue, here.

Academic policies at almost all universities prohibit duplication (or distribution) of tests.  Memorizing parts of it separately so that you can reassemble it is certainly duplicating -- copying -- it.  The prohibition does not require publication and clearly covers this case.

In addition, the intent of the rule is to prevent trivializing the comprehensive exam by disallowing studying the small subset of potential questions it may have.  Attempts to circumvent this are clearly attempts to gain an unfair advantage on the exam.  Whether an "unfair advantage" is cheating is a question you'd have to answer for yourself.

In this case, both the letter and the spirit of the law specifically prohibit what has happened, which is a centuries-old small-minded trick that students have been reinventing for a long time.  Yes, the university has already thought of "hey, what if we copy it  with our minds?".

If I play cards and get everyone except you to share so we can guess what's in your hand, are we playing well, or cheating?

...

Okay, so what if a student had a very good memory, and without writing anything down knew all the test questions.  Would he be guilty of cheating?  Is it simply the act of putting it down on paper that is cheating?  What if he wrote the same information down, but in another language?  It isn't a 1:1 copy, is that cheating?  What if instead of memorizing it verbatim, it is simply "close enough", so it is still a useful study guide, even though it isn't a 1:1 copy, is that cheating, and if so, where is the line where it goes from "duplicate copy" to "random words"?

And for the card analogy, if everyone was dealt their cards face up, layed them out for 30 seconds to study, but then picked them up to play the hand, is anyone cheating?  It would be a different way to play, and favor someone with a good/quick memory, but is it cheating?  And besides, you say "if everyone but you shared", when in the case of the students, nobody is being left out and thereby suffering from an unfair disadvantage, so your example of "everyone sharing except with you" seems less apt, doesn't it?

I do find this an interesting concept though.  As far as a study tool, it almost seems like the process of memorizing some of the test questions, and sharing information with a group, probably has tremendous benefit to the accumulation of knowledge.  It certainly takes more effort and requires paying attention to the material, as opposed to just getting an illegal copy of the teacher's copy and memorizing the order of the multiple choice answers.  I certainly wouldn't have objected if I were a teacher and the students showed that kind of initiative and effort.

Depending on the subject, most teachers I knew would change little details in questions, even if the same principle was at play though.  For example test A might have 2 + 2 = X, while the final would have 3 + 4 = X.  Both test the same concept, but if all you did was remember the answer you would be out of luck.
 
2013-02-14 01:46:44 PM
""I have changed my grading scheme to include 'everybody has 0 points means that everybody gets 0 percent,' " Fröhlich said,  "and I also added a clause stating that I reserve the right to give everybody 0 percent if I get the impression that the students are trying to 'game'  the system again." Fröhlich added that going forward, he will give students a choice between a final exam and a final project, and that his class for the spring 2013 semester has voted for the latter. "

Ahh so you change your rules like Vegas so the 'house' always wins?  Why not just grade by who you like the most?

Maybe, just maybe you learn something about your methods.  Ohh, you're a Professor you know everything.
 
2013-02-14 01:49:07 PM
Something many of you don't realize is that writing fair exam questions is difficult and many professors are not particularly good at it. If the average score on an exam is 50/100, that is more a reflection of the poorness of the exam and not of whether the students knew the material or not. Similarly, not everyone grades exams in the most objective way possible. In many cases there is more than one correct way to answer a question but sometimes alternatives are ignored in favor of the "desired" answer. Hell, I've been screwed by that myself back when I was a student. In any case, it's often not as black and white as you'd think. Sometimes curved grades are a necessity.

/professor
 
2013-02-14 01:52:37 PM

BarkingUnicorn: Glancing Blow: I believe they all get an incomplete since they failed to take the test, and a disciplinary request to the administration for wasting my time and the schools resources.

This.  Programming students should learn to consider all conditions and their potential outcomes.  These clowns are examples of why we have bonehead bugs in code.


Programming students decided to break down the grading algorithm presented in the syllabus and come to the best and easiest solution to the test.  They beat the Koyabashi Maru by following strict logical guidelines of the grading algorithm.  And yeah the professor might have gotten in trouble if he violated the syllabus.

Also, having a grading curve that does not account for outliers is inexcusable.
 
2013-02-14 01:53:16 PM
Fröhlich added that going forward, he will give students a choice between a final exam and a final project, and that his class for the spring 2013 semester has voted for the latter.


Well, good. Final exams are, first of all, not a reflection on how the real world works, and second of all, just a tool for lazy instructors to just run a scrantron sheet. Reports and projects are often how real world business is conducted. Its taking in facts (given or researched , bringing it together in a formal, unified manner, then either offering solutions to a problem or suggested actions for a future task.

We always complain about 'teaching to the test' and that schools don't prepare students for the real world. This is your answer to that.
 
2013-02-14 01:54:58 PM
Back in my day, we just killed our roommate and made it look like a suicide.
 
2013-02-14 01:58:30 PM
Most of my engineering classes back in the day graded on a curve, but never seen one like that.  It was always: "If median score is less than a C, the median score is increased to a C".

Mainly because the typical test given by the profs had a median score in the 40's-50's as they loved to put more on the test than was answerable in the time.
 
2013-02-14 01:58:57 PM
StrangeQ
Fark that. By the one student's logic, if I know I am going to ace the test anyway because I studied ahead of time there is no incentive for me to break the boycott because I will still ace the test. Bullshiat. Why should I let those other lazy farks off easy because they think they've found a way to game the system?


That's how you can tell it was a programming class and not a business or law class.
 
2013-02-14 01:59:06 PM
Fail them all.

/Engineering student.
//I would have shown up for the final.
///I was called "Curve Killer" in jr. college.
 
2013-02-14 02:01:06 PM

liam76: Seriously?


It was an example using the logic you used to excuse their actions. If adhering to the rules set out is all that matters, there won't ever be an ethical question about actions taken within those rules. If that's the rule you live by, you shouldn't have a problem with what the bankers did, since what they did was legal, and within the rules.

liam76: We are just making stuff up now?


Am I? FTFA: "The students refused to come into the room and take the exam, so we sat there for a while: me on the inside, they on the outside,"

Let's say you're a college freshman taking this class. You arrive at the exam room at the designated time, to see almost the entire class standing outside the door, seeing if anyone will go into the room. Are you so blind to reality as to not see the inherent peer pressure in that situation? Have you ever taken a class, anywhere?

liam76: So you agree that yes it wasn't just his personal benefit.


How is it NOT personally benefiting him? I'm certain, without speaking to the kid who organized the thing, that he doesn't give a whit about the academic standing of the others' in his class, and he did this so he wouldn't have to take the test or study for it to "earn" his A. The fact that others benefited is ancillary, and was in fact REQUIRED for him to pull of his scheme.
 
2013-02-14 02:02:07 PM

Glancing Blow: I believe they all get an incomplete since they failed to take the test, and a disciplinary request to the administration for wasting my time and the schools resources.


Yeah -- where I went to college, you didn't show up for the final, it was an automatic fail of the class.  It would be different, though, if they could all just sit there in the class at their desks and sign their names to a blank piece of paper.
 
2013-02-14 02:10:11 PM

my_cats_breath_smells_like_cat_food: Okay, so what if a student had a very good memory, and without writing anything down knew all the test questions.  Would he be guilty of cheating?  Is it simply the act of putting it down on paper that is cheating?  What if he wrote the same information down, but in another language?  It isn't a 1:1 copy, is that cheating?  What if instead of memorizing it verbatim, it is simply "close enough", so it is still a useful study guide, even though it isn't a 1:1 copy, is that cheating, and if so, where is the line where it goes from "duplicate copy" to "random words"?

And for the card analogy, if everyone was dealt their cards face up, layed them out for 30 seconds to study, but then picked them up to play the hand, is anyone cheating?  It would be a different way to play, and favor someone with a good/quick memory, but is it cheating?  And besides, you say "if everyone but you shared", when in the case of the students, nobody is being left out and thereby suffering from an unfair disadvantage, so your example of "everyone sharing except with you" seems less apt, doesn't it?

I do find this an interesting concept though.  As far as a study tool, it almost seems like the process of memorizing some of the test questions, and sharing information with a group, probably has tremendous benefit to the accumulation of knowledge.  It certainly takes more effort and requires paying attention to the material, as opposed to just getting an illegal copy of the teacher's copy and memorizing the order of the multiple choice answers.  I certainly wouldn't have objected if I were a teacher and the students showed that kind of initiative and effort.

Depending on the subject, most teachers I knew would change little details in questions, even if the same principle was at play though.  For example test A might have 2 + 2 = X, while the final would have 3 + 4 = X.  Both test the same concept, but if all you did was remember the answer you would be out of luck.


A single student remembering the test is not distributing it, nor is he copying it, because the content of the test is not available; i.e. at no point does a physical copy exist.  If he were to write it all down?  That's questionable, and if others had access that is certainly distribution and therefore inappropriate.  Will his ability to remember all of the tests give him an advantage on the comp?  Sure.  There are a variety of ways in which a student can expect to do better on tests, and it's why we grade the tests.  But it doesn't change the difficulty of the test, because he is using only his own resources.  In the situation where multiple students conspire to assemble a duplicate, they are attempting to change the overall difficulty of the test by greatly reducing the space from which material might be drawn.

Derivative works created by improper recollection are still based on material that shouldn't have been available; it's rather like buying something with stolen money.  Poorly executed cheating is still cheating -- you just don't get as much unfair benefit from it.

Comps are (by definition) comprehensive tests over a large body of material.  The school claims the questions will be taken from individual tests given throughout the semester.  Students know that if they scored well on a test, they will do well on the material that test represents.  For material they did not do well on, they have to study the aggregate portion of it.  The end result is they can focus on material that they didn't do well on, confident that there won't be surprises from tests they did well on.  Trying to circumvent that is not "clever", nor is it effective education.

Tell me -- why buy a textbook for a class?  Why not just get advance copies of the tests and learn the answers?  Is that as good of an education?  Does your answer change if you get the advance copies from people who took the class before and memorized them, rather than actually breaking into the professor's office?
 
2013-02-14 02:14:14 PM

the ha ha guy: 5monkeys: This is ridiculous. It sounds like you had a chance to improve your grade with the curve. If the highest score was an 80 then your grade got bumped up by 20 points

If 90% of the class gets a score of 60, and the highest is 61, that 90% gets an A.

If 90% of the class gets a score of 60, and the highest is 98, that 90% gets a D.

Grading on a curve really does allow one person to mess it up for everyone else. Your score doesn't matter, only the highest score does, unless you can prove that your "incorrect" answers were correct as stated in the textbook, not covered in the class, etc.


Not necessarily.  Here's the formula I use:

(Base) = 0.50(Possible) + 0.30(High) + 0.20(Mean) + 0.10(Low)

So if the high score is 100, the mean is 60 and the low is 20, the base is 50 + 30 + 12 + 2 = 94.  Students whose raw score is over 94 get "100+" written on their exam, if only because college students really are too old to appreciate gold stars and I don't give extra credit.
 
2013-02-14 02:14:56 PM

Quaker: How is grading on a curve a problem? It can only help you compared to the alternative. All they did was screw it up for everyone else in the future. If you can actually get everyone else on board, there are far more subtle ways to effectively manipulate a grading curve.

Also, the professor's new policy of "everybody has 0 points means that everybody gets 0 percent" would be just as ineffective if he's going to follow it to the letter as he did here. All everyone has to do is pick one question (or one relevant fact in the case of an essay test) that they're sure about and only answer that one.


Grading on a curve is a problem because you don't get the score you earned, you get the score your neighbor earned for you. And it means the professor isn't paying as much attention to whether or not his class is learning something.

If I earn a C and the rest of the class earns a D, I still only deserve a C, and they still only deserve a D. Same if I'm getting a D and someone else gets an A. Grading on a curve is great for informal stuff, but class grades have value outside of the class and in the rest of school\society, and farking it up is not something students tend to appreciate.
 
2013-02-14 02:15:15 PM

grinding_journalist: liam76: Seriously?

It was an example using the logic you used to excuse their actions. If adhering to the rules set out is all that matters, there won't ever be an ethical question about actions taken within those rules. If that's the rule you live by, you shouldn't have a problem with what the bankers did, since what they did was legal, and within the rules.


You identified no ethical question for the class, there is a clear one for your banking analogy (and nevermind that many laws/regualtions were broken with the banking example).

grinding_journalist: Am I? FTFA: "The students refused to come into the room and take the exam, so we sat there for a while: me on the inside, they on the outside,"

Let's say you're a college freshman taking this class. You arrive at the exam room at the designated time, to see almost the entire class standing outside the door, seeing if anyone will go into the room. Are you so blind to reality as to not see the inherent peer pressure in that situation? Have you ever taken a class, anywhere?


You said, "gang of students standing outside the door, preventing anyone from entering".  That did not happen.  That is making shiat up.  That is ignoring the fact that prior to sittingoutside the class all the students ahd agreed not to go into the class.

You were making shiat up by saying a gang of students prevented students from entering.


grinding_journalist: liam76: So you agree that yes it wasn't just his personal benefit.

How is it NOT personally benefiting him? I'm certain, without speaking to the kid who organized the thing, that he doesn't give a whit about the academic standing of the others' in his class, and he did this so he wouldn't have to take the test or study for it to "earn" his A. The fact that others benefited is ancillary, and was in fact REQUIRED for him to pull of his scheme



I never said it didn't benefit him, I said it was a benefit to everyone in the class.  These sound like low level courses.  I know when I went to college it would be easier to get A's in low level engineering classes by studying than by getting every single one of my classmates to go along with a ballsy plan.

But this a moot point.  It wasn't just to his benefit.  You can speculate all you want, but that is all you are doing.  At the end of the day he showed the proffessor he was doing soemthing wrong, he and the rest fo the class got an A, and his name is out there.  That is a triple win in my book.
 
2013-02-14 02:17:21 PM

Trance354: they didn't take the test, so getting an A for the test is illogical: they should have gotten an incomplete, with their scores for the semester either unchanged or lowered due to the lack of the required 100-300 points the final would be composed of.  At the same time, the students are paying for an education, and knowing how to get the best grade is secondary to knowing the material with which you intend to base a career off of.  If those students were to think rationally about their motives, i.e. "How will I proceed in this course of study?  I have an A for this class, but I don't know the material, as I was too busy getting tanked to study, knowing we'd just be sitting outside the classroom."

/I would have walked into the room to take the exam
//would also have been the one who got the 100% and farked their possibility to get a curve
///yes, I'm that guy


I don't know you, but I don't like you!
 
2013-02-14 02:17:52 PM

aerojockey: the ha ha guy: 5monkeys: This is ridiculous. It sounds like you had a chance to improve your grade with the curve. If the highest score was an 80 then your grade got bumped up by 20 points

If 90% of the class gets a score of 60, and the highest is 61, that 90% gets an A.

If 90% of the class gets a score of 60, and the highest is 98, that 90% gets a D.

Grading on a curve really does allow one person to mess it up for everyone else. Your score doesn't matter, only the highest score does, unless you can prove that your "incorrect" answers were correct as stated in the textbook, not covered in the class, etc.

When I was in high school (not college) I would sometimes throw off the curve (i.e., affine adjustment) like this.  The teacher usually just curved the score off the second-highest test.  Naturally they didn't extrapolate my score to a 130 or whatever on the test, nor did they cut me a break if I didn't turn in homework.  So Miss Second-Highest-Test-Score ended up getting the highest grade even though I left her in the dust on all the tests, just because I failed to turn in a single homework.


I did something like that once, but clipped the highest and the lowest grade since both were outliers.
 
2013-02-14 02:23:01 PM
College adjunct here: if students put one third of the effort into doing their work that they put into avoiding it, they'd get decent grades.

/Did the same thing as an undergraduate myself.
 
2013-02-14 02:23:09 PM

Trance354: they didn't take the test, so getting an A for the test is illogical: they should have gotten an incomplete, with their scores for the semester either unchanged or lowered due to the lack of the required 100-300 points the final would be composed of.


And the asshole professor teaches at Hopkins?  Another fine example of the perfection that is the tenure system.
 
2013-02-14 02:25:54 PM

meanmutton: Glancing Blow: I believe they all get an incomplete since they failed to take the test, and a disciplinary request to the administration for wasting my time and the schools resources.

Yeah -- where I went to college, you didn't show up for the final, it was an automatic fail of the class.  It would be different, though, if they could all just sit there in the class at their desks and sign their names to a blank piece of paper.


Where I teach, it's worse.  We have an extra-special grade, the FW (Fail-Withdraw) reserved for people who skip the final if the zero they get on the final drops their grade into the FAIL range.  If the student received financial aid, then they may get a bill from Uncle Sam for part of the course.  Also, potential employers learn that the student does not finish what he or she starts all of the time.

I encourage my students to avoid the FW if at all possible.
 
2013-02-14 02:27:00 PM

PsiChick: Grading on a curve is a problem because you don't get the score you earned, you get the score your neighbor earned for you. And it means the professor isn't paying as much attention to whether or not his class is learning something.


In one of my fluid mechanics classes in college I got a 21 on an 80 point test.  It was the highest in the class.  I "earned" and A.

I learned a lot in that class.  The teacher was good at teaching us things, just liked to ask extremely tough questions.

He said every couple years a student would get a complete answer.
 
2013-02-14 02:28:26 PM
FTA
Fröhlich took a surprisingly philosophical view of his students' machinations, crediting their collaborative spirit. "The students learned that by coming together, they can achieve something that individually they could never have done," he said via e-mail. "At a school that is known (perhaps unjustly) for competitiveness I didn't expect that reaching such an agreement was possible."
Although Fröhlich conceded that he did not include such a "loophole" in the policy "with the goal of students exploiting it," he decided to honor it after the boycott.


It seems here that the professor was outsmarted by his students, and instead of failing them all, which the school probably would have stood by, he tipped his hat to them, gave them a "well played", and complimented them on their teamwork and ingenuity He seems like a pretty cool professor..
 
2013-02-14 02:28:35 PM

Yamaneko2: meanmutton: Glancing Blow: I believe they all get an incomplete since they failed to take the test, and a disciplinary request to the administration for wasting my time and the schools resources.

Yeah -- where I went to college, you didn't show up for the final, it was an automatic fail of the class.  It would be different, though, if they could all just sit there in the class at their desks and sign their names to a blank piece of paper.

Where I teach, it's worse.  We have an extra-special grade, the FW (Fail-Withdraw) reserved for people who skip the final if the zero they get on the final drops their grade into the FAIL range.  If the student received financial aid, then they may get a bill from Uncle Sam for part of the course.  Also, potential employers learn that the student does not finish what he or she starts all of the time.

I encourage my students to avoid the FW if at all possible.


...and if there was no way that they could avoid missing the final, I let them make it up if they want to.  I'm not that evil, yet.
 
2013-02-14 02:32:59 PM

ongbok: FTA
Fröhlich took a surprisingly philosophical view of his students' machinations, crediting their collaborative spirit. "The students learned that by coming together, they can achieve something that individually they could never have done," he said via e-mail. "At a school that is known (perhaps unjustly) for competitiveness I didn't expect that reaching such an agreement was possible."
Although Fröhlich conceded that he did not include such a "loophole" in the policy "with the goal of students exploiting it," he decided to honor it after the boycott.

It seems here that the professor was outsmarted by his students, and instead of failing them all, which the school probably would have stood by, he tipped his hat to them, gave them a "well played", and complimented them on their teamwork and ingenuity He seems like a pretty cool professor..


I would have gone with the Hero tag, for this reason.
 
2013-02-14 02:33:52 PM

PsiChick: Quaker: How is grading on a curve a problem? It can only help you compared to the alternative. All they did was screw it up for everyone else in the future. If you can actually get everyone else on board, there are far more subtle ways to effectively manipulate a grading curve.

Also, the professor's new policy of "everybody has 0 points means that everybody gets 0 percent" would be just as ineffective if he's going to follow it to the letter as he did here. All everyone has to do is pick one question (or one relevant fact in the case of an essay test) that they're sure about and only answer that one.

Grading on a curve is a problem because you don't get the score you earned, you get the score your neighbor earned for you. And it means the professor isn't paying as much attention to whether or not his class is learning something.

If I earn a C and the rest of the class earns a D, I still only deserve a C, and they still only deserve a D. Same if I'm getting a D and someone else gets an A. Grading on a curve is great for informal stuff, but class grades have value outside of the class and in the rest of school\society, and farking it up is not something students tend to appreciate.


Personally, I like the idea of a more communal approach to grading. I sincerely think that the modern world would be vastly improved if more people saw themselves as being part of whole instead of isolated and in competition.

As far as complaining about people getting better grades than they deserved, this is the only thing that comes to mind.
 
2013-02-14 02:47:57 PM

Quaker: they had to (or should) have known that bringing the collusion and exploitation to the attention of the professor and the administration could have resulted in the entire grading curve being abandoned, thus preventing future students from colluding more subtly in order to artificially inflate their grades.


And I fail to see why this is somehow bad. Keeping them from artificially inflating their grades is just fine by me.
 
2013-02-14 02:52:42 PM

Dokushin: my_cats_breath_smells_like_cat_food:

A single student remembering the test is not distributing it, nor is he copying it, because the content of the test is not available; i.e. at no point does a physical copy exist.  If he were to write it all down?  That's questionable, and if others had access that is certainly distribution and therefore inappropriate.  Will his ability to remember all of the tests give him an advantage on the comp?  Sure.  There are a variety of ways in which a student can expect to do better on tests, and it's why we grade the tests.  But it doesn't change the difficulty of the test, because he is using only his own resources.  In the situation where multiple students conspire to assemble a duplicate, they are attempting to change the overall difficulty of the test by greatly reducing the space from which material might be drawn.

Derivative works created by improper recollection are still based on material that shouldn't have been available; it's rather like buying something with stolen money.  Poorly executed cheating is still cheating -- you just don't get as much unfair benefit from it.

Comps are (by definition) comprehensive tests over a large body of material.  The school claims the questions will be taken from individual tests given throughout the semester.  Students know that if they scored well on a test, they will do well on the material that test represents.  For material they did not do well on, they have to study the aggregate portion of it.  The end result is they can focus on material that they didn't do well on, confident that there won't be surprises from tests they did well on.  Trying to circumvent that is not "clever", nor is it effective education.

Tell me -- why buy a textbook for a class?  Why not just get advance copies of the tests and learn the answers?  Is that as good of an education?  Does your answer change if you get the advance copies from people who took the class before and memorized them, rather than actually breaking into the professor's office?
 ..

When you say "derivitive works based on material that shouldn't be available", why shouldn't it be available?  Everyone took the tests, everyone has had the same opportunity to answer the question the first go-around, it was made public at that time, why can you try and put everything back in a lock-box after it has been presented once for everyone?  I wasn't really thinking of poorly executed cheating, but more of actual studying.  Do you have an issue with students forming together in a study group so they can combine their efforts to reduce weaknesses and bolster strengths?  If at the study group someone says "oh, I remember a question from exam one that went something like 'blah blah blah' so we should bone up on that." is that an illegal distribution of test material, or just someone helping fill in a knowledge gap in someone else's understanding?  Again, I am not think of a case where someone says "The test asked 'What is the capitol of West Virginia? Answer: Charleston' so remember that" but instead "I think I remember it asking a state capitol, for Virginia I think, or maybe West Virginia...it was one of those so we should look up both just to be safe"  Which would then result in the students reviewing, reflecting, and expanding their knowledge, and isn't that the entire point?

Again, I am against just distributing photocopies, or photographs of the actual test, or like you said getting your hands on the test from someone who had the class the year before.  But using teamwork, memory, and review to come up with a study guide, that is based on the format you know the final will take, seems like good work that serves the students well.  I wouldn't consider it cheating, but I am not a prof.

And as for "why buy a textbook for the class", as far as I understand, the point the OP made was that they found an effective method to study, they weren't trying to replace accurately learning the material.  They used a textbook throughout the year to learn, and then when it came time to prepare for the comp exam, rather than re-read the entire textbook, they figured out how to focus the effort to get more efficiency with the limited time available for review.  If someone never showed up to class all year, got through the initial exams with D's and C's and then wanted to get in on the effort the rest of the class put in for the mock-final the students assembled...I guess he wouldn't be following a very ethical path...but maybe the other students would shun him.  At the very elast he still wouldn't do well in the class since he would have been failing grandly up until the final, he would just luck out that he was surrounded by people who put in extra effort, and ride their coat tails.  It won't serve this hypothetical student in the long-term, but college tends to weed these people out as the classes get to higher levels.

If a group of students teaming up to form a study guide off the tests that were made available during the course, even if that study guide is almost an exact duplicate of every exam question asked that year, I still think the only way it would give them an unfair advantage would be if the professor was lazy and made a crappy test to begin with.  If the professor will only use questions taken verbatim from earlier exams, that seems unfair to begin with, as it will disproportionatly reward the students with good memories, because they won't need to learn the underlying concepts as thoroughly if they feel confident that they will recognize the questions and answers from earlier in the year.
 
2013-02-14 03:01:37 PM

Mikey1969: Quaker: they had to (or should) have known that bringing the collusion and exploitation to the attention of the professor and the administration could have resulted in the entire grading curve being abandoned, thus preventing future students from colluding more subtly in order to artificially inflate their grades.

And I fail to see why this is somehow bad. Keeping them from artificially inflating their grades is just fine by me.


Well I suppose that's where we differ. To me, that's just wanting to ruin a good thing for other people that isn't really harming anyone because I don't think it's objectively fair.
 
2013-02-14 03:01:38 PM

Yamaneko2: meanmutton: Glancing Blow: I believe they all get an incomplete since they failed to take the test, and a disciplinary request to the administration for wasting my time and the schools resources.

Yeah -- where I went to college, you didn't show up for the final, it was an automatic fail of the class.  It would be different, though, if they could all just sit there in the class at their desks and sign their names to a blank piece of paper.

Where I teach, it's worse.  We have an extra-special grade, the FW (Fail-Withdraw) reserved for people who skip the final if the zero they get on the final drops their grade into the FAIL range.  If the student received financial aid, then they may get a bill from Uncle Sam for part of the course.  Also, potential employers learn that the student does not finish what he or she starts all of the time.

I encourage my students to avoid the FW if at all possible.


Yikes...I had to withdraw from a class once.  Luckily I was taking it a year early, and was taking well over the required minimum courseload, so it didn't impact my graduation or enrollment at all, and I didn't wait until the final to withdraw...I can see how that would warrant a special punishment.

I had a close friend from my hometown die in a car wreck my Freshman year...I took a greyhound home to go to his viewing, and was going to bus back the next day to take an exam (1 of 4 big ones), but his parents asked me at the viewing if I would be a pall bearer... I chose to honor my dead friend over making it to the exam, and withdrew from the class when I was back at school.  If I would have had extra punishment on top of that I would have been pissed.
 
2013-02-14 03:15:46 PM
This isn't technically grading on a curve. It's grading on an adjusted scale that benefits everyone. I had teachers that did this and it was great. It means that if the teacher fails to adequately instruct the class the students are not punished for his failure. If the highest score is a 60% then 45% is still a passing grade.

Actual grading on a curve guarantees a certain number of each grade, meaning even if everyone scores over 80% most of them will still get Bs and Cs. Most likely this boycott was kicked off by a few students too lazy to read the syllabus having an emotional reaction to "grading on a curve" without actually understanding what the professor's policy really was.
 
2013-02-14 03:18:21 PM

hasty ambush: I am against grading on a curve.  Besides the Asian students always wreck  it.


If you've ever spent time grading math or physics exams at the university level, you would know that this is not always the case.  I've seen plenty of Asian students fail a physics midterm/final.  They don't seem to stick with physics after that, though.  They move on to easier majors like business or computer science or mechanical engineering.
 
2013-02-14 03:22:23 PM

LemSkroob: Fröhlich added that going forward, he will give students a choice between a final exam and a final project, and that his class for the spring 2013 semester has voted for the latter.


Well, good. Final exams are, first of all, not a reflection on how the real world works, and second of all, just a tool for lazy instructors to just run a scrantron sheet. Reports and projects are often how real world business is conducted. Its taking in facts (given or researched , bringing it together in a formal, unified manner, then either offering solutions to a problem or suggested actions for a future task.

We always complain about 'teaching to the test' and that schools don't prepare students for the real world. This is your answer to that.



Looks like I found the one non-STEM major on Fark.
 
2013-02-14 03:29:03 PM

liam76: PsiChick: Grading on a curve is a problem because you don't get the score you earned, you get the score your neighbor earned for you. And it means the professor isn't paying as much attention to whether or not his class is learning something.

In one of my fluid mechanics classes in college I got a 21 on an 80 point test.  It was the highest in the class.  I "earned" and A.

I learned a lot in that class.  The teacher was good at teaching us things, just liked to ask extremely tough questions.


My graduate-level Classical Mechanics class was like that.  The final exam was excruciating.  Forty students took the class.  Prof awarded several B-, C+, and C grades (which is rather unusual for a grad school course).

I got one of the three A grades in the courses.

\yeah, I'm bragging.
 
2013-02-14 03:31:56 PM

mike_d85: blatz514: What dangerous curves may look like

A methed up redneck?


That's what you got out of the picture?
 
2013-02-14 03:47:47 PM
Gaming the system is a valuable life skill, and people who do it effectively should be rewarded, as that is what will happen in real life.  Gaming the system and failing at it should be extremely punishing, however.
 
2013-02-14 04:01:25 PM

Fizpez: BigNumber12: Good luck trying to apply that one in the real world, kiddos.

You mean the real world of tax loopholes, back room deals and collusion?  Yeah, in reality that shiat works in the real world too.



No, the real world where most people don't subscribe to "let's all succeed by boycotting together!" Someone, and usually many someones, will always work harder than you so that they succeed and you fail. Outside of an academic environment, a good number of people would have shown up and aced that "test."
 
2013-02-14 04:12:07 PM

Halophilic: BigNumber12: Good luck trying to apply that one in the real world, kiddos.

Good thing the "real world" is more than just the workplace and learning how to come together to achieve goals is actually a useful skill.


Coming together to achieve a goal is different from "everyone do nothing and we'll all win." That's a closed system that doesn't model the outside world. In reality, the next class over would have tried their hardest on the same test, and this class's failure relative to those scores would have resulted in their failing out.

Besides, what's a University Education supposed to be training for, if not the workplace? This is a stupid lesson to be teaching, which the Professor acknowledged by changing his system.

How many post-education situations in the contemporary United States reward non-competition? Can you name them? Bear in mind that not many people are likely to become heavyweight boxers.
 
2013-02-14 04:44:10 PM

fireclown: Tricycle racer wins.  Prisoner dilemma FTW!


In the real world, college profs are given wide authority on grading.  I'd have failed the entire class for this kind of BS.


In the real world college professors think they have a wide authority on grading, until they get sued for violating their syllabus.

/those who can, do
//those who can't, teach
 
2013-02-14 04:44:28 PM
If the students didn't actually attend the class and just sat outside of it then why weren't they marked absent and given an incomplete for the test?
 
2013-02-14 04:46:15 PM

StrangeQ: Fark that.  By the one student's logic, if I know I am going to ace the test anyway because I studied ahead of time there is no incentive for me to break the boycott because I will still ace the test.  Bullshiat.  Why should I let those other lazy farks off easy because they think they've found a way to game the system?

/would have failed them all if I was the professor


Because most people have morals and ethics. You on the other hand, have confessed to being a sociopath.
 
2013-02-14 04:47:14 PM

BigNumber12: Good luck trying to apply that one in the real world, kiddos.


Yeah! Like if all the banks worked together to pull off a scam they'd all go out of business get free money from Obama.
 
2013-02-14 04:48:15 PM

thurstonxhowell: Grading on a curve is pretty stupid for a college class. It makes sense for something like the SATs where the number of test takers is very large and the group is varied in composition, but, in a high-level science class, there's a chance everyone there does very well and they should be graded as such.

...wait, I just read the article. He wasn't grading on a curve at all. That's not what grading on a curve is, despite what so many teachers may have wrongly told you.


You're confusing grading on a curve and grading on a bell curve.
 
2013-02-14 04:50:18 PM

the ha ha guy: 5monkeys: This is ridiculous. It sounds like you had a chance to improve your grade with the curve. If the highest score was an 80 then your grade got bumped up by 20 points

If 90% of the class gets a score of 60, and the highest is 61, that 90% gets an A.

If 90% of the class gets a score of 60, and the highest is 98, that 90% gets a D.

Grading on a curve really does allow one person to mess it up for everyone else. Your score doesn't matter, only the highest score does, unless you can prove that your "incorrect" answers were correct as stated in the textbook, not covered in the class, etc.


In the article (that you didn't bother to read), in this professor's class:

If 90% of the class gets a score of 60, and the highest is 61, the single grade of 61 gets an A, and the 90% of the class gets a B/C/D/F depending on the professor's discretion.
 
2013-02-14 04:51:28 PM

Quaker: How is grading on a curve a problem? It can only help you compared to the alternative. All they did was screw it up for everyone else in the future. If you can actually get everyone else on board, there are far more subtle ways to effectively manipulate a grading curve.

Also, the professor's new policy of "everybody has 0 points means that everybody gets 0 percent" would be just as ineffective if he's going to follow it to the letter as he did here. All everyone has to do is pick one question (or one relevant fact in the case of an essay test) that they're sure about and only answer that one.


If you had read the article you would know that the professor also set a new policy of "if he thinks anyone is trying to work together to mess with the curve, he can give everyone any grade he feels like, irrespective of how they did in the class."
 
2013-02-14 04:52:43 PM

thurstonxhowell: StrangeQ: /would have failed them all if I was the professor

Not if you didn't like being sued for not following the syllabus that you printed and handed out. This was at Johns Hopkins, at least one of those kids would have had the dough to make that hurt.


This. I remember when one of my professors tried to announce he was changing the syllabus and I pointed out that without our permission, he had no authority to do so.
 
2013-02-14 04:54:27 PM

Gerald Tarrant: Call me crazy but I have always felt when marking my students that their mark should be related to how much they know not how much the others in the class do.


But if we do that, children will be left behind! We must reduce everyone's intelligence to the lowest common denominator instead of actually promoting intelligence and learning!
 
2013-02-14 04:56:15 PM

Fizpez: thurstonxhowell: Grading on a curve is pretty stupid for a college class. It makes sense for something like the SATs where the number of test takers is very large and the group is varied in composition, but, in a high-level science class, there's a chance everyone there does very well and they should be graded as such.

...wait, I just read the article. He wasn't grading on a curve at all. That's not what grading on a curve is, despite what so many teachers may have wrongly told you.

Yeah we was adjusting the max score to match the best performance which is definitely not grading on a curve.  And even for people who DO actually try and grade on a curve I've never met someone who was such a bastard that a 93% becomes a "C" because everyone did awesome and you were just a little less awesome.  I would be farking THRILLED if I had a class average a 93% on a test and would happily dish out the "A's",


If students are averaging anything less than 100% on your tests then either:

1.) You have failed as an educator
2.) Your tests are not representative of the teaching in your course
3.) Your college has failed to properly accept/reject student applications
 
2013-02-14 04:57:10 PM

desertgeek: fireclown: In the real world, college profs are given wide authority on grading.  I'd have failed the entire class for this kind of BS.

Yes, but he almost certainly gave his students a paper explaining the grading policy. If he had failed them all, they could've gone to college administrators and appealed that grade. Many professors I had in college viewed the syllabus and papers like the grading policy as like a contract and generally speaking; are expected to stick with that, regardless of circumstances like exploited loopholes.


That would be because that is the LAW and they get sued if they don't...
 
2013-02-14 04:58:16 PM

PsyLord: Ah, students these days.  Instead of working hard for your grade, let's find loopholes to slide by.


Yeah. In the real world there is no value for problem solving skills, efficiency, collaboration and innovating thinking. We should make sure to squash such notions and create an army of drones.
 
2013-02-14 05:01:45 PM

Bullseyed: In the article (that you didn't bother to read), in this professor's class:...



I was answering 5monkeys question about why a student wouldn't want to be graded on a curve, and I used the most common adjustment as an example.

I know this professor does things differently, but so do many professors. I once had a professor who would grade the lowest score as zero, meaning that at least one person got zero in each and every test, even if they got a natural score of 95%. But his type of adjustment was uncommon (and usually reversed after a few complaints), as is the adjustment used by the professor in TFA, so I felt those anomalies weren't relevant to a question on curve grading in general.
 
2013-02-14 05:09:23 PM

thurstonxhowell: Quaker: How is grading on a curve a problem? It can only help you compared to the alternative

False. Grading on a curve is not the same as what this guy did. This guy bumped up students' scores so that the highest score was equivalent to getting 100% even if a few questions were wrong. That's not grading on a curve. Grading on a curve forces the grades into a pre-determined distribution, usually centered on a C. Most colleges are reluctant to give Fs, so you really have to fark up to get one.

If a class gets 96, 95, 92, 88, 86, 85, 85, 84, and 82, this guy would give them 100, 99, 96, 92, 90, 89, 89, 88, and 86. Grading on a curve would give them something like A, B, B, C, C, C, C, D, and D.


Depends on the rest of his grading policy, which was not included in the article and you are speculating about, unfoundedly. Furthermore, you got the part of the grading policy that was contained in the article wrong. He does not add percentage points, but rather retotals the exam.

A 96 would be a 38.4/40 -> 38.4/38.4 = 100%
A 95 would be a 38/40 -> 38/38.4 = 98.9%
A 92 would be a 36.8/40 -> 36.8/38.4 = 95.8%
A 88 would be a 35.2/40 -> 35.2/38.4 = 91.7%
A 86 would be a 34.4/40 -> 34.4/38.4 = 89.5%
A 85 would be a 34/40 -> 34/38.4 = 88.5%
A 84 would be a 33.6/40 -> 33.6/38.4 = 87.5%
A 82 would be a 32.8/40 -> 32.8/38.4 = 85.4%

Your shortcut only works if the policy is to round up, and even then it would only work for initial grades above 83.9%.
 
2013-02-14 05:18:00 PM

KFBR392: I had one of these professors on college.

IIRC,the curve was something like:

> 80 was an A
60-79 was a B
45-59 was a C
35-44 was a D
 < 35 F

What's the point of teaching agiving exams where 75% of the students are retaining maybe 50% of the  information.


You're assuming that "getting question wrong on the test" means "it was taught and student didn't retain it" which most of the time is an incorrect assumption.
 
2013-02-14 05:20:43 PM

BigNumber12: Good luck trying to apply that one in the real world, kiddos.


They just did.  Where do you think the "real world" is exactly?
 
2013-02-14 05:22:27 PM

grinding_journalist: Fizpez: The guy got dozens of other people to follow him in on a risky proposition - a group which MUST have included people who would have gotten an "A" anyway. There are plenty of places that WOULD hire him just because of this....

Another way of looking at it would be: This guy convinced dozens of other people to do an ethically questionable gaming of the system for personal benefit. I wonder if he'd do that with his pool of office co-workers at our company? He clearly has no problem with it, and here, it might cost us money.


You have very little understanding of what ethics is.
 
2013-02-14 05:25:11 PM

tortilla burger: Clever, and you win on a technicality (which isn't even really a technicality, the professor's syllabus and grading style are not legally binding), but come on you whiny entitled bastards. It's just a test. Seriously.

I'd have failed all of them on principle.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrjwaqZfjIY
 
2013-02-14 05:28:41 PM

Adolf Oliver Nipples: Normalization of grades have been happening for a long time, I see little reason to object to it now.


Yep. Started exactly at the same time that the US education system started losing ground to other countries. Imagine that.
 
2013-02-14 05:29:29 PM

Lando Lincoln: I would have loved to have been the ass that ruined it for all of them.

"Fark all you guys. I'm here to learn shiat, not for a goddamn grade. I'm smart enough to take this test and pass it. If you're not, then go find a new line of study."


If you were there to learn, then you wouldn't take any test, as tests are not learning.
 
2013-02-14 05:31:26 PM

red5ish: My experience taking classes graded on a curve included students sabotaging other students' lab experiments, books being stolen from the reserve library, pages ripped out or blacked out, cheating on a massive scale, you know, just the sort of behavior you want to encourage.


So, how was Cornell?
 
2013-02-14 05:42:56 PM

Bullseyed: KFBR392: I had one of these professors on college.

IIRC,the curve was something like:

> 80 was an A
60-79 was a B
45-59 was a C
35-44 was a D
 < 35 F

What's the point of teaching agiving exams where 75% of the students are retaining maybe 50% of the  information.

You're assuming that "getting question wrong on the test" means "it was taught and student didn't retain it" which most of the time is an incorrect assumption.


Exactly... most every ENG course, the HW tested your knowledge of the material, the exams tested your limits.  Tests are often designed to be a step or two beyond what is expected.  Only in the easy classes were exams tests of your absorption of the information.
 
2013-02-14 05:57:06 PM

Fizpez: BigNumber12: Good luck trying to apply that one in the real world, kiddos.

You mean the real world of tax loopholes, back room deals and collusion?  Yeah, in reality that shiat works in the real world too.


Yep, it's called a Union Shop.
 
2013-02-14 06:03:12 PM

bingo the psych-o: BigNumber12: Good luck trying to apply that one in the real world, kiddos.

They just did.  Where do you think the "real world" is exactly?


Post-academia. You know, the place where choosing not to do the work that's required of you results in termination.
 
2013-02-14 06:15:48 PM

Kaenneth: Fizpez: BigNumber12: Good luck trying to apply that one in the real world, kiddos.

You mean the real world of tax loopholes, back room deals and collusion?  Yeah, in reality that shiat works in the real world too.

Yep, it's called a Union Shop.


Which was a fantastic idea until the rest of the world started doing many of the same tasks better and cheaper.

Rewarding non-competition and non-production on a large enough scale creates economic powerhouses like the Soviet Union.
 
2013-02-14 07:49:32 PM
Pretty sure I just set the high end of the curve for my programming class on Tuesday, so I'm getting a kick...

/Bragging? Me?
 
2013-02-14 08:16:02 PM

FizixJunkee: liam76: PsiChick: Grading on a curve is a problem because you don't get the score you earned, you get the score your neighbor earned for you. And it means the professor isn't paying as much attention to whether or not his class is learning something.

In one of my fluid mechanics classes in college I got a 21 on an 80 point test.  It was the highest in the class.  I "earned" and A.

I learned a lot in that class.  The teacher was good at teaching us things, just liked to ask extremely tough questions.

My graduate-level Classical Mechanics class was like that.  The final exam was excruciating.  Forty students took the class.  Prof awarded several B-, C+, and C grades (which is rather unusual for a grad school course).

I got one of the three A grades in the courses.

\yeah, I'm bragging.


It was a bit nerve wracking the first time I had a test lime that...
 
2013-02-14 09:37:25 PM

Bullseyed: Quaker: How is grading on a curve a problem? It can only help you compared to the alternative. All they did was screw it up for everyone else in the future. If you can actually get everyone else on board, there are far more subtle ways to effectively manipulate a grading curve.

Also, the professor's new policy of "everybody has 0 points means that everybody gets 0 percent" would be just as ineffective if he's going to follow it to the letter as he did here. All everyone has to do is pick one question (or one relevant fact in the case of an essay test) that they're sure about and only answer that one.

If you had read the article you would know that the professor also set a new policy of "if he thinks anyone is trying to work together to mess with the curve, he can give everyone any grade he feels like, irrespective of how they did in the class."


Well that's lame. But it also proves what I was saying to someone else in this thread, which was that they made life harder for all the other students from here onward by being so obvious about their collusion. They could have been subtle and still all gotten reasonably good grades since it seems that they could actually get everyone to agree to work together, which is the hardest part.
 
2013-02-14 10:33:57 PM
Way to sell yourself short, Generation Duckfacers.  Way to sell yourself short.

Also, if this had been on the ground floor I would have knocked on the widow to see if the professor would let me climb in and take the test just to fark over everyone else for being a bunch of farking idiots.
 
2013-02-14 11:31:10 PM

thurstonxhowell: StrangeQ: /would have failed them all if I was the professor

Not if you didn't like being sued for not following the syllabus that you printed and handed out. This was at Johns Hopkins, at least one of those kids would have had the dough to make that hurt.


This!  That syllabus is a contract and really must be followed.  There is some leeway to allow for changes related to the material taught due to school closings (usually omitting a chapter or some such modification), but that doesn't usually allow for professors to change the grading system unless it's to the benefit of the students.

Sounds like this prof called it a good play and changed his rules to prevent this from happening in the future. He did right in mu opinion.
 
2013-02-15 01:19:22 AM

naughtyrev: DussoJanladde: Dogberry: I'm amazed that that one guy who asks all the stupid questions right at the end of class didn't fark it up for everyone else by showing up for the exam.

Did you read TFA? Everyone sat outside the room, and if one student had gone in to take the exam, all of them would have done the same.

I would've sneaked in through a different door or crawled through a window or something. Just answer like 1 or 2 questions correctly and be done with it. That would've been hilarious.


Yea, I would've been the one to march right in. Fark 'em.

/and fark curves, too
 
2013-02-15 06:44:14 AM

Quaker: hich was that they made life harder for all the other students from here onward by being so obvious about their collusion. They could have been subtle and still all gotten reasonably good grades since it seems that they could actually get everyone to agree to work together, which is the hardest part


The only way they agreed and followed through is that could all watch each other and stay out of the class.  Once they sat down for the test, all bets are off.
 
2013-02-15 11:53:53 AM
To quote a comment from TFA which doesn't make the alleged Fox News ban sound too little, too late:


As one of Dr. Wolfe's students I am really angered by this whole 'tempest in a teapot'. In fact, the people commenting negatively toward Dr. Wolfe (below) show why she is absolutely correct in this matter. Their views have been skewed by bad reporting. We were told, in-class, that she did not want us using biased sources, and mentioned some extreme left, and extreme right, as well as special interest "news" organizations as examples.

She further explained that, if we could make a good argument for using one of these sources (as several people in class have) that she would permit it. She just wanted us to explore a variety of sources, rather than simply accepting a single perspective.

She has NOT (as TV9 claims), "lifted any limitation on research sources", because there was no real limitation to begin with.

The "upset students and parents", are one set of parents who happen to be the extremely conservative and politically influential parents of one student who is failing. So rather than talk to her or anyone else at the University, they are trying to discredit her.

All of this is hardly surprising, WWVA is a Fox radio affiliate, and Bloomquist only has a show because of he spreads offensive lies and half-truths (Look at his comments about coal miners from last April).

What is sad is that WTOV is being so ignorant as to accept for face value what Bloomquist said. This is what happens with yellow journalists on a slow news day, I suppose
 
2013-02-15 11:55:25 AM
Whoopsie.
That was the wrong browser tab with "professor" in its title.
 
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