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Old 11-23-2009, 02:45 PM   #1
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The Bell Curve

Where in life do we find the Bell Curve an acceptable standard? Isn't proficiency more important to demonstrate? Can't everyone be proficient?

Why is it that human beings CLING to the Bell Curve and are resistent to changes in education that move beyond the Bell Curve?

Just venting!

Thoughts?
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:02 PM   #2
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I had a math teacher who once told a story that his test was on a Bell Curve, and his was the lowest score at 92%. And, in keeping with the curve, he received an 'F.'
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:13 PM   #3
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I never liked the bell curve, and it was all they seemed to use in the 70s when I was in school.

My grades were not bad. It just made no sense.
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:54 PM   #4
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My profs did not really use the curve to grade, but they did chart them to see if there was some disconnect between what they were teaching and how we were scoring on tests. For example, I had one ruthless theology prof (and theology is pretty ruthless without cut-throat bitches for profs!!) and her students routinely scored so low that the prof was put on probation, gone after two semesters. I actually did not mind her lectures but her tests were at best random and the way she graded was totally unpredictable. When the majority of the students are failing there must be something wrong with the teaching and/or the testing, not everyone is that dumb. The prof's job is to teach, not nail us to the wall. Tests should be checks and balances on their teaching as much as it is on students' learning.
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Old 11-23-2009, 05:31 PM   #5
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We don't use the bell curve or any 'relative' forms of grading here, but as Liesje pointed out it may be a good measure also to see if the prof is doing a good job. If the results are repeatedly skewed one way or the other, it honestly cannot be the students who are either always all excellent or all terrible.
Unfortunately, in Germany most teachers are not simply employed, but in the status of being a 'Beamter', or civil servant'. Hence, even if all students performed extremely bad each year you couldn't fire them. But at least parents could lobby that the school take whatever action is available to them in order to make the teacher either change how s/he is teaching or how s/he is grading/testing. Well, it will never happen but it would be nice.
In university it's not much different. Especially in the first semesters there is often some intention behind making tests almost impossible to pass. They want smaller classes. And somehow there seems to be the prevailing philosophy that it must be the students' fault. Somehow they are just all too lazy or stupid.
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Old 11-24-2009, 04:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Vega View Post
We don't use the bell curve or any 'relative' forms of grading here, but as Liesje pointed out it may be a good measure also to see if the prof is doing a good job. If the results are repeatedly skewed one way or the other, it honestly cannot be the students who are either always all excellent or all terrible.
Unfortunately, in Germany most teachers are not simply employed, but in the status of being a 'Beamter', or civil servant'. Hence, even if all students performed extremely bad each year you couldn't fire them. But at least parents could lobby that the school take whatever action is available to them in order to make the teacher either change how s/he is teaching or how s/he is grading/testing. Well, it will never happen but it would be nice.
In university it's not much different. Especially in the first semesters there is often some intention behind making tests almost impossible to pass. They want smaller classes. And somehow there seems to be the prevailing philosophy that it must be the students' fault. Somehow they are just all too lazy or stupid.
It's basically the same here in Holland. Students seem the cause of the bad grades, never on earth could it be that the cause lies within professors/teachers! *gasp*

But seriously, is that standard still used a lot then, nowadays?
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Old 11-24-2009, 06:34 AM   #7
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our entire secondary schooling process (in this state of aus anyway) all comes down to a bell curve and standardising.

and it's absolute bullshit.
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Old 11-24-2009, 08:56 AM   #8
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Most of the classes in my MBA program used a curve to sometimes add a few bonus percentage points (for those the scored high) - but I don't recall it being used to take away points.
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Old 11-24-2009, 12:16 PM   #9
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What I am getting at I think is that I am trying to promote a cultural shift in the thinking some teachers are clinging to. EVERY kid should make it. The Bell Curve in its perfection, leads to a stagnant, hey, my test results look like a bell curve, and I clearly taught it because some kids got it.

I think assessment is a reflection of the delivery of content as much as it is student performance. If the goal is to teach ALL students to learn the skill, then the goal should be to use assessments to improve instruction so that we reach all students. The Bell Curve is contrary to that!
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Old 11-24-2009, 12:52 PM   #10
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The Bell Curve is a tool for lazy educators that subscribe to outcome based education theories.

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Old 11-24-2009, 01:23 PM   #11
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why should all students be expected to be at the same level for every skill?
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Old 11-24-2009, 01:31 PM   #12
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The fact is they are not, and you shouldn't fake it for them.

For example, most women mistake me for an athlete, just because I look like one doesn't mean I make the grade.

I usually let all enquirers down gently with this information.

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Old 11-24-2009, 02:30 PM   #13
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Never understood why the grade you earned couldn't be the grade you got. to the bell curve.
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:33 PM   #14
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fuck everyone else. aren't final results ultimately an individual thing that shouldn't be tied to a group?
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:43 PM   #15
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it's about "self esteeeeeeeem"
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