Question: “Are you Going to Curve the Grades?”

Very often, at the end of an exam that seemed particularly difficult, students will ask the professor, “Are you going to curve the grades?” Unfortunately, “curving the grades” doesn’t necessarily mean that you will receive a higher grade on a test, although you might like to think so! Curving grades is actually a technique whereby a fixed proportion of the highest grades receive As (even if the highest grade is a failing grade on a percentage basis), and a fixed proportion of the lowest grades receive Fs (even if the lowest score is a passing grade on a percentage basis). The B, C, and D grades are also assigned according to fixed proportion. One such allocation uses the following proportions.

If the average C grade is centered on the average grade for all students, and if we assume that the grades are normally distributed, how many standard deviations on each side of the mean will designate the C grades?

How many standard deviations on either side of the mean will be the cutoff points for the B and D grades?

Answer: Curving the grade is a term used to define the various ways in which test scores can be changed to achieve normal distribution. This can be done by adding equal points to all the test scores or by converting them to percentages…….