If you have a dearth of submissions or topics to discuss, here’s a NYT article on grading on a curve and why classmates should support each other:
On my most optimistic days, I wonder whether campus mental health would improve if more classes were designed to encourage participants to support one another… In a marriage you don’t need to know how to fix the air-conditioner if your wife does. In a work team you don’t have to know how to perfect PowerPoint slides if your colleague is an expert.
Then there is the ever-popular group project, where at least one dud student will blackmail the others into doing all the work in order to avoid a bad grade. It works like a charm because there is always at least one student who wants a good or at least decent grade who will be sure to do the work for the group.
I know that study groups can be effective for some people, but only if the entire group is motivated and willing to work hard. Otherwise it’s just an unpaid tutoring gig for the hardworking students who must forsake their own studying to “support” the lazy duds.
I don’t know about the grading on a curve, since the only curve upon which I’ve ever been graded is “top marks get As, everyone else is scaled accordingly” but the article mentions a cap on the As so that if you allot seven students to get As and 10 actually do get As, then three have their As demoted, which seems frightfully unfair to those three.
Perhaps the CM group would like to weigh in on grading on a curve, or students supporting each other, if things are slow around CM.
- Programming Patty