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Setting the Curve

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Hausdaddy24, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. Hausdaddy24

    Hausdaddy24 Im that man fromNantucket
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    So here's my dilemma; My anatomy and physiology class has ~250 people in it and I have the highest grade in the class (95.5) with only two other A's in the class (next highest grade is a 91). Well that's great right, what's the problem you may ask. Well my professor curves the highest grade to a 100 and adds those points to everyones grade. Therefore, with the next highest grade being a 91, the curve could potentially be around 9 points instead of the current 4.5 points with my grade. Well my question is, with one test left plus the final exam, would any of you in my position intentionally do poorly on the final 2 exams in order to help everyone else in the class out? I have several friends in the class that could really use a few extra points to bump their grades up, and I would still get an A even if my average dropped significantly. Would any of you all intentionally do poorly to help friends and classmates out with the curve?
     
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  3. Nikki2002

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    oh hell no
     
  4. Pretty POHA

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    ABSOLUTELY Freaking NOT!
    Never compromise yourself.
    And all I have to say about you having the best grade in the class: Niiiiiice! Keep up your hard work! I'll be PMing you next semester when I take A&P.
     
  5. Rendar5

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    If you're good enough where you can control your grade, then get everything on the test right and then change a few answers to wrong ones. If you're not good enough where you can control your score really well, then don't try learning to do that now. That's for the final, not the next test. Don't risk screwing up anymore than you have to.
     
  6. Rendar5

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    actually, forget that. just go help your friends w/ their studying. That'll benefit them more then just giving them a couple extra points.
     
  7. jackets5

    jackets5 Senior Member
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    hell no. You got your grade because you worked hard. Its not your fault others are struggling. like someone said dont compromise yourself for others, youll end up getting screwed sooner of later
     
  8. JG198

    JG198 Senior Member
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    help them study
     
  9. 63768

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    ummm no. setting the curve is an honorable thing. your friends should study more and not you studying less.
     
  10. Chris127

    Chris127 Senior Member
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    No way in hell.
     
  11. Hausdaddy24

    Hausdaddy24 Im that man fromNantucket
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    I agree that setting the curve is honorable and believe me I am very proud of my performance in the class. The only reason I have considered doing this is because the friends that I am worried about ARE the ones that I have been studying with all semester. They have been in the library with me 3-4 days a week studying for 3+ hours per session throughout the semester. They come prepared, they focus on the material, and they have truly put forth enough effort to have the same A that I have. I know that effort doesn't always translate into success but it really bums me out that they put in the exact same amount of work that I have, yet they have averages 15-25 points below mine. Again, I'm not worried about not getting an A (with 25% of the grade yet to be determined i would only have to average a 73.6 on the final two exams to end up with a 90, he doesn't give A-'s). (Note: I still plan on learning the material to the best of my ability but I will intentionally answer wrong on tests to keep my scores low). I feel that the only way I will be shortchanging myself is if I were to completely blow off learning the material. An A is an A in my book and I don't feel like I need to stroke my ego by proving that I'm the smartest person in the class by keeping my average as high as it is. I guess it's pretty obvious that I've already made up my mind so I'm not really looking for advice, just wondering what you all would do in my position. Thanks
     
  12. Centinel

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    Intentionally getting an answer wrong is an intellectually bankrupt practice, and is academically dishonest. It's something you'll never be 'busted' for, but I don't imagine that it's healthy behavior to engage in over the long run (and smacks of being ethically problematic).
     
  13. Chrissy

    Chrissy Senior Member
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    not to an a**hole but maybe if you chilled with bragging about it no one would even know you were in the position to help or hurt your friends...
     
  14. Chinorean

    Chinorean Senior Member
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    Wow, that's very altruistic of you. I hope it doesn't backfire and you get the answers you intend to keep "right," right. Something I don't understand tho--if a 90 is the lowest possible A, how is the class curved? I mean, it doesn't sound that different so I'm not sure how much you could really help. Plus you're banking on everyone else doing the same as they always do.

    Also, consider whether you need a letter of rec from that professor first.
     
  15. Pretty POHA

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    Well, since you've already made up your mind... do you want to help me get into medical school? You and I will BOTH apply to the same college... and we'll both have great stats and when they accept you and not me (because of whatever reason), I'm going to ask you to decline that school so that I look like the next reasonable applicant...
    You see where this mode of thinking leads?

     
  16. jebus

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    I wouldn't approach it like this. It also means that the person with a 91 so far could clean up on the next two tests and jack you over. There are too many variables which are out of your control. Or maybe you can collude with the other high graders and totally bomb the next tests. That way everyone will win and you won't have to do as well as a 73.6.
    Or, as yehudi menuhin said best, "Rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous." Yeah, think about it.
     
  17. Karim

    Karim The Egyptian Undergrad
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    Those definitely are not analogous cases. What Hausdaddy is proposing is that, in keeping with your analogy, he and you will both get into medical school due to a little altruism on his part, but he's definitely not giving up his seat. He's going to intentionally perform below he usually does to help out a few friends and the rest of the struggling class, but he will still maintain his A; I believe that this is a very honorable action. On your transcript, you see the letter grade, not the percentage, so it truly doesn't matter what kind of A he gets.

    On the other hand, only do it if your are 100% sure that it won't backfire, and like Chinorean said, consider if you want a letter of recommendation from this professor or not. And on a final note, congratulations for being in such a position in the first place.
     
  18. Scoot

    Scoot Senior Member
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    Just wanted to add my humble opinion: if, like someone else said, you are good enough to know the answer to every question and then change however many you want, do it. You would not, in my opinion, "compromising yourself" by getting a lower grade than you were capable of (as long as the difference is not so big as to be evident on your transcript). You are not your grade...you are the relationships you have with other people. No one will care about your grade in a hundred years, but, OTOH, people that have benefitted from your actions will remember you.
     
  19. Rendar5

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    help your friends study, I'll repeat that advice. So what if they put int he same effort as you. It's not how much work or time you put into studying. It's how you study. If they're just sitting there forcing rote memorization into their brains, then Get them to change the way they're studying.
     
  20. Gavanshir

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    SHAME on you Hausdaddy24. Shame on you for even considering such a despicable action. I would smack you in the face if I could. This is just everything thatÂ’s wrong in the world.
     
  21. dilated

    dilated Fought Law; Law Won
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    Down the road of bad arguments by analogy?

    To the OP, I'll buck the trend and say go for it if they're really good friends and you really think you can handle the curve. If they're just acquaintances, who cares. I've done far dumber things for friends in trouble; it's really not a very big deal, 5 points is hardly going to make a huge difference.

    Five years from now you will not give a rats ass if you got a 97 or 91 in physiology. The free drinks you will still receive from your friends who didn't have to go to the Caribbean, however, will still be saving you a lot of money.
     
  22. unfrozencaveman

    unfrozencaveman not a dude
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    Are you crazy????? This could go wrong in so many ways. It's a nice gesture, but you would be flat out nuts to try this.
     
  23. jackets5

    jackets5 Senior Member
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    I changed my mind. If there are good freinds in the class then by all means do it. If its some random people you dont know then dont. I really could care less about a grade. Most people are pri*ks and are unappreciative but if its to help out some good freinds then do it, not to help out random people
     
  24. robotsonic

    robotsonic Senior Member
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    Here is a general rule I followed back in college: If I had the highest, or one of the highest, scores on a test, I told no one. NO ONE. Get it? If your friends complain about the 12 points they lost, let them complain and even try to sympathize, but don't go around letting everyone know that you got the highest score. It just makes you look like a jerk.

    That being said, if you want to score badly on the next few tests to help out your friends, go for it. I personally think it is stupid.

    (I'm assuming that this class does not have A+'s, because if you were willing to give up an A+ so that your friends could have a very slightly higher score then that would be pretty idiotic.)
     
  25. CTSballer11

    CTSballer11 Senior Member
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    Dont wanna get flammed to bad so I am taking that post out.
     
  26. Rendar5

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    jeez, now that's just flat-out cheating.

    EDIT: this was to the previous poster's story. not to the OP.
     
  27. CTSballer11

    CTSballer11 Senior Member
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    OP, if you have a guaranteed A then do it.
     
  28. Pretty POHA

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    I concur! I was just about to ask if no one else viewed this as cheating...
    It is, though-- and cheaters suck.
    (and I know my previous analogy was not very good. So what.)
     
  29. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    This thread sorta sickens me - I am tired of all these super smart people coming on here with these faux dilemmas about there friends struggling. How about not waiting until the end of the semester to think about the problem, and actually HELPING your friends study DURING the semester?? I never had any of my close friends struggle in any of the classes I was excelling in because I helped them. I took extra time out of my schedule to study with them so that we could all succeed together. Try that next time instead of some half-baked scheme to fix the curve.
     
  30. Hausdaddy24

    Hausdaddy24 Im that man fromNantucket
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    Some of you guys keep saying that I should help my friends study for the tests which is an excellent idea... which is exactly why I have been doing it ALL semester as I previously posted. Also, I don't brag about my test scores, my friends have no idea how well I'm doing in the class and I don't plan on telling them. Some of you don't agree with me and thats fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. My opinion is that this is not cheating, I have earned every single one of those 95 and a half points and if I want to "spend" a few of them to help out some classmates in need, I think I should have every right to.
     
  31. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    So even if you do "throw" the final - how do you know that somebody else won't just ace it hence ruining your efforts? Suppose you then need the prof to write you a letter, or find that s/he is on the committee that writes the letters - and s/he remembers you as the person that toyed with his/her curve.
     
  32. Rendar5

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    I don't think it's cheating (unlike someone's story here), but out of curiousity, why did you come on here to post this as a question when you had already decided?
     
  33. Hausdaddy24

    Hausdaddy24 Im that man fromNantucket
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    Rendar, it wasn't a question just a topic for discussion. I also wanted to see who would be the first to mention "smacking me in the face" through this anonymous internet forum (thanks Gavanshir, much sooner than expected by the way)
     
  34. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    So we could all be wowed by his altruism and his stunning intellect (eyeroll). The OP is probably that same person that "asks" a question just to demonstrate to the class how smart he is. Ever notice that these questions are always asked 30 seconds before class is about to get out, but will take 5 minutes to answer?
     
  35. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    One of the things I do when I'm not reading SND is to read LORs. You'd be surprised what faculty members will write about you. If you get an A for the course but you did it by doing well in everything but the last two exams, the letter writer just might say that. He might mention that you had nearly perfect scores at the start of the semester and despite a disappointing (to the professor) finish you still managed to finish in the top x out of 250 students. He might also interprete your poor performance to not working hard once you were guaranteed an A. You don't want anything like that in a LOR.

    Those of you who've never seen a LOR might not know what goes on behind the scenes so I thought it wise to fill you in.
     
  36. Nikki2002

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    *bites nails off*
     
  37. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    I was faced with the same dilemma in an engineering class. Had several good friends that I had helped study all semester, and they were consistently doing worse on exams. With a curve in the class, and when you are leading by a significant margin over the next best grade, it is fairly easy to fix the curve without risking losing an A. The math actually works out quite well in favor of being able to do just that.

    My friends knew I was doing well, but had no idea how well (people remember that you do well on tests but don't seem to remember specific grades, much less take the time to calculate anyone's average but their own). They also had no idea that I was considering the curve-fixing dilemma. I really wanted to help them, but felt that it wasn't ethical. My problem was that by throwing the curve intentionally you are removing the decision making process from the professor, who is more qualified and authorized than you to set the grades for the class.

    So I talked to the professor. I explained that I knew I could throw the final and bump up class grades by an average of nearly 10 points. I also explained that I had an ethical problem with doing that. So we discussed the situation, he agreed that one outlier grade wasn't appropriate to set a statistical curve with (it is actually standard in most any field to remove outliers from data sets), and that my performance shouldn't hold back my friends if at all possible. I urged him to take a look at previous semesters and see if I was just doing better than normal, or if everyone really was struggling for whatever reason. He found that the class as a whole was doing about the same as every other year he had taught the course, but by using my score to curve he would wind up with grades about a half-letter below previous years on average. He decided to adjust his curve to take this into account. We all got what we wanted... my friends got the grade they and I hoped for, I got a really high grade, and my professor thanked me for having the honesty and ethics to come to him with my concerns.

    This isn't bragging - just a class I happened to really enjoy. I've been on the other end of the stick more often than not. To the OP, if you've helped your friends you have nothing to feel bad about at all. However, I wouldn't suggest fixing the curve, if only for the remote chance that your prof isn't an idiot, figures out what you've done, and adjusts your grade negatively. Go talk to him. Perhaps your friends are just below average compared to other years. If so, maybe they deserve the grades they have earned? If not, maybe he will see your point of view and be a little more gracious with the curve. Either way, you will have made a genuine attempt to both do the right thing and help your friends out, and I don't think you can do any more than that.
     
  38. CTSballer11

    CTSballer11 Senior Member
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    That is a good point, I failed to think of this. I guess the solution to that is to not get a letter of rec from that professor.
     
  39. Pretty POHA

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    I think it's a GREAT idea to smoke a class and then decide (with altruistic intentions) to do less well on the last few tests to help my friends out, and in turn NOT ask my prof for a LOR because what I did could be construed as unethical. Fabulous!
    *sarcasm*
    LAME! (since you all KNOW you want to hear my opinion and stuff.)
     
  40. Hausdaddy24

    Hausdaddy24 Im that man fromNantucket
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    Yep, you've got me pegged Flopotomist, I actually post on various forums and try to impress other posters by making up stories about me being compassionate and super intellectual, because I REALLY care what a bunch of strangers think. Oh and by the way, I'm actually the guy that sits in the back of the classroom and doesn't make a sound the entire semester.
     
  41. jebus

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    Well, that's just odd. Why would you go to that much work? And for strangers, no less? It just doesn't add up. (/sarcasm)
    Anyway, moving on...
     
  42. gilly1980

    gilly1980 Member
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    I have set the curve in every single class I have ever taken in my biology degree and I am a senior. I like to score as high as possible and in many cases I have finished with a 100% in the class and the teacher was forced to use the second highest grade and set that to a 100%. I have received many letters of recommendations and research opportunities as a result of this (even in classes that have nothing to do with my major) and I think that is what you should be trying to achieve. I personally would feel bad if I didn't do as well on an exam as I am capable of and I am too much of a perfectionist sometimes because of my previous engineering degree in which I did not do so well (personal reasons). My lesson: Have some pride in your accomplishemnets and don't settle!
     
  43. Nikki2002

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    LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL I'm dying over here :laugh: :laugh:
     
  44. Doctormo24

    Doctormo24 Senior Member
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    No man. I wouldnt intentionally do bad just to let them get more curve points. They should be asking you advice or asking you to help them study.
     
  45. drmota

    drmota 2K Member
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    y'all should back off the OP just a little bit. he's not bragging

    hausdaddy - i think you're kinda strange to think about doing this for 3 reasons: 1) you could get a killer LOR from this prof if you didn't, 2) there are several ways that this plan could go wrong. 3) if your friends don't know how you're doing and that you're "setting the curve", they're not gonna have any ill will towards you when the semester's up.

    obviously you have the final say but a word of advice cuz you seem like you may be a bit young and naive : don't be too nice to people, you'll end up getting burned. every time.

    -mota
     
  46. BerkeleyMD

    BerkeleyMD Senior Member
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    I'd do the same, cuz like you said an A is an A! I would only worry about ending up with an A-, but since its either A or B, your A is pretty much secured.
     

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