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11-09-2012, 10:58 AM
Czech Your Math
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Originally Posted by Dalton View Post
This is what I have a problem with. I have 20 students and 2 get As. I have the same class next year. Those two students still deserve As. But 10 students have come to the class from a foreign land rumoured to be really, really good at the subject I'm teaching. The rumours hold out for the most part and 7 of them deserve As.

You would bell curve the class downwards and deny them what they earned. I would give all deserving students an A or whatever grade they earned according to whatever rubric I had been using up to that time.

Giving students a B,C or D when they actually earned an A based on past practices is what's wrong with bell curving or a misplaced belief in averaging. It has deeper implications on society as the study I've referenced suggests.

If you are doing this with raw hockey data then there can be no doubt whatsoever that your interpreted data is in error. You are saying that you would manipulate data to satisfy an irrational urge for normalcy at the expence of truth.
I agree with you that curving isn't the best way to grade a class. It would be better to have an exact standard that's consistently applied, but we don't know what standard to use to equate one season to another. The best estimate so far is based on the mean, which is why the curve (not necessarily bell-shaped) was used as an analogy.

You have to look at the most common alternative, which is just using raw stats. This is the equivalent of having different professors from year to year. One year it's "cool Mr. High" who hands out As & Bs to most of the class... the next year it's "cranky Ms. Low" who relishes failing half the class.

In the context we're speaking of (hockey), using a curve is at least consistent and founded in value. What changes from year to year is the quality of the class.

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