Friday, November 05, 2004

The Nasty Bell Curve

I think this is pretty standard across law schools: we are graded on a bell curve. To a certain extent, it is up to the professor how the curve is graded. For example, at Queen's professors can give up to 15% of the class "A"s, but if they don't really see a lot of brilliance among us students, they can only dole out say, 10%.

I think it would be a lie if any law school student said that they didn't think a lot about the bell curve. Rather than being graded on what we know, we are being ranked by how much more (or less) knowledge/ understanding we have compared to our classmates. Needless to say, this tends to build an atmosphere of competition.

Thankfully, Queen's Law is one of the better schools at breaking down competition and helping to forge friendships among its students. Staff and faculty alike are sensitive to how the bell curve affects us. I've heard that at other law schools the competition can be debilitating. Instead of students helping each other, they hinder each other.

Anyhow, I've been thinking about the bell curve these last few days because, 1. we got back our first assignment, 2. we have our first mid-term exam coming up, and 3. we have a memorandum due quite soon. All of these are graded on the bell curve.

Wish me luck ;)


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