Government 1 uses a grade "curve" in order to protect students "against capricious grading by inexperienced or idiosyncratic section men," Dr. John R. Rodman, a Gov 1 section man said last night.
The effect of the curve is twofold, be said. Average students are insured against being failed by unusually tough graders, and honors students are protected against the cheapening of their achievement by easy graders.
Rodman was replying to charges made last week by the chairman of an HCUA committee to study examination grading. The chairman asserted that Government 1 employed an "unfair and inequitable quota system" of grading which penalized students in unusually good sections.
35-50% Honors Grades
Rodman said that the grade curve was based on the normal pattern of student performances in previous years. Instructors with one section are "expected" to give between 35 and 50 per cent honor grades, and between 5 and 10 per cent A's. Instructors with two sections have no limitation on the number of A's awarded, and are expected to give 37 to 50 per cent honor grades.
This "level of expectation" is very flexible, Rodman said, and noted that one section man gave 65 per cent honor grades last semester.
A section man may give more or less than the expected number of honor grades if his appeal is approved by a special "review committee." Rodman said that the committee will almost always accede to the wishes of a "stubborn" section man who can make a good case for his proposal.
The recent controversy engendered by the HCUA report has centered around allegations that students are often told in Government 1, "You would have gotten an A (or B) but I can only give out so many." Any section man who tells that to a student does not have the courage to defend his grading before the review committee, Rodman declared, reiterating that the course has no inflexible quotas for various grade levels.