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I gave a language test yesterday and the highest grade was an 89%. I teach middle school. Would it be appropriate to grade on the curve here? If so, how do you do that? I really should know, but I don't. Should I just add 10% to each student's grade? Thanks for helping!


Senior Member

I don't believe in grading on the curve. If that's your highest grade, then that's what I'd stick with. If you raised their scores, it makes them and their parents believe they are doing better than they actually are.

Mrs. G

Senior Member
What I heard....

I have never graded on the curve, but I have heard others talk about it. You take your highest grade and add enough points to it to make 100. In your case you would add 11 points. Then you add 11 points to every paper. I am not sure if this is the correct way, but I know others who have done this.

I also agree with the above poster that said it give the parents false information. You might consider letting them correct their paper and give them one or two points for everyone that they correct depending on how much they were worth to start with. This way the kids that are concerned enough with their grades will make the extra effort.;)

Jennifer in OK

Senior Member
Test Grades

If I am disappointed in my students' test grades, I will give it back to them to correct. They have to look up the answer, write the page number they found it on, and write the new answer in blue or black pen. I require the students to turn it in by the bell the following school day. (Some people may think it is strict to limit the time to find the answers, but 1st, these are 4th graders, and 2nd if I am willing to take the time to regrade it, I should be able to decide when it is due.) I then regrade it and average the 2 scores. This legitimizes the change in grade and also lets the students work more on understanding the information.


Senior Member

When I taught middle school, I would return tests like this to be corrected, and students could earn partial credit, but not enough to give 100. I've curved before, but I think it makes more sense to give partial credit than to just add points in for students who do no extra work.

Usually a curve would be enough to give the highest grade a 100, so you would need to add 11. However, I've curved just a few points before...just enough to bump people to the next higher letter grade.


Full Member
I hope I don't sound judgemental here - sometimes the written word 'flattens out' our messages. But what do we test for? I think we test to find out what they have learned, so we know if they 'got it.' If mine do poorly on a test, we go over the material. Sometimes they go back and find the correct answers, other times we go over the material together. Then I retest with a new test.

Personally, I don't like the idea of grading on a curve. I'd rather give the actual test score and average it with the second test score if a significant number of children didn't do well on the first. To me, the point is for them to learn the material, tests are a form of feedback to see if they actually learned what I thought (hoped) they'd learned.


Senior Member

I agree that it is just not a good idea to grade on a curve. The only time I ever do a curve is when one of the test items is incorrect or very confusing. Generally if I feel that my whole class didn't do well on a test then I go back and reteach the concept and later retest. If I have a good range of grades I give them the grade they have earned. At times I may reteach a small group and give them back their tests to make corrections. I then average the two grades together to some up with their new grade.


Senior Member
I can't say I don't use a curve, because now that I think about it, I bump up a few grades. I have the ez-grader and move it so the next step up is the lowest A.


Senior Member

I agree with OgTeacher about the written word. Trust me when I say, this is not judgemental or critical, just the only way I know how to word what I am trying to say.

In my very humble opinion, I would reteach the information on the test and give the students a different test covering the same information.

Tests are USUALLY a pretty good gage of how well content is taught. If your highest grade was a low B (by our grading scale) I would guess that the students didn't master the concept well enough to move on.

Just think of it as saving yourself time and headaches later when you try to build on the information.:)