Thursday, March 09, 2006
Now, this is all well and good, except that it has come out in conversations with fellow students that grades sometimes don’t add up. Here are a couple of examples from trusted sources:
- In one 2nd year class four students who all participated in class on an approximately equal basis worked together on the final paper. Two students received 1’s for the semester and two received 2’s. Not too strange, you may think, except that another group of three students who worked together on a paper in that class received the range of grades: 1, 2, and 3. How is it possible if the paper is 50% of your grade for one student to get a 3 and another a 1??? Perhaps one student spoke constantly and the other not at all, but that seems unlikely.
- Another student received a 1 in one of his first year classes while also scoring a IV on his final exam. How does that happen? Is it really possible to be in the bottom 25% on the exam and top 20% overall?
Anyway, I have more stories but I don’t have approval from those people to share them so I’m not going to. I no longer think grade disclosure is going to be the cultural disaster that I once made it out to be, but I still think it causes unnecessary stress in the first year and is troublesome due in part to the arbitrariness of the grading system at HBS.