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Justforlaw

Midterm grades - curved or not?

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13 hours ago, Justforlaw said:

Just wondering whether mid terms grades are curved or if they are our original scores. 

For all intents and purposes, they are 'curved.' (Ottawa doesn't use a 'curve.' It uses a forced average.)

Edited by PerisoreusCanadensis

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In 1L some of them are curved, some are not. It depends on the prof and the midterm because 2/5 of my midterm grades were not curved, the other three were, and property/ADR do not get a midterm just a final

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Some observations.

Ottawa doesn't use a curve, as another poster has mentioned.

In general (not just Ottawa but at law schools more generally, including every one that I've taught at), midterm grades don't have to conform to the same distribution/average rules that final grades do. However, when one converts raw midterm grades to letter grades, there is a general tendency to at least roughly adhere to the school's distribution/average (perhaps on the lower end of that to account for the fact that students generally show improvement between the midterm and the final).

This is for three main reasons. First, if the midterm grades adhere roughly to the necessary distribution/average, I won't have to engage in too much mathematical gymnastics to achieve the necessary distribution/average when calculating them together with final grades. Second, it minimizes student complaints. If my school has a B average and I had a C average on the midterm, I would be inundated after the midterm. Similarly, if I had an A average on the midterm and then had to have a B average after the final, I would be inundated by students whose marks had gone down. Third, if I'm faced with raw scores that range from 20 up to 80 out of 100, with a large concentration of grades around 50/100, I have to come up with some sort of letter grades to assign. And it just makes sense to use my school's distribution/average to map onto those raw scores.

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At least one of my courses did not. The prof told us the average on the midterm was a 64. It was a source of frustration for a lot of students applying to the 1L recruit.

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44 minutes ago, chaboywb said:

At least one of my courses did not. The prof told us the average on the midterm was a 64. It was a source of frustration for a lot of students applying to the 1L recruit.

Sure, there are always exceptions. My comments were mere generalities (both from profs at Ottawa and elsewhere), but there are always outliers.

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2 hours ago, ProfReader said:

Sure, there are always exceptions. My comments were mere generalities (both from profs at Ottawa and elsewhere), but there are always outliers.

I know. I believe the rest of mine were curved.

Edited by chaboywb

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11 hours ago, chaboywb said:

At least one of my courses did not. The prof told us the average on the midterm was a 64. It was a source of frustration for a lot of students applying to the 1L recruit.

I love those profs who really, really don't get it. 

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