Hello, I realise this is quite a common type of question now exam season is grinding our faces into the dirt again, but I wondered if anyone had some insights into how flexible university grade boundaries are? Specifically I’m interested in what contributes to the boundaries for numerate (science, maths, etc) courses where you do actually walk out with a percentage correct.
I’m aware of the whole >70% for an A, c.60 – 70% for a B, ..., 40% = Pass general marking scheme, and I know exam performance generally gets standardised using some kind of grade curve, where the marker’s will look at a distributional plot of the exam’s results, and assess the effects of setting the boundaries in certain places. I guess this is how A-Level exam boards operate too.
But, comments I’ve heard from lecturers seemed to suggest that sometimes at university they look at the overall performance of your year-group too – so if the performance of your cohort is markedly different for a certain paper (like if everyone generally gets As and Bs on your course but for some particular subject nobody gets above 50%), then they pay extra attention to that exam and MIGHT adjust the boundaries– I guess in addition to the normal standardisation for year-on-year.
What I guess the million dollar question I guess I’m trying to ask is: does anyone have a clue about how low they are prepared to go?? Like can a 20% ever really be a pass? Or a 55% an A??
Does anyone have any heroic and inspirational tales of snatching exam joy from the jaws of impending failure??
I just had an exam and it went BADLY... For everyone. Like even my genius foreign-educated classmates with PhDs lined up for next year were actually in tears at the end.
Exam grade flexibility
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