A transparent andrigorous evaluation system is expected to be implemented in the academic systemto ensure a complete professional education. Globally, in academics, bell curveis a method of assigning grades designed to yield a preferred distribution of gradesamong the students in a class. Stringently speaking, grading on a bell curverefers to the assigning of grades according to the distribution known as the normaldistribution. But in the Indian scenario, few universities fail to follow theglobal pattern of assigning grades. This paper tries to project the anomaly inthe evaluation system and opens the window for the administrators to take stockof the situation and enable corrective measures for the betterment of thestudents and society.Key Words: Moderation;Grades; Evaluation; Normal Distribution; Bell Curve IntroductionThere are certainissues in the evaluation system of engineering college examination which wewould like to represent. Few universities in India has the following pattern ofawarding grades to the students as mentioned in Table 1.
When the questionpaper for the university examination is tough, moderate, easy, difference in markingamong the evaluators, wide gap is observed in the performance of the students;moderation comes in to picture. To ensure impartiality, precision andconsistency in marking and the provision of results, moderations are anaccurate reflection of performance and can be trusted upon by students andstaff fraternity within the institution. The idea behind the policy of moderation,is to guarantee a level playing turf for all the students keeping in mind thedifficulty level of some questions, differences between varieties of question paper,and marking techniques.In universal educationsystem, grading on a bell curve is a method designed to assign grades to yielda desired distribution of grades among the students in a class. This bell curvegrading assigns grades to students based on their relative performance incomparison to classmates’ performance.The university has todecide what grade occupies the center of the distribution by calculating theaverage grade for the population.
This is the grade an average score will earn,and will be the most common. Traditionally, in the S-A-B-C-D-E system ‘B’ and’C’ grade occupy the centre of the bell curve. The university should alsodecide what portion of the frequency distribution each grade should occupy andwhether or not high and low grades are symmetrically assigned under the curve.
Forexample, if the top score on an exam is 60 out of 65, all students’ absolutescores will be increased by 5 before being compared to a pre-determined set ofgrading benchmarks (for example the common A>90%>B>80% etc. system).This method prevents unusually hard assignments (usually exams) from unfairlyreducing students grades but relies on the assumption that the top student’sperformance is a good measure of an assignment’s difficulty.In a true bell curve grading method,a test population of 100 students should have 2 students with a grade of ‘S’, 14students with a ‘A’, a total of 68 with ‘B’ and ‘C’, 14 with a ‘D’ and 2 with agrade of ‘E’.
But as far as our few Indian Universities are concerned,evaluation and declaring of results are concerned, the bell curve mentionedabove is not at all followed. Instead of a bell curve (inverted ‘U’), ‘N’ curveis generated for most of the subjects in which the question paper is tough orthe performance gap is more between the students who appear for theexamination. In the name of moderation, we are denying justice tostudents who score originally a pass grade. Injustice is done by not upgradingthe grades of the originally passed students and upgrading the failed students,which leads to violation of bell curve, which is supposed to be the universalsystem all over the globe. The application of the bell curve in examinationresults assumes that in any population, performance will follow the normaldistribution, with the majority of the students tending towards the average, afew above it and a few below.
This implies that performance is relative and notabsolute. Over the pastdecade, the moderation policy followed by our controller of examination ofcertain university has meant an artificial increase in the number of studentsscoring ‘E’ grade. The idea is to have a distribution of results within thebell curve, which states that the number of students who perform poorly andthose who perform exceedingly well are much fewer than the ones who fall withinthe average category. When results are plotted on a graph, it resembles a bell.Over the years, however, the moderation policy has ended up skewing the resultson only one side of the bell, meaning, the number of students who score ‘E’grade has grown leaps and bounds.
Professors, too,have their concerns about grade deflation and anti-inflation policies on ourown careers. While institutions are not taking too many measures to combatgrade inflation, there are several key pressures faculty members face whenassigning grades, and these may cause us to feel uneasy or hesitant toimmediately switch over to a strict regimen of grade deflation. These pressuresin no way excuse or minimize the ethical implications of grade inflation, nordo we seek to undermine the efforts of those striving to curtail what is indeeda significant and widespread problem in higher education today. Our purpose isonly to suggest some of the underlying causes of this epidemic from a facultyperspective; to point out some of the pressures society face as they assignstudents grades, Eubanks, P. (2011).
Problems do nothave easy answers, and they don’t always have “right” answers. Confusionis common as students often make it hard to solve problems involving competinginterests. It’s a difficult job with tough challenges that cannot always beresolved by reading a book or looking up a statute. Students need to know whatthey are signing a course for. Most students believe grades are everything.They are rarely interested in whether they are learning how to be a good professionalunless that helps them get a better grade. In the meantime, they resistconfusion, perceived inconsistency, or anything else that detracts them fromthe most efficient path to a good grade.
The pressure to perform well andsecure a good grade defines their objectives in many critical ways. Edwards T(2012)The list ofcomplaints about how colleges conduct course evaluations is long and seems tokeep getting longer. Based on the regular appearance of articles questioningthe value and use of student ratings and suggesting that they are universallyreviled by faculty, two concerns can be raised.
First, concerns about the useof student ratings have not been sufficiently addressed. Second, what we knowabout student ratings from the research literature is not reaching faculty oradministrators ( Bernhard, 2015). Grades awarded to undergraduates have risensubstantially in the last few decades, and grade inflation has becomeparticularly pronounced at selective and private colleges, a new analysis ofdata on grading practices has found. At private institutions, students areconsumers expecting that their diplomas and transcripts be worth what they (ortheir parents) have paid for them. At more selective institutions, studentsenter with ever-higher high school G.P.A.
s and “you don’t want the student tocome to your office in tears for a ‘B’ or ‘C’ (Epstein J, 2010). According toone widely circulated grading template, an ‘A’ should signify that a student isunquestionably prepared for subsequent courses in the field. But if aninstitution hands out buckets of A’s to students who really aren’t prepared, itspeaks about the imbalance in the grading system Glenn, D. (2011).Interpretationof few coursesFigs.(1-5)showcases the grade distribution of courses ‘X’, ‘Y’,’Z’,’P’ and ‘Q’. ConsiderFig.1, which depicts the grades awarded to student for a particular course ‘X’.
There are two curves in the figure. One curve denotes the published result forthe course and the other curve denotes the simulated bell curve for the resultpublished. It is very well evident that the published result seems to bemoderated only for the ‘E’ grade and bell curve is not followed. The published resultis a sinusoidal curve and the ‘E’ grade is dominating. The case with the course’Z’, ‘P’ and ‘Q’ is worse than the course ‘X’ and ‘Y’.Rather thancreating a level playing field, the current form of moderation deludesapplicants and parents who think they are entitled to pass by securing ‘E’grade. This generates outrage when students who are admitted, without writingthe exam properly, they attain a pass grade in any subject.
What they forget isthat hundreds of others who have secured above ‘E’ grade are being pushed to astate of mental agony as their performance is not respected. This presentsystem of moderation has already driven out healthy competition inside theclassroom and college. A reality check will endorse marks being dumped unnecessarilyto push the failed students to secure a pass grade.
The anomaly in themoderation system, which is boosting the ‘U’ grade to ‘E’ grade creates amindset in students that they can pass without studying the subjects. A fairmoderation system should ensure that the benefit of the moderation reaches allthe students. The moderation may be fixed based on the level of difficulty ofthe question paper and the grade distribution should follow bell curve. Thegrade distribution curve which we have attached is arrived for few coursesclearly brings out the pathetic state of moderation, where students who scoremore on their own have been neglected for moderation.Conclusion1. Toinduce a healthy competition between the students, reduce the mental agony ofhighly performing students, embarrassment of teachers, eradicating theartificial push of failed students to get a pass grade and to ensure ourgraduates as employable engineers, normal distribution should be followed inthe grading system.
2. Thesystem of moderation should be switched over to the system which globally manypremier institutes follow.