What is your ideal class average?
Don't think about it too much, just shout out your ideal class average.
If you said anything less than 100% or an A, then I fear you are grading either consciously, unconsciously or subconsciously on a bell curve. If your ideal class average is less than a perfect score than I fear that success in your class is artificially and arbitrarily scarce.
A common rebuttal I get to this discussion goes like this:
No class of students will ever get a class average of 100% because human behavior distributes along the lines of a bell-shaped, normal curve.
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that I like to say:
Reflecting upon one's beliefs can be a very productive use of time, and I can think of no better time to do so than when we have come to mindlessly accept something as a given truth. When questions are no longer answered because questions are no longer being asked, it's time to pause and reflect.I've also used this Mark Twain quote:
It ain't what we don't know that get's us in trouble, but what we know for sure that just ain't so.For a great read on why we need to rethink the bell-shaped, normal curve, I suggest you read The Myth of the Normal Curve. From the book flap:
It is generally taken for granted that human behavior distributes along the lines of a bell-shaped, normal curve. This idea underpins much educational theory, research, and practice. There is, however, a considerable body of research demonstrating that the normal curve grossly misrepresents the human experience. Yet the acceptance of the normal curve continues to be used to pathologize children and adults with disabilities by positioning them as abnormal. Collectively, the contributors to this volume critique the ideology of the normal curve. Some explicitly challenge the assumptions that underpin the normal curve. Others indirectly critique notions of normality by examining the impact of normal curve thinking on educational policies and practices. Many contributors go beyond critiquing the normal curve to propose alternative ways to imagine human differences. All contributors agree that the hegemony of the normal curve has had a devastating effect on those presumed to live on the boundaries of normal.