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Two Things I Never Did as a Teacher

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


I have been a teacher for over 60 years, and I have taught hundreds of students. Unlike many other teachers, there are two things I never did. Learn what those two things I never did as a high school teacher, college teacher, and seminary professor.

Also, learn the reasons I never did those things even though they are common among many other teachers.

1. Grading on the Curve

"Grading on a curve" is a practice used by some teachers to determine how students' grades for assignments and exams can be adjusted. The "curve" means the curve of a bell that is used in statistics to show the normal distribution of any set of data. Therefore, "grading on the curve" usually means that students are assigned grades based on the highest score someone in the class received.


I never graded on the curve because I strongly disagree with that approach. Grading on the curve means adjusting the grading scale after an assignment based on the highest score of the students. For instance, if all twelve students in a class received a low grade, the curve depends on the highest of the lowest. Under a standard grading scale, anything lower than 60 would be failing. If the highest score was 60 percent, then that would be an "A" if the teacher graded on the curve. That means scores lower than that would be passing scores.

When the grading on the curve method is used, a teacher modifies each student's grade to raise the average.

When students suggested that I grade their assignments on the curve, I explained to them that life is not graded on the curb. When I have to pay my electric bill, it is the amount of electricity I have used and not what my neighbors have used. In other words, my bill is not based on a curve.

If students get in the habit of being graded on the curve, they might not strive for their highest potential when it comes to life experiences after they leave school. I never contributed to my students believing that grading on the curve was a good idea.

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2. Throwing Out the Lowest Test Score

I never promised any of my students that I would throw out their lowest grade. I abide by that rule for the similar reason that I do not grade on the curve. My creditors don't expect me to throw out my lowest bill. All of them want to be paid for the services they have rendered.

Therefore, I never threw out a test score. It was used to get the average of all the scores.

A Grading Method Students Appreciated

While I never graded on the curve or threw out a student's lowest test score, there is one thing I did do that students appreciated.

If a student was only one point away from getting the next highest grade, I would consider it with a great deal of thought. I would take into consideration certain things such as the following to make me comfortable giving the student that extra point so he or she could move to the higher grade.

Considerations included:

  • regular class attendance
  • being on time for class
  • assignments completed on time
  • class participation
  • good behavior in class

Students really appreciated this method. In the long run, it was much better than grading on the curve or throwing out a low test score.

My Grading Scale

ScaleLetter Grade

90 to 100


80 to 89


70 to 79


60 to 69


69 and Below


Teachers' Announcement

Teachers should inform students at the beginning of the semester what to expect concerning grades. That way, there will be no surprises for students when it comes to grading on a scale or throwing out the lowest test score.

Students will be more inclined to do their best throughout the school year when they know what to expect and what not to expect.

Life Outside the Classroom

Students are more prepared for life outside the classroom when they do their best in the classroom without taking the easy way out. Therefore, they should get in the habit of striving for the highest possible grades and not relying on someone else's grade to be the standard.

As far as throwing out the lowest test score is concerned, that is not how it works in real life. Our tests are essential for spiritual growth, the lowest scored ones just as the highest scored ones.

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