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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Trouble with the curve

“We have to stop accepting the fact that curves will save our college careers and start putting accountability on ourselves to learn material and actually try to be better.” PHOTO CREDIT : KRISTEN LABUZENSKI

As the movie begins, Clint Eastwood is lining up the camera and ready to start filming. Amy Adams comes out of her trailer, looking like that daughter Eastwood never had. Justin Timberlake is ready to start filming like he is actually Scott Eastwood. All goes well on set until the technical director asks Eastwood, “How do you use this camera again?”

While the movie “Trouble with the Curve” was pretty alright, what is happening with students in colleges is just absurd.

I like to call it “trouble with the curve” as well, but this concerns the ridiculous grading curve used nationwide. The real question is, are we hand-holding students too much? This is a problem that has driven studies across the globe, specifically in the U.S. While many Americans boast the most ridiculous of claims that we are the best country in the world, we continue to fall in terms of global education rankings at an astonishing rate. Now, as we stand at 14th in the world in terms of global education, we are at a crossroads with how we should decide our future. Should we rely on other countries or should we take control of our youth and really start educating our people to change the world? I will not bother with questions of the future here, but the most important question we can ask ourselves is, “Is this grading curve worth the price we pay for education?” The answer is clearly no. There is no benefit whatsoever to a student failing a test and still passing due to a ridiculous grading curve.

It truly is one of the most puzzling things in education. For example, just last semester I got a 56 on a midterm but passed with a B. How does that happen? I apparently knew 56 percent of the information, but that merits that I finished way above the average. This sort of discrepancy is alarming.

The real problem with grading curves are the professors teaching the curved classes. I understand there is not much the individual professor can do to change the material, but what benefit is it to a student to have a test so difficult that no matter how hard he studies, he is sure to fail?

I think it is time students start revolting against the curve. The trouble is on the university’s end, but the acceptance that students have for curved classes is equally disturbing. Does anyone actually feel good getting a 50 on a test? Is that test really the best way to teach a student? This means that some students waste their money by paying professors to teach them nothing, yet curve them to pass courses.

Students do not learn if they get saved, and as a student myself, I would rather have a teacher tell me how I can be better than tell me “Oh, you hit average, you are fine.” This backwards mentality is destroying American education. When a student accepts his fate and rides the average to a B and when a professor makes a test so hard that not one student passes, you know there is a problem with the education system.

Professors have to be better. They have to teach better. They have to really prove to students that they will test them on what is reviewed in class and not just their backward examples of “critical thinking.”

Students have to be better. They have to behave better. We have to stop accepting the fact curves will save our college careers and start putting accountability on ourselves to learn material and actually try to be better.

I can guarantee that when that technical director lines up for a shot on a major motion picture, he would rather have been taught how to use the camera then how to critically apply the knowledge that a camera exists but now you need to find how many apples Jane had. Everyone needs to come together to understand the “Trouble with the Curve” applies to everyone’s future and not just passing college classes.

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