bell curve

Charles C Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Tue Aug 7 14:34:06 UTC 2012

And for many years now, in student parlance, "curve" in reference to grades has meant, simply, 'raise'.

Almost never does the hopeful query "Are you going to curve these grades?" mean "Will you be lowering my B- to a D?"


From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Jonathan Lighter [wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Monday, August 06, 2012 9:46 PM


Who dreamed up that idea of "curving" grades anyway?

What BS. (Well, maybe if you were a beginning teacher who had no idea what
a reasonable exam was like and nobody scored above a D.)

But otherwise, what BS.  Instead of the predicted bell curve, I often got
an inverted one: i.e., lots of F's and D's and a good number of B's and
A's. Diagnosis: an easy test for anybody who bothered to study even a


The American Dialect Society -

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