Monday, December 22, 2008


I hesitate to blog about this since one should not look a gift horse in the mouth. But it's been on my mind so I'll proceed.

I got a 3.9 in stats. I am stunned I got a 3.9 in stats. I'm almost ecstatic, except for the looming feeling that I don't deserve a 3.9 in stats. I went into the final with less than a 3.9 and knew I'd be thrilled if I could keep my pre-final grade, also realizing that it was more likely my grade would go down.

Day of the final came. As the TA passed out the test, she said "...don't hate me..." We laughed and said, "Why in the world would we hate you?" Then I started to read the test. It was tough. There were questions that I only spent cursory study time on, and a few I didn't understand at all. The problem: TA prepped us for test and prof wrote the test.

I did the best I could on the test. I tend to make dumb errors when doing math, but I went really slow, double-checked my work, etc. Once done, I convinced myself that I'd be okay with a lower grade than I'd hoped for going into the test.

So what happened? Did everyone bomb the final and they had to curve the grades dramatically*? That's the only thing that could've happened, other than me getting really lucky on my questionable answers. Or maybe it's just a flat out error on my grade. Even so, it makes me think about grade inflation that's happened in the last 10-15 years or however long. When I was in college the first time, I was thrilled to get A-range grades (it didn't happen very my first 2 years the only A grades I received were in The Art of Listening to Music and Asian-American History), and very happy with B-range grades. I wasn't a great student -- my priorities were on having fun -- but teachers just plain graded differently back then. They were not so generous with the 4.0s. Now that I've been back in school I've been surprised at how many people expect, even demand a 4.0.

Last quarter, when I was teaching, my advisor told me that a good average grade for a 100-level class was a 90%, so I curved my grades just a little to fit this mean. But I was surprised: 90% average for 100-level. I don't think this is how my professors graded way back when.

Anyway, I'm glad I got the grade I did...but if I were to grade my own performance and understanding of stats, I'd give myself a 3.4-3.5. And if this were 1990, I would've given myself a 2.8.

* Y'know, this could've been it. I sat with a group of guys who seemed to do really well in the course. During the test, one of them put his pencil down and then put his head on the desk. I found that reassuring.

Am I overthinking this? Of course I am. Moving on, promise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. I am in awe of you! Yay.

But what do you mean if it was 1990 you would have given yourself a 2.8? A)Were you not as studious?
B) WWU classes harder than UW doctorate classes?
C) Or are you saying that you were harder on yourself in 1990?

Am I over thinking this? Of course I am. That is why we are BFFs.