Expecting better grades than you get
I just gave back the first exam in my 200-seat intro class. 194 exams, median score 65 out of 100, with the median score almost exactly on the B-/C+ line. Which is all pretty normal for this class.
But since I have the “iClicker” for class polls, I asked the class on the day before the exam what grade they thought they’d get on the exam. The results:
So 30% thought they’d get an A, and 52% a B, so 82% thought they’d get an A or a B. The real number is about 50%. And only 2% thought they’d get a D or fail, whereas the real number is over 30%.
So now I’m curious: How much of the error is that they didn’t know how hard a college curve might be (many are frosh, and might think the average grade will be more like a B+), and how much is just the tendency for people who aren’t getting it to not know they’re not getting it?
My guess is that the errors among the D & Fail students is more the latter, and the errors among the B and C students is more the former, but I don’t know. I wish I’d asked them about their curve expectations ahead of time as well.
Perhaps I’ll dig through the actual individual student data and get some insight.