Originally Posted by Strongwiller
But bell curving is good for students who are getting a really low grade. I don't no much about bell curving. Just making a guess based on the info u provided.
Not necessarily, unless a lot of other students are getting a low grade as well.
What happens is that a prof arbitrarily creates a normal curve by choosing a mean grade for his/her class - any grade they desire. They also set a standard deviation to make the curve a certain width, perhaps forcing a certain portion of it on the left hand side below F. At this point, the number of people who will receive each grade in the course has been decided, regardless of actual marks. Students are then slotted into the normal distribution with the average of the true marks now sitting at the arbitrarily selected mean. Any grades above that are placed higher on the curve, and grades below this are placed lower on the curve, in a fashion that creates a normal/bell shape.
Owing to this, if everyone does well, and you do unusually poorly, you will sit very far left on the normal curve. If the professor has shaped the curve such that the lowest grades are higher than your poor mark, you will benefit. If they have shaped the curve as a very wide bell, you will lose out.
Conversely, if the professor chooses a wide bell and low mean, and everyone gets a very high true
grade, people who do well can still do poorly or fail (example: if everyone's real mark is an A, and you get a B, and then the prof grades on a curve with a mean of C and a wide SD, all those A students will get a C, and the B student might fail).
Anyway, rambling a bit.. the point is that you're ranked compared to your peers, and the effect of being below the class average can either have either negative or positive effects entirely depending on how the curve is designed, and how many other people deviate from the norm, and by how much. It only helps people with poor grades relative to the rest of the class if the prof selects a narrow curve with a high mean.