Many pundits are giving Donald Trump extra points by grading him "on the curve." All grades should be based on the same rubric or standard. Let's review when and when not a curve should be implemented. If you give a test and the highest grade is 70, your test was either too hard or did not properly address the material. One option is simply to throw out that test and the scores. Another is to curve the scores by boosting the top score near to 100. All the lower scores get boosted equally. In a case like this you might just add 30 points to every score.
When there is just one single score that is near the top,
that score rules the curve. The person who achieves that top score is
the one who "wrecks the curve." Now, you may add points to everyone's
score, but you cannot add much. You cannot add more than that top score
would require to be perfect.
The fact that Hillary Clinton comes
into a forum or debate better experienced and better prepared than
Donald Trump does not imply the necessity to implement a curve. If
Hillary hits an A- let's say, a 95 that grade does not translate to
"curving" Trump's grade much higher than what he achieved. He gets
graded according to the same rubric/standard where A is the top. You
can curve the grades and boost Hillary's grade to 100. If Trump made 70 he can be boosted to 75. It is still a C. It does not
mean that for showing up and making remarks he gets an A- because we
are "grading him on a curve,"and he is so less experienced and prepared than she. We are grading both on a rubric. We are
using a standard.
Now, if we are talking about differentiating grading (i.e. the standard) because one
participant is advantaged over another, that is another matter
entirely. But do we want to differentiate evaluations for the potential
leader of the free world? There is a lot that is unfair going on
here. Donald Trump is not the one being treated unfairly. He has been
provided a wide berth and a lot of cushion.
So before the debates start, gathering lessons from this badly managed forum,
let's not get all wobbly on how we "grade on the curve." We use it as
needed when the entire test has somehow failed. We do not use it when
one participant has excelled. We do not use it when one person has wrecked
the curve. One person. Like this one.