Stop saying “Don’t grade Trump on a curve”

My objection is technical, not political,


The phrase “don’t grade him on a curve” has now eclipsed “It’s not who we are” as my absolute least favorite.

Folks who are saying it (think, Clinton supporters) are inadvertently flaunting their ignorance (which makes for great irony).

Speaking as a card-carrying academic, my objection is strictly technical.




Let’s get basic.  What does it mean to grade on a curve?


Simply stated, grading on a curve means to adjust all students upward to either:

(1) Center the class average at a specific score … say, 70 – which often corresponds to a letter grade of “C”.

(2) Adjust the highest test score to some high level (say, 100 points) and then add the same number of points to each student’s raw score.

Since the debate class is only 2 people (Donald & Hillary), option #1 — centering the class average –makes absolutely no sense.

Option #2 makes slightly more sense (with another ironic twist).

If Hillary is judged to score less than perfection, then, grading on a curve, her score would be adjusted up to 100 points.

Then, the difference between Hillary’s raw score and 100 would be added to Donald’s score.

If have no idea what meaning anyone would draw from Donald’s score.

Yep, it’s curved … and it’s higher than his raw score … but that’s because Hillary’s raw score was less than 100. … that’s an ironic twist, right?

I still can’t squeeze any meaning out of it.


I think that the Trump-haters are confusing “grading on a curve” with either “pass-fail” or –- a favorite of the left — “social promotion”.

Pass-fail just sets a minimum threshold score for getting a passing grade.

Students don’t have to score sky-high … they just have to score high enough to pass.

That may be what the haters are talking about.


Or, they may be taking about social promotion.

That’s the practice of advancing students to the next level of difficulty, regardless of how they perform.

Example: A student can’t do 2nd grade work, but gets promoted to 3rd grade anyway.


Again, so that you don’t hurt their feelings..

“Social promotion” could be what the haters are talking about.

But, I doubt it since they don’t give a whit about Trump’s feelings.

So, they’re probably talking about pass-fail.

Regardless, somebody please tell them to stop saying “grading on a curve”.

Please …


Technical reference:



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One Response to “Stop saying “Don’t grade Trump on a curve””

  1. chasqui Says:

    They are grading Trump against Trump and not against Secretary Clinton, other Republican primary contenders or other historical Republican nominees. Trump so far out of his depth that any comparison against any other historical candidate would not be fair. Thus, we can only judge him against his last performance, and that is the curve

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