grade on a curve

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

The curve in the phrase is from the bell curve of a normal distribution.

Verb[edit]

grade on a curve

  1. To use a grading system based on the scale of performance of a group to normalize a right-skewed grade distribution (with more lower scores) into a bell curve, so that more can receive higher grades, regardless of their actual knowledge of the subject; to curve a grade.
    He asked the teacher to grade (the test) on a curve.