PRESENTATION:
Norm-referenced grading system is the system where the student’s grade is placed in relation to performance of the group. In this system, the instructor or the department usually determines the percentage of the students assigned each grade. In this system, a grade of 80 means the student performed better than or same 80% of the class (or group). Essential characteristic of norm-referenced grading system is that students are awarded their grades on the basis of their ranking within a particular cohort. Example: For the following two set of scores in one subject for the two sections of ten students each. A. ( 30, 40, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85 )

B. ( 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90,90, 95, 100 )
For the first class the student who got a score of 75 would get a grade of 80% while the second class the student score of 90 would get the same grade of 80%. The example above are illustrates one difficulty using the norm-referenced grading system. That problem are called problem of equivalency. The grade of 80% in the first class are represent the same achievement level in the second class with same subject.
The norm-referenced grading systems are based on the pre-established formula regarding the percentage or ratio of the students in the whole class. Norm-referenced grading, students may work individually, actually competition to achieve the standard performance to classify them into the desired grade range. For example, we have establish a grading policy where the top 10 percent of the students will receive a mark of excellent, in the class of 100 students will be 10 persons. Example:
A. Excellent = Top 10% of the class
B. Good = Next 20% of the class
C. Average, Fair = Next 30% of the class
D. Poor, Pass = Next 20% of the class
E. Failure = Bottom 20% of the class
Underlying assumption in norm-referenced grading system is the students are roughly equal in ability, the goal is to select the best performers in the group. Mostly the norm-referenced grading system is often used for screening the selected student population in the conditions. For example, in the Philippine setting, not all students in high school can actually advance to college or university because of financial problem, That the norm-referenced grading system can be applied.
Example: 100 students in the class, the mean score in the test are 70 with the standard deviation of 5. Norm-referenced grading table that would have seven-grade scales, such students scoring between plus or minus one standard deviation from the mean receives an average grade.
Raw Score
Percentage
Below 55
Fail
1%
55-60
Marginal Pass
4%
61-65
Pass
11%
66-75
Average
68%
76-80
Above Average
11%
81-85
Very Good
4%
Above 85
Excellent
1%
The class curve constitutes a norm reference based system. The curve is referred to as the normal distribution. The normal distribution is often considered a cornerstone of the statistical theory and application because of its ability to serve as a referenced in the grading system. Teacher use sometimes a bell curve (also called normal curve) assign marks base on the average of the student receive. The bell curve has a advantage of the teacher to know how many students in the class receive a particular grade. The bell curve set limited number of a student must receive an A, some receive a B, and some are fails.
The Bell Shaped Curve
Example of the bell shaped curve.
Using this curve as the rationale for distributing grades, you would give the top 7% of your students an A, the next 24% a B, and so on. Naturally, these percentages are arbitrary. You could just as well use 10%-20%-40%-20%-10%, or any other. Grades are assigned after rank ordering the scores.
Grade inflation is a serious problem in education – in which nearly all students receive high grades – is impossible in a rank-based system. Rank-based grading may push classes to their greatest performance potential by appealing to their competitive instincts. Rank-based grading shows how the student compares to other students, who all had the same instructor with the same lessons and homework during the same time period. If grades are meant to represent the student’s relative ability to learn, rather than to certify that the student knows and can do certain things, then rank-based grading shows clear superiority in methodology to non-curved methods of grading.
They work well in situations requiring rigid differentiation among students, where, for example, due to program size restrictions, only a certain percentage of the students can advance to higher level courses. As many corporations used rank-based evaluation measures, sometimes even related to termination such grading prepares students for the corporate world. By limiting success and recognition to the top-performing students, the grading system becomes a relevant measure of student performance in relation to their peers. Norm-referenced systems are very easy for instructors to use.
In small classes, the group may not be a representative sample. One student may get an A in a low-achieving section while a fellow students with the same score in a higher-achieving section get a B. It promotes competition rather than cooperation.
Rank – based grades become meaningless when taken out of the context of a given class or school. Possible modification:
When using a norm-referenced system in a small class, the allocation of grades can be modified according to the caliber of students in the class. One method of modifying a norm-referenced system is anchoring.
If instructors have taught a class several times and have used the same or an equivalent exam, then the distribution of test scores accumulated over many classes can serve as the anchor. The present class is compared with this cumulative distribution to judge the ability level of the group and the appropriate allocation of grades. Anchoring also works well in multi-section courses where the same text, same syllabus, and same examinations are used.
Modifying the norm-referenced system by anchoring also helps mitigate feelings of competition among students as they are not as directly in competition with each other.
Before Deciding on a Norm-Reference System, Consider:
What is the expected class size? If it is smaller than 40, do not use a norm-referenced system unless we use anchoring to modify the system. Is it important for students to work cooperatively in this class (ex., do we ask them to form study groups, or work on projects as a group). If the answer is yes, a norm-referenced system is not appropriate for the class.
IMPLICATION:
This norm-referenced grading system usually is the relation of the performance of a group. The norm-reference are usually use to the future because we use this grading system to identified the score of the students and the percentage of its. In my own suggestion we need to use the norm-referenced grading system but not mostly, because norm-referenced are promotes competition among the students or learners. Students may work individually because of the competition to achieve a good performance that classify into the desired grade range.

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