Curveball for Grading on a Curve


Professor Peter Froehlich, computer science teacher at highly competitive Johns Hopkins University, contractually grades “on a curve,” automatically marking the highest grade an A, with other grades trailing based on proximity to the best. One clever student tried to organize the whole class for December’s final exam, to coerce classmates to do no work — thus rendering the “highest” grade a zero, meaning an A for all. If just one student broke ranks, everyone except that student would get an absolute zero. Fortunately for the class, according to, they hung tough, and a shocked professor Froehlich honored his contract, handing out all As (but subsequently closing the loophole).

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