The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Perfect Score

Last night I got back the paper that I wrote for my sociology class. I got a perfect score: 100. This is the second 100 I've gotten this semester. The other 100 was for a revision of a French composition.

When I told a friend/teacher about my 100 on the French comp, she got very, very indignant. She was of the opinion that for a written assignment, 100 should be unobtainable. It was not, she said, a math test. There was always room for improvement. Ergo, 100 is not an option.

I disagreed with her. Perhaps, perhaps (yes, I do like to repeat words and then italicize the second appearance), if one was writing a short story or something like that. But for a language learning class, I think that one can write a perfect paper. One's work should not be compared to "French literature." That should never be the expectation. So if you've met all the goals of the composition (and done them brilliantly, I might add), shouldn't you be able to get a 100?

I feel the same way about my sociology paper. I did a very good job on that. The teacher provided us with goals. I met each and every one of them. And you know my writing was flawless and entertaining, even though it was about the decline in the American Jewish population between 1990-2000. But boy, I tell you, I made that topic HOP. So again, why shouldn't I get 100 for that paper?

My final argument on the whole 100 debate concludes with this: Why have a possible score of 100 if it is impossible to achieve? Doesn't make any sense.

I'm interested to hear what you think, as long as you realize that if you don't think the same exact thing that I think, you're wrong. So if you're okay with that, leave a comment daring to contradict me. Or leave one so we can bask together in our mutual rightness and point and laugh at how wrong my other friend is for her opinion.


  • *scews courage to sticking place*
    I don't think the same exact thing that you think.

    Actually, I think our thoughts are probably pretty similar. I just wanted to see the look on your outraged face. Which of course I didn't. So that was pointless.

    Obviously not even your silken prose is without possibility of improvement, but they're only expecting a certain standard. So long as a 100% score is understood as meaning you met 100% of the requirements, rather than that you wrote the 'perfect essay', then that's fine.

    By Anonymous Fyse, at 1:44 PM, April 21, 2005  

  • The statement "why have a possible score of 100 if it is impossible to achieve?" is so logically perfect how could anyone argue against it?

    It says it right there, "POSSIBLE" score, not impossible score.

    In my mind 100 should be if you've exceeded the teacher's expectations by a significant amount.

    A 95 would mean you exceeded the teachers expectations, but if they read something that really exceededs their expectations, then why not give them a 100 to show that someone totally aced something?

    Never give a 100...what a crock.

    By Blogger Wheelson, at 12:08 AM, April 22, 2005  

  • Like usual, I would have to agree with you, Oz. The score of 100 does not necessarily mean that a written piece cannot be improved upon. It simply means that the requirements to obtain the 100 points have been successfully met.

    By Blogger Whimsy Chick, at 4:16 PM, April 22, 2005  

  • Good! I'm glad that we can all bask together in our mutual rightness (I love using the word "bask"). Except for possibly Fyse, who seems like he's hedging his bets a little there. But because I'm nice, I'll let him bask (used it again!) with us anyway.

    By Blogger Oz, at 10:39 PM, April 22, 2005  

  • When I was a kid, I used to get pissed off because I could never get a 100% on standardized tests. I would work my ass off and always get back a 99.99%

    It wasn't until High School that I realized that I was the 0.01% that was keeping me from getting a 100%--because I was part of the statistical group.

    Teachers should explain that crap before their students turn into John Nash. Now I can't drive my car without seeing mathematical equations in the raindrops on my windshield.

    By Blogger nicholasjcoleman, at 10:42 AM, April 23, 2005  

  • Well, much as I'd hate to be accused of slavish devotion, I have to say that I agree with you 100% on this one. Really. As you said very succinctly, you fulfilled the criteria stated for the grade and that is what the whole thing is about. I'm curious...does the teacher grade on a curve? Maybe that would account for the 'sour grapes.' ~;^)

    By Blogger foxymama, at 4:30 PM, April 25, 2005  

  • Hey Nick, welcome! I'm not sure how sorry to feel for you if you were scoring in the 99th percentile LOL. I don't remember taking tests that were scored that any time until I took the ASFAB (and that's a long story and too shocking to tell here).

    Foxy, Hey! You're still alive! Great! Hmm, so I'm not sure which teacher you're referring to when you ask about grading on a curve, but none of the ones mentioned in the post really do that--at least, not for compositions. And by the way, I love slavish devotion!

    By Blogger Oz, at 4:48 PM, April 25, 2005  

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