Thinking marginally about grades

A student asked me today if I could not move her grade, since she was only .05% shy of making the cutoff for the next highest grade.

I noted that for any such cut off point, there are always going to be students near the margin, and by moving her up, it would not change that fact: it would just put a new student just below the margin.

The error is the same as basketball pundits who think the problem of teams narrowly missing the NCAA tournament can be fixed by "expanding the field"! (Well, expanding it to every single Division I team would fix it!)


  1. An ancap would suggest she find a student with .05 to spare and trade for it.

  2. Don’t you mean Coasean, Ken?


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