In The Top Percentile But Not The Top Percent

| Melbourne, VIC, Australia | Learning | May 9, 2017

(My year 10 maths teacher is rather strict, but still a very nice teacher. She has a rule in grading tests and exams: the student with the highest mark in a test automatically gets 100%, and all the other tests are graded out of their score. So for instance, if they get 46 out of 50, then they get 100%, and every other person’s mark is calculated as a percentage of 46. I am good at maths, and do reasonably well but I don’t take the tests seriously and slack off for most of the year. Meanwhile at least two other students are actively fighting each other for the top mark, bragging about their results and many, including the teacher, are expecting one of them to get the highest score in the end-of-year exam. The exam rolls around and I finally study my butt off for it. My teacher approaches me at lunch one day afterwards.)

Maths Teacher: “[My Name], I need to talk to you.”

Me: “Yes?”

Maths Teacher: *pause* “You got 93% on the exam.” *eyes me suspiciously*

Me: *pleased with the score* “Okay?”

Maths Teacher: “You got the highest mark.” *continues to eye me suspiciously*

Me: “Okay…?”

Maths Teacher: *stares*

Me: “So… does that mean I get the 100%… or…”

Maths Teacher: *firmly* “No, I gave you 99%.”

Me: “But you said—”

Maths Teacher: “I don’t think you earned the 100%. And neither do you. You get 99.” *leaves*

Me: *trying not to laugh* “Okay.”

(I didn’t argue about it further as I did slack off all year and I felt she had a point. I took the 99%).

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