Is it Bell Curve or Idealism? Or something other?

I have been considering how we “grade” students a lot lately. There seems to be two differing schools on where a grade starts:

  1. The Idealistic Model – the student is starting with a perfect score, a “100” and losing points as he “misses” things. So every kid has an “A” which he may keep or lose.
  2. The Bell Curve Model – this school has each kid starting at “average” whether that is a “50” or a “75” or something like that. They then either gain stature in their grade by excelling above the “norm” or they fall below the mid-line and move toward “failing.”

“A” certainly seems in the ascendancy in most areas of education today. “B” seems mainly to be the nature of assessment in a skill that requires some innate talent, like art or music for instance.

What do you think? I see good and bad in both. Is there another way of approaching this whole train of thought? Just whatever you do in commenting, don’t grade me on anything other than a generous curve! J

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