Students Outsmart the Smart

Johns Hopkins Computer Science prof Professor Peter Fröhlich grades his students on a curve: the highest score on the final gets an A and everyone else is graded accordingly.

Clever students in Fröhlich’s “Intermediate Programming”, “Computer System Fundamentals,” and “Introduction to Programming for Scientists and Engineers” figured out that this meant that if they all boycotted the exam, they’d all get As.

So they organized a boycott, milling around the hall outside the class where the exams were being sat, sternly reminding each other that if no one sat the exam they’d all get straight As, ignoring Fröhlich’s pleas to come and do the exam.

Fröhlich praised his students’ solidarity: “The students learned that by coming together, they can achieve something that individually they could never have done. At a school that is known (perhaps unjustly) for competitiveness, I didn’t expect that reaching such an agreement was possible.”


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