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Plus: Grading Systems

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When I was in school, A+ was the best grade one could get. 90 was an A-, 95, an A and 100 = A+. Of course, grading systems vary depending on where you grow up. Here are some interesting facts about grading systems used around the world.

Denmark

In 2007, Denmark replaced its age-old 13-scale grading system with a simpler, 7-step-scale system. They did this to begin to conform to a European standard called the ECTS scale, but also because, hey, 13 possible grades makes for a lot more work for teachers. Here's how the old 13-scale used to work:

13 - given for the exceptionally independent and excellent performance.
11 - given for the independent and excellent performance
10 - given for the excellent but not particularly independent performance
9 - given for the good performance, a little above average
8 - given for the average performance
7 - given for the mediocre performance, slightly below average
6 - given for the just acceptable performance
5 - given for the hesitant and not satisfactory performance
03 - given for the very hesitant, very insufficient and unsatisfactory performance
00 - given for the completely unacceptable performance

Those gaps you see between 00 & 03, 03 & 5 and 11 & 13 help signify variations between those grades. Anything under a 6 is a failing grade, while a 13 is rarely given. 00 is just about impossible to achieve, reserved for truly incompetent performance. At exams, 00 is given to students attending, but who cannot answer a single question. According to this post, "one of the reasons why the 13 scale was replaced with the 7 scale was because of the grade 13. 13s are only given to the students that have gone above and beyond the stated curriculum. To gain it you needed to know more than what was taught in class. It required truly independent study. As none other EU countries used grades above perfect understanding of the curriculum, 13 were untranslatable to other grading systems."

Ukraine

In the Ukraine, they've gone in the opposite direction. Whereas they used to use a simple Russian 5-step grading system, in 2000, they introduced the 12-step grading system which goes like this:

12 - given only for significant achievements or exceptionally creative work
11 - the equivalent of an 'A' in the U.S.
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1 - complete fail

Australia

In the land down under, many schools and universities use a "band" grading system which looks like this:

90–99.95% BAND 6
80–89% BAND 5
70–79% BAND 4
60–69% BAND 3
50–59% BAND 2
0–49% BAND 1

How about where you live? What kind of grading system is common? Regardless of what marks you got in school, all you _flossers are A+s in our book! Have a great weekend.

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Words
'Froyo,' 'Troll,' and 'Sriracha' Added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
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Looking for the right word to describe the time you spend drinking before heading out to a party, or a faster way to say “frozen yogurt?" Merriam-Webster is here to help. The 189-year-old English vocabulary giant has just added 250 new words and definitions to their online dictionary, including pregame and froyo.

New words come and go quickly, and it’s Merriam-Webster’s job to keep tabs on the terms that have staying power. “As always, the expansion of the dictionary mirrors the expansion of the language, and reaches into all the various cubbies and corners of the lexicon,” they wrote in their announcement.

Froyo is just one of the recent additions to come from the culinary world. Bibimbap, a Korean rice dish; choux pastry, a type of dough; and sriracha, a Thai chili sauce that’s been around for decades but has just recently exploded in the U.S., are now all listed on Merriam-Webster's website.

Of course, the internet was once again a major contributor to this most recent batch of words. Some new terms, like ransomware (“malware that requires the victim to pay a ransom to access encrypted files”) come from the tech world, while words like troll ("to harass, criticize, or antagonize [someone] especially by provocatively disparaging or mocking public statements, postings, or acts”) were born on social media. Then there’s the Internet of Things, a concept that shifts the web off our phones and computers and into our appliances.

Hive mind, dog whistle, and working memory are just a few of the new entries to receive the Merriam-Webster stamp of approval. To learn more about how some words make it into the dictionary while others get left out, check these behind-the-scenes secrets of dictionary editors.

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How New Words Become Mainstream
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If you used the words jeggings, muggle, or binge-watch in a sentence 30 years ago, you would have likely been met with stares of confusion. But today these words are common enough to hold spots in the Oxford English Dictionary. Such lingo is a sign that English, as well as any other modern language, is constantly evolving. But the path a word takes to enter the general lexicon isn’t always a straightforward one.

In the video below, TED-Ed lays out how some new words become part of our everyday speech while others fade into obscurity. Some words used by English speakers are borrowed from other languages, like mosquito (Spanish), avatar (Sanskrit), and prairie (French). Other “new” words are actually old ones that have developed different meanings over time. Nice, for example, used to only mean silly, foolish, or ignorant, and meat was used as blanket term to describe any solid food given to livestock.

The internet alone is responsible for a whole new section of our vocabulary, but even the words most exclusive to the web aren’t always original. For instance, the word meme was first used by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene.

To learn more about the true origins of the words we use on a regular basis, check out the full story from TED-Ed below.

[h/t TED-Ed]

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