In Poland, there is a test called the Matura. If you want to read about this test and find out what it is, go to this Wikipedia page. Really, all you need to know about this test is that it is a high school exit exam utilized in many European countries. This test works in many countries, however, the scores on this test are interesting when you look at the distribution from Poland.
Looking at a distribution for the Polish Language section of this test, you may notice something interesting:
Notice that anomaly at the 30 percent point? What could possibly be going on to cause that?
Guess what the score needed to pass a section of the test is. Take one guess…
If you guessed students need a 30% to pass the test, you would be completely correct. The test is failed if a student scores less than 30% of the possible points. This explains the anomaly on the graph. This shows that the graders of this test are being sympathetic to students who score just below the Pass/Fail threshold.
The Polish Language section of this test is a completely subjective portion of the test. The graders themselves have very high influence on the scores the students get and it is the graders discretion as to what score they give. This can be seen that it is because of the subjective nature of this section when you compare the language section to the mathematics section:
On the left you see the language scores, on the right you see the math scores. It is obvious which of these scores is the more subjectively scored. While the math scores are by no means a normal distribution, they are more normal than the other section’s scores. Math is a harder section to give a subjective score and to edit points earned without a real reason. This is evident in this graph.
All in all, this is an interesting look at tests and how they can and are graded. Any subjective portion of a test can be either improved or hurt by a grader.