I'm trying to find the name of a short story from (probably) the 70's or 80's. Most likely in Analog or Asimov's Science Fiction. It was about a student in a school. If he tested high enough, he was exempt from the end of year random killing. The protagonist lets his grades fall, and is put in the random killing. He has figured out a pattern to the killings, and tells his friend what position to be in when entering the machine. Alas, he was wrong in his assumption as to the order...

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This sounds a lot like a 2016 movie called The Thinning (Starring Logan Paul and Peyton List). If I recall correctly it's based off a book but I have no idea what it's called. It is about a couple of kids in a dystopia where they take a test and the kids who scored low get killed by the government. I forget exactly how it plays out but might be a start.

  • It’d be a good idea to add some details about the movie to explain why the description might match the one in the question.
    – Obsidia
    May 1, 2018 at 1:52
  • The movie is what made me recall the story. It IS similar, but not the same... May 1, 2018 at 10:31
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    From a quick check, I do not see anything saying this was based off a book or short story. So I presume it was based off an original script.
    – NJohnny
    May 1, 2018 at 10:38

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