This report follows up a request dated 11/14/18 requesting input concerning the question of whether the grade system works or not. Using online research and my own experience, I will offer three reasons why the current grade system does not work. In the Conclusion, the report presents a possible solution.
For instance, the grading system is not effective because students are more worried about passing than learning. The one thing instilled in students growing up, is that you need to pass the class. Never once has a teacher tried to teach students something meaningful that will help them. If we don’t pass the class several punishments may happen. At home punishments depending on the family, staying back a grade, and a possibility of being made fun of. Then, here comes the “A”,”B”,”C”,”D”, and “F” grading system, giving us a basis of how to pass the class. It was never really about getting the “A” because that never mattered much. All the main focus was to get the “C” and pass the class. With just that “C” we avoided most punishments and the negative social outcomes. Personally I have had friends that were bullied because they failed a grade due to the grading system. Also, test weigh more the most in a total grade. For example, I had all “A’s” on the home works, projects, in class worksheets, and participation. But, then when I got a “C” on the one test at the end of the quarter, my grade went from an “A” to a “C”. After this happened, it ruined my motivation to learn and motivated self to do anything to just pass. It seemed there was no reason to try anything more than passing. And then, the uprising of focusing on passing sprung up. Eric M. Anderman, a professor of educational psychology at the Ohio State University says, “If results of assessments ultimately come down to a grade on a test or an assignment (eg, an “A” or an “F”), then students often will come to value the grade more than what they are actually learning“(Eric M. Anderman, 1). Clearly, the grading system is not effective because students are more worried about passing than learning.
Furthermore, the grading system is not effective because it does not show a student’s full capability. What a student can and cannot do is their capability. Whether it be they can code in 5 different languages, or all the way to being creative and making a story. These are all one thing they can do and not every single skill. In fact, the grading system shows someone’s capability in a very specific topic. At the end of every school year students take multiple end of the year exams. Now these test determine what have you learned in the course of a semester or year. The test then has a grade attached to it. These grades are very limited because they only show how “smart” you are based on a very specific subject taught in a timeframe. This can lead to kids feeling like they are dumb or not as smart as others. For example, a grade will not show what someone is doing wrong or what they are doing right. It is just an indication of how far you are in the class. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses in areas of education or life. Those should be shown with the grade. Also, many factors play in a role of taking test that make up most of our grades. Such as anxiety, ADD, and depression may affect how well a person does on a test. A grade should show all aspects, so the student may see his/her full capability. Robert M. Thorson, a professor of geology at the University of Connecticut says,” Bottom-up parents and classroom teachers need to treat each kid as unique. They know that standardized tests measure only a portion of student achievement” (Robert M. Thorson, 1). Thus, the grading system is not effective because it does not show a student’s full capability.
Moreover, the grading system is not effective because the government and teachers make it where failing is near to impossible. What is the main motivation for people to have a job? To gain money, and do anything that will appear to be helpful for themselves. We are selfish by nature and will resort to do anything for ourselves even if it has a negative effect on others. Students are a part of that negative effect due to teachers and the government wanting to look better and achieve more money. For example, Principals of a school may pressure teachers to give extra credit to a student so they pass the class. Then, the more kids that pass, the better the school looks. Making more money for everyone while, students continue to suffer from it. If we keep lowering our standards the average person will also lower to those standards. The higher a standard is the more work a person will put in. But, a teacher has the power to just change a grade and give a student an “A” and all is well. The state or even the school would not be against it. Even I have had teachers who basically gave so much extra credit opportunity that basically you have to try to fail the class. Also, I have had teachers who change student’s grades so they can exempt the midterm or final. In today’s time we need to become smarter not the opposite. According to a 2013 Tampa Bay Times article the government continues to make changes to the grading system. ” For the second straight year, the state Board of Education is contemplating possible revisions to the grading calculation because of concerns that the test scores they’re based on could make the schools look bad“ (Jeffery S. Solochek, 1). “Untenured professors often worry that giving low grades will harm their student evaluation scores. Even professors who have tenure might be concerned that handing out low grades puts their students at a disadvantage relative to their peers” (Sita Slavov, 1). After all, the grading system is not effective because the government and teachers make it where failing is near to impossible.
As a result, there are many flaws within the grade system. But, there are also just as many possible solutions. Therefore, the current grade system does not work. A way to fix that problem would be to have a county wide curriculum. For an example, what I mean by this is that the department of reading should make all of the test, assignments, and even the way to grade each. This will eliminate students from passing when they should not be able too. When this is in an effect for a year they will gather enough data on what worked and did not work. The department can play around with making certain things harder. Making things more challenging and getting students accustomed to it will in turn increase grades and test scores. Nothing should be given as a freebie but, it should be earned. Why is this so crucial towards the grading system? Teachers like to do stuff their way and it is much different than the teacher next door. This way everyone is at the same level and no one falls behind. Obviously there will be more classes for the advanced but, they will also stay at the same level as each other. The students will be our future creators. Why should we not challenge them to be better?
- Anderman, Eric M. ‘The Demand for High Grades Motivates Students to Cheat.’ Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2018. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, http://link.galegroup.com.db03.linccweb.org/apps/doc/UACACA407135209/OVIC?u=lincclin_bwcc&sid=OVIC&xid=b6ebfd6f. Accessed 26 Nov. 2018. Originally published as ‘Students cheat for good grades. Why not make the classroom about learning and not testing?’ The Conversation, 20 May 2015.
- Thorson, Robert M. ‘Grades Have No Meaning Without Nationwide Standards.’ Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2018. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, http://link.galegroup.com.db03.linccweb.org/apps/doc/RLSVZU023527464/OVIC?u=lincclin_bwcc&sid=OVIC&xid=0a0bdd3d. Accessed 26 Nov. 2018. Originally published as ‘Real Grades Would Show We’re Not All Above Average,’ Hartford Courant, 28 May 2015.
- Solochek, Jeffrey S. ‘SCHOOL GRADING TWEAKS ON TABLE; A task force will look to revise the system while achieving higher standards.’ Tampa Bay Times [St. Petersburg, FL], 30 June 2013, p. 1A. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com.db03.linccweb.org/apps/doc/A335494643/OVIC?u=lincclin_bwcc&sid=OVIC&xid=69c52715. Accessed 30 Nov. 2018.
- Slavov, Sita. ‘Grade Inflation Diminishes the Value of Top Grades.’ Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2018. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com.db03.linccweb.org/apps/doc/QJHHAK526906706/OVIC?u=lincclin_bwcc&sid=OVIC&xid=64ed49ab. Accessed 30 Nov. 2018. Originally published as ‘How to Fix College Grade Inflation,’ U.S. News & World Report, 26 Dec. 2013.