How we learn in today’s society really goes by grades. I believe grades are necessary but not during the semester or quarter. Not showing grades during the semester will motivate students on actually learning, rather than thinking about if there passing or not. Grades only cause students to take the easy way out and eliminate the challenging work and may also lead to cheating. Some students will even lower their self-esteem when they do not see a passing grade. Grades also ruin relationships with professors and students. If grades don’t play a huge role in school, students will be motivated on actually receiving an education rather than thinking about the letter or number.
Students will take the easy way out. Students who believe the subject is challenging for them, will start eliminating the difficult work and only do the uncomplicated parts. In the article, “From Degrading to De-grading,” Alfie Kohn states, “Students…adapt to an environment where good grades, not intellectual exploration, are what count,” (287). In other words, Kohn believes that students only care about the qualifying grade and not gaining knowledge about the subject. I agree with Kohn because when my mother sees my report card she only cares about the grades I have rather than knowing how I’m doing in that class.
Students will go to the extreme. Several students will do anything to get a good grade, such as cheating or copying off another classmate. In the article, “The Case of the Purloined Paper,” Brigid Schulte reports, “[A high school] student [who was the] government president was caught with 150 answer to a final exam hidden in his baseball cap,” (327). Schulte’s point is grades even pressure students who are role models to cheat. I believe if grades pressure a government president of the school then what makes us think other students aren’t pressured either. Cheating shouldn’t be happening in schools, but students are so stressed out of hearing grades are what count from many people, that they believe cheating is the way to go of getting that “A”.
Grades damage students’ self-esteem of intelligences. Many of us have gone through the road of believing we have “A’s” on that test or essay. However when we receive the results it turns out we didn’t perform as well as we expected. For example, this has happened to me many times with essays. I felt really confident about my work, but when the grades were posted, I got a grade I didn’t expect. At first I really beat myself over it and my self-esteem went down. I thought to myself, “you’re not smart” and I wouldn’t put any effort the next assignment. That’s where students make the mistake because the grades do not say everything about a person’s intelligence. Grade only represent the work you have completed.
Grades ruin relationships between professors and students. There’s time where a student feels they have not received the grade they were supposed to obtain. They believe that the professor was unfair to them. Now let’s see on the professor prospective. Many will doubt if the students are being nice to them in order for them to get a good grade. I don’t blame them; many will do it for the same reason, to get an “A.” Kohn emphasizes, “I’m tired of being suspicious when students give me compliments, wondering whether or not they just trying to raise their grade.” This teacher is questioning himself if students are nice to him because they are fond of him or simulating in order to get higher grade.
In my opinion professors should get along with students but when it comes to grading they should grade them fairly. I remember when I was a sophomore in high school, I had a teacher in which I took her class for two years. First year I failed her class both semesters with “F’s.” The second year I began being nice to her and having conversations. Most of my class time I wouldn’t do work because I was talking to her. When my report card came in the mail I saw she gave me an “A.” I was happy because I got the passing grade but I realize she wasn’t a fair teacher.
Grades lead to competition. Grades make students compete with each other instead of helping each other out. Kohn argues, “No matter how well all the students do, not all of them can get an A.” Kohn’s point is that only one student from the whole class could receive the highest grade. In my opinion this makes students compete with each other and be jealous of one another. Nevertheless, competition doesn’t only occur within students but also between schools. When taking the state exam it informs people how well students perform and compares them with other schools to see which school scores the best. This only creates students’ believing the other school is more inferior than their school.
Many people think grades are good because it keeps students alert. In the article, “Earn High Marks with Good Grading System,” Dr. Patricia Fiorielloi states, “Always keep in mind that grading has to be done honestly and the best students deserve the best grade.” So, this means there’s always a better student? However like I said before, grades do no good because they only remind students that another classmate is better than them. Some educators think competition is good for a classroom, others think the threat of grades keeps students on task. Does/do either of these create a good learning environment? I mean don’t we want ever student to go to college? If a students is not doing so well in school and constantly been reminded because of the grade, many of them tended to drop out.
What professors can do during the semester/quarter. When students enter to a class the professor should go over the work they will be doing during the semester. They should eliminate the grading rubric. This will let students focus on the work rather than calculating what has to be done to receive a good grade. When students submit the work, professors could give them comments on parts that are really good and parts they have to work in. When given a test the results would not be posted instead, students will receive worksheets on material they have had difficulty with. Also it would be a good idea to once a week allow students to choose a topic or problem they want to review. Permitting students to choose will make students feel more excited and interested over the subject. Allowing students to be more involve with the class will make them forget the grade. For example, I have a lab with my English class and we do not see a grade in till our report cards. The staff makes student have fun doing certain stuff and we don’t ask for a grade or anything. It seems that we work the same as when we do receive a grade.
Grades play a big role in our life of learning, but they don’t justify who’s smart and who’s not. I believe in grades when it comes to applying to college but not during the school session. Grades lead to temporarily knowledge and not knowledge one will have for their whole life time. Society hasn’t notices how grades are damaging, they only limit student learning. Cheating is not acceptable but students are lead to it because the symbol is what counts not the development of their brains. Students should be excited to learn and not be complaining about grades. There are only complaining because they are scared of receiving a bad grade and if their scared then they are scared of learning.