Should We Do Away With Grades?



A controversial thought in the education circles is grades. Although school grades have been given out for decades, some educationists and parents believe that grades are hurting learning. In fact, in some schools systems around the world, grades have already been removed. The teachers and parents there believe that without grades, students are now able to enjoy school.

So let’s take a look at the top reasons why educationists should seriously consider the removal of grades.

1. Grades limit learning
Strange as it may seem, grades do limit learning. From the student’s viewpoint, since an “A” is better than a “D” or “F,” there is minimal incentive to attempt more difficult projects - even if you are aiming for honors. After all, other institutions (college and employers) just look at the final grades, not the content of the lessons. This risk aversion, however, hinders the child’s development as they are not challenged anymore.

And sometimes, grades even limit what teachers wish to teach. It’s one thing for a single student to fail a subject, but if the whole class fails then the teacher’s job will probably be on the line. So some teachers do away with more difficult topics or just assign such topics as “extra credit,” preferring to keep their jobs safe at the expense of true student learning.

2. Grades become the focus of school
Another observation is that grades become the focus of students, not learning itself. You’ll notice this when students give their all to read and understand something if they know that there will be an exam. But if there is none, then students are not interested in any recommended readings or videos that teachers suggest. By the way, if I do not have any time to do all homework properly, the best way is to ask for a help like “Do my homework for me”.

Also, instead of trying to understand what is being taught, students are happy with just memorizing. If they have a high score but forget everything the following day, it is okay with most students. This, however, becomes a problem that many employers lament later on as there is a huge gap between knowledge and application.

3. Grades are not a good measure of learning
Taking account points 1 and 2 above, it is no wonder why many believe that grades do not adequately indicate whether a student has truly learned the subject. A student’s low grade may be affected by a number of factors such as family problems, constant distractions, and the terrible-teacher factor. On the other hand, a more lenient teacher, a great set of project partners, or very good memorization techniques can bring grades up, even though there is not much understanding.

This is why in the working world there are “unexpected” results. Some honor students are jobless since they didn’t truly understand what was taught to them; whereas, some mediocre students end up as managers and CEOs because they actually did learn, even if their grades did not reflect this.

Summary

Grades are still a big part of many school institutions. However, it is something that educationists and community leaders need to reconsider. If grades are hampering true learning and they do not really indicate understanding, shouldn’t they be done away with?

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