If one were to listen in on a typical conversation between high school or college students there is a very good chance that the topic of disliking school or the work involved with going school will be mentioned. I am not writing this blog to argue that school is a bad idea, quite the opposite in fact. I think that today’s system for evaluating students through grades is extremely flawed. The point of going to school is about learning, not obtaining grades. Often students simply do the bare minimum to get by so that they can post the GPA that they “need” to get into college or get the job they want. This can lead to students cramming to finish projects/papers/study at the last minute. And when students cram they often to not actually learn the information. The competition for grades can also lead to cheating. Grades also are a distinct way or measuring people and there are people in the world who do not think and work the same as the majority. Therefore, these students whose minds do not work the same way are heavily penalized by the grades, affecting the entirety of their lives.
Yet, there is a reason that nearly every school in the nation uses a system based off grades. There are a few things that grades help accomplish that are quite necessary. In my opinion the top two reasons why grades have been deemed necessary are because; grades provide the basis for differentiating students and poor grades provide incentive for students to try harder. Here is an article arguing why grades are a necessary evil.
I would argue for a system based off of self-evaluation. This would be similar to a pass/fail system. Where at the end of the class the student would prepare for a meeting with his professor or a board of professors to present the important things they learned throughout the semester. They would talk about the most important take aways and what they enjoyed learning about the most. I know that there are schools such as Yale Law who do not grade their students and there have been positive results to these experiments. Personally, my favorite class I have ever taken as a student was while I was abroad and grades played almost no part in the class. But, I did all of my work and more because I was interested in the material and felt a responsibility and connection to my teacher and the class. I simply believe that grades are not the motivation that children/students need to try and improve themselves as human beings and prepare themselves for the world.