It is evident in current schooling systems that grades have a large impact on a child’s future. For example, it is a known fact that all colleges create a standard of acceptance, which revolve around factors such as grade point average, the qualities of one’s essay, the commitment to a sport or community service, and more. However, while this specific example concerns only college, in actuality, even elementary schools judge the precision and fidelity of tests, homework, quizzes, and projects. With this knowledge, not only students, but parents and teachers are beginning to question whether or not this harsh grading system is beneficial or destructive.
For example, one major idea against the degrading point system is that it removes a student’s motivation. To be more specific, instead of learning to gain more knowledge on a specific topic, they feel the need to memorize in order to receive high grades. High school English teacher and instructional coach, Chris Crouch, claims that, “By focusing and stressing grades as parents and teachers, we force our children to believe that the destination is more important than the journey.…Many kids feel pressured to cut corners, sacrifice ethics, and take easier courses, all in an effort to achieve better grades instead of better learning.” The goal no longer becomes excelling in an academic matter, and rather finding the quickest method of completing work. With this in mind, the lesson that teachers attempt to send more often than not goes unappreciated. While it is true that in some cases, point and letter systems do push a student’s motivation to be the best, in reality, this solely encourages jealousy among a class. As students aim to complete their work in the shortest amounts of time possible, they lose the real meaning of education, which can be seen as contradicting to the current system.
Furthermore, a grading system can be viewed as inflated as well as poor communicators in a family and scholastic environment. For instance, if a child receives a poor grade for a certain subject, parents and teachers become concerned. However, this fact may simply indicate the disinterest of the topic to the student. “Parents rely on grades to communicate their child’s progress,” Crouch professes, “Students feel pressured to get ‘good’ grades and work hard.” This cycle relentlessly continues without any interruptions, pushing students to impress their parents and teachers while ignoring their own well-being. Rather than studying to understand a subject matter, students work to please those around them. Though this fact may not remain true for all, it is a common theme in a scholarly setting. Based off of the success or failure in a class, grades have the ability to define a student effortlessly and heartlessly with number and letters, regardless of one’s life outside their schools.
Finally, grades have the capability of reducing the quality of one’s thinking. For instance, a student, especially in the current age of constant access to technology, can look for answers to virtually an question they have on various search engines. Doing so eliminates the genuine process of work and allows them to locate any vital information without having to understand what they find. Moreover, one major issue that almost all students possess today is believing everything they read on the internet. Though some realize that the data and facts they find could be incorrect, they utilize it anyway to save time and trouble of finding the correct answers. An example of this general fact was found during an experiment taken in 1987 between two groups of students. Collected data indicated that students told that they would be “graded on how well they learned a lesson had more trouble understanding the main point of the text than did student who were told that no grades would be involved” (Grolnick and Ryan, 1987). Students center their focus merely on the quality of their gradebook instead of grasping the meaning of the subject.
Thus, with the complex and demanding grading technique found in current school systems, students alter the definition of learning to one unique to their circumstance. Understanding a topic becomes an annoyance rather than a positive experience vital for the future. With the introduction of factors including technology, students are able to find ways to maintain a high enough grade to satisfy themselves, their parents, and their teachers, yet also eradicate the necessary process of mastering a topic. Though this situation presents itself as one difficult to revise and amend, students are now facing an exhausting future with a lessened knowledge and motive. Therefore, a system that involves inspiration to learn is necessary to obtain a student’s interest and focus.