Aspects That Affect The U.S. Grading System

2377 words - 10 pages

As a mother of three students and me being a student, it is evident that our current grading system is no longer efficient. The grading system that once might have worked is no longer an effective means of measure in the 21st Century. For us to overlook the thoughts of a new improved way of grading or evaluating students, only restrains our ability to put into place something more current and something more efficient. Something that could perhaps empower our students to perform at greater levels, or something that could perhaps embolden our students to want to learn. Relying on the traditional way of grading, can actually be more harmful than helpful when it comes to empowering our students and calculating or measuring their growth.
Let’s start by first examining the letter system currently used for evaluating or grading students. Letter grades, A through F, are assigned based on a combination of associated and non-associated assessments of skills. “A” being excellent or good, “B” meaning better than average, and F meaning poor. These letter grades take into account many non-academic elements such as behavior, participation, extra credit, and even attendance. A teacher can put anything they wish into a students’ grade. We are taught, at a very early age, both by educators and by parents, that if we are an “A” student or we get “good grades” we are “good people” or if we earn “bad grades”, we are “bad” or inferior to others. Thinking back to my childhood, going to school each and every day, not because I wanted to or because I enjoyed it, but because I had to. I can remember just trying to get through with anything better than an “F”. Anything better than an “F” meant I was doing okay and was going to go to the next grade, eventually I would be done and graduate. I wasn’t there to learn, I was there because I had to be and learning wasn’t fun or exciting by any stretch of the imagination. This warped and misleading belief we are taught is defeating the real purpose of education.
First and foremost, traditional grading does not accurately measure what each individual child has learned. With all this unrelated “stuff” thrown into the mix, what does this tell us about a child’s knowledge or what he has learned? It might tell us that he participated in class, or he was well behaved, or maybe he turned in his assignments on time. Behavior for example, has nothing to do with what a child has learned, yet it is part of their overall grade. Kevin Sieff writes in his essay “Report Cards Won’t Be As Easy As A, B, C Now,” “A letter grade is a short-lived triumph…It doesn’t tell us what we need to know about a student’s progress” (A1). All these non-academic factors that are part of the overall grade, isn’t a true depiction of what a child really knows. Mary Gordon states in her essay “Are Traditional Grades a Thing of the Past?” “The life skills that are used as part of the letter grade, which are important, doesn’t necessarily reflect a student’s...

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