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LizJ's picture

grades

Someone in the last class mentioned that "grades have become an end rather than a means." I completely agree with this statement, but still find it hard think of other ways students can be evaluated. Grades are supposed to be a tool to give us a better understanding about where we are within our education, but once that tool becomes the only thing of focus then how are we as students supposed to grow? I know when I was in high school, when there were multiple assignments due each day and all of them got a grade, I stopped caring about what I was learning about and did just what I thought the teacher was looking for. And all for just getting a good grade. Once again though, I'm still stuck as to how we can change that "good grade philosophy" (especially for secondary school students) or how we can change the way people are graded at all. Because, at the end of the day, we do need some sort of indication on how we're doing in our education. A few people mentioned getting rid of grades all together, maybe having written critiques from teachers. I think this is an interesting idea and could possibly work but I don't think it's very realistic. There is already a huge lack of teachers needed in the United States and all around the world, and some teachers have many more than one class with numbers of students reaching 40 per class in some public schools. How are we to expect these teachers to give descriptive progress reports all the time instead of a grade when it would be much more time consuming on their already hectic lives. I'm open to more suggestions as to how we might be able to alleviate this problem or at least change the way grades are used and perceived.

We live in a society where there is a huge amount of weight placed on grades, as education is a highly competitive system. And sometimes I can't help myself from going into that sociological part of my head that keeps saying "What are grades anyway? Aren't they just a social construction? But if they're a social construction, doesn't that mean they're now real because society has made them real? And if they're real, can we really live in a society that so heavily pushes higher education and not have grades at all?" Then there's the grading policy for this class where we're not getting grades, but really we still are. There are some people who need a grade to really understand what they're learning. Are we supposed to fault them for that? Shouldn't we be open to all types of evaluation. Is it really fair to say "here's a 3.3 cause you did what you needed to do, but it still wasn't that special"? Even Paul said that all people don't learn or achieve in the same way and ranking everyone on a single scale of grades won't do anything for their education. But what if one of the ways some needed to learn and achieve way through grades? And then I think of what someone else said in that class that "it's the business of education to change society." Ok... so how? While education has developed and evolved over time, there have been grades for a long long time. Are we going to have to wait another hundred years before something different starts to come out of the woodwork or do we need some sort of major grades revolution? I don't know.

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