Grades…are they really an issue?

So after reading through these articles and watching the YouTube videos for this week it made me really think about grades and assessments. Is there really something wrong with using an A-F scale? Do teachers need to move away from giving grades and instead just give feedback and comments? Is focusing on removing grades a mask for addressing what the real issue is?

Did Craig just ask if discussion about the grading method may be masking a different issue? Yes, yes I did. I think that grades wouldn’t be such an issue if teachers were able to focus more on teaching to educate rather than teaching to get a score on an exam. Students have gotten into the habit of studying for only what is on an exam in hopes of getting the grade they want. If you take the testing mentality out of the curriculum and base grades on how much a student actually learns then I think grades wouldn’t be as big of an issue.

A second thing that I feel needs to be changed is the mentality of what grades mean. If students weren’t graded on how well they took an exam or two, but instead on how well they mastered a subject I think this notion of a C or lower is essentially failing could disappear. Instead think about grading as if  it was karate (I’m hoping I don’t butcher this analogy since I’ve never done karate in my life). In karate when the master feels you proven yourself and mastered something he gives you a different belt and this process repeats and repeats until you get a belt you desire. If you lose track or give up then you will be stuck with whatever color you’ve achieved so far, but if you stick with it and dig dip then maybe you will achieve the highest honor and get that black belt. Now imagine if grades were done the same way. By showing mastery in certain topics you get higher and higher and if you give up then you get whatever grade you are currently at. But, if you stick with it and really work than you can get that holy grail of grades, the A.

The reason I pose this method is because grades are an easy way for assessing, throughout a semester and after a course is complete, how well a student actually knows the information that was taught in the class. In addition, grades are useful for illustrating to people how well the student knows a subject without having to make sure a person writing a letter of recommendation mentions it.

Grades are an easy way for assessing how well a student actually knows the information that was taught in the class. In addition, grades are useful for illustrating to people how well you know a subject without needing a teach or a professor to write a letter of recommendation. Grades don’t come without their flaws, but I think if the mentality students have towards grades can be changed and teachers can focus on teaching to education students rather than teaching to an exam then I think the A-F scale continue to work.