“Grades tend to diminish students’ interest in whatever they’re learning.”

“Grades create a preference for the easiest possible task.”

“Grades tend to reduce the quality of students’ thinking.”

I truly agree the three conclusions of the study on the effects of grading, and it is not surprising at all. We need to think about what benefits we’ve got from those grading systems in higher education seriously.

I’ve tried my best to receive the best grade for all courses through all my degrees. I believe my great GPA scores are one of my important achievements. However, I’m not sure that my high GPA exemplifies all that I can achieve, because I had to please my professors to get grades instead of pleasing my own creativity.

Undoubtedly without the grading system my education even my life would be much different. At this PhD level of my education, I’m able to have the chance to learn how to be a self-generated and self-motivated researcher without any threats from the grading system. The examples Lombardi mentioned show the opportunities for effective assessment of authentic learning that I would definitely try to utilize for my students in future.

7 Replies to “A+”

  1. I agree! Grades prevent students to grow the courage to think out of box and pursue their creativity. I think there is a lot of room for improvement in our current grading system. The first step we may need to take is to try to make the assessment process more individualized.

  2. Thank you for your post! I definitely agree! How might we be able to incorporate some opportunities for students in our classes to be able to explore and be self-motivated?

  3. I felt the same way in my secondary education where I strivers to be “the best” at everything. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college where I realized that I had been trying way too hard to force myself to do something that I was not enjoying. At this point in my life, I rebelled for the first time, stopped throwing for the track and field team, and joined a national fraternity. I couldn’t remember any other time that I felt so happy up to that point. Not to say I coasted through college, but I redesigned my priorities. I still graduated with above a 3.0, but that was on my own terms and through my own skill. I stopped trying to be the teacher’s favorite, and allowed myself to relax. I credit that to my desire to torture myself with five extra years of education to obtain my PhD, because I found for the first time that I had enjoyed my education.

  4. I definitely agree with you here! I have myself done what I needed to do in order to simply get the grade and that sometimes meant conforming myself to what the professor wanted and not necessarily what I wanted to do. The thought of not having a grading system is an interesting thought, and I wonder how that would look and what substitution for the grading system could there be…if any?

  5. So do I! I killed myself through all these 23 years to get A+ in all courses I have taken, however, when I come back I rarely remember those that I loaded into my brain and unloaded them in the exam. I agree that this is our responsibility as future instructors to change the grade-oriented to the learning-oriented educational system. But how? This is not clear to me how we should facilitate this change.

  6. Thanks for the post, Hana. I totally agree with you. We always want to have the best grades in our life even if it is not important for us. Also, our grades, particularly in our field, are mostly interpretation based because we are designing places and there is not a single truth in design even if we have certain standards for certain designs. If our designs are applicable and appropriate to standards, the rest is mostly up to the professor’s perspective or interpretation. To get a better grade, we needed to follow our professors’ directions most of the time when we were in undergrads and that situation affected our creativity for sure.

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