Assessment has been one of the main focuses in education for as long as I can remember. From elementary school onward, there was always some big state exam on the horizon, in addition to the nearly constant steam of other kinds of evaluations. Does this focus on assessment actual increase students’ abilities to learn? What about long-term retention of knowledge? Alfie Kohn suggests, citing many sources, that our obsession with assessment may actually be counterproductive. It causes students to focus on the wrong aspect of being in school. Rather than trying to “make the grade” students should be encouraged to enjoy the process of learning itself. The inherent enthusiasm for learning that most people have is not harnessed by a grades-centric approach. Kohn suggests that usually it is the instructors and administrators, not the students, that benefit most from a focus on assessment. Shouldn’t education at all levels ultimately be about the students? As Diana Oblinger lays out in “Making the Grade: The Role of Assessment in Authentic Learning,” traditional assessment methods miss the mark . Authentic assessment is a superior alternative to traditional assessment. It focuses on students’ learning of concrete, real-world skills and critical thinking over time. Memorization of facts and adherence to rubrics is not found in authentic assessment regimes. Ideally, at the end of such a program, students would be prepared to creatively handle complex situations. Putting such a program into practice is difficult however, given the current status quo and funding difficulties. Perhaps over time enrollment in institutions that do not focus on grades will become more commonplace, but for now, the focus on grades remains.