Author Topic: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished  (Read 25876 times)

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Offline Superhorn

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Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« on: February 17, 2009, 01:13:02 PM »
  Recently, there was an article in the New York Times on the rampant cheating in public schools, colleges and universities today, and how students will do anything to get high grades.
  But based on my own experiences from elementary through graduate school, and much thought, I am convinced that grades are a dangerous and pernicious thing, and should be abolished. Or at least, they should not be nearly as important in college,graduate admissions, and that grade point average does not necessarily indicate how good a student is.
  The premise of grades is false, and the notion that the harder you work, the higher your grades will be is not necessarily true. Grades do not  necessarily indicate how intelligent a student is, how much academic ability he or she has, or REAL knowledge, nor do they show creativity and original thinking.
 Often, they show nothing but how many correct answers a student was able to memorize and parrot back on tests. I suppose that a certain amount of rote memorization is necessary in school, but grades should not have to follow students for years and jeopordize their chances of college or graduate admission. Just because student X has a higher GPA than student Y does not necessarily mean that student X is more deserving of admsiion to a prestigious or not so prestigious school.
  And to have a certain GPA as a prerequisite for admission is wrong.
  Some students may be very deserving of admission, yet not have high enough grades. And grade inflation, which is not uncommon, makes it easy for students who are mediocre or worse to have what looks likes impressive grades.
   And not only does grade inflation exist, but its exact opposite happens,too.  In courses where there are no cut and dried correct answers, grading is often highly arbitrary and subjective. Sometimes, a student can be very bright and hard working, yet teachers or professors can show extremely poor judgement in grading, and give low  grades for outstanding work.
  In such courses, grading is often a crap shoot. Yet if the teacher shows poor judgement in grading, the STUDENT is blamed.
  A student may have absolutely no control over the grade he or she gets in a course, and work extremely hard, yet receive only a lousy C, or even a D, while other students in the class who put no more than a tiny fraction of the effort in,and have minimal academic ability will get As and Bs.
   What should we do ?  Instead of assigning students grades which could jeopordize their academic futire, and thus  chances for success in life, have teachers evaluate their students work instead, and point out where their work could be improved and also tell them when their work is good.
  Admission to college,universities, graduate,law and medical school would be based on tests of a student's knowledge and ability in their proposed areas of study, rather than assigned grades,as well as written essays and recommendations, which are already factors in admission.
  Or if grades are retained, allow for students whose grades are not as high as they actually deserved to be admitted if they genuinely show the merit and have exceptional academic ability.
  I have found in my own experiences in school that the way some teachers and professors grade can be the equivalent in the academic world of medical malpractice. Can you imagine doctors blaming their ownpatients for THEIR blunders ?  This can happen in schools.

Offline Cato

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2009, 04:09:03 PM »
As a teacher with nearly 4 decades behind me, please let me tell you that grades are indeed evil, but necessary.

In my experience, and as a general statement, I will asseverate that you will cause the unions undue joy by abolishing grades: less work, and no accountability!  Win-Win!  You will motivate the morons and the indolent among students to remain so and even to deepen their moronic and indolent natures.

Grades, if they are honest, are a type of reward, a recognition that the student has shown achievement.  If that makes the morons and the lazy feel bad about themselves, good!  They should feel bad about themselves!  They need to get on the ball and push themselves to higher levels!

We are already seeing the terrible result of the envy against success, the jealousy of achievement, and even the hatred of ingenuity, nationwide on many levels.  This situation will only lead to more mediocrity and long-term decline.

Grades become evil when they are taken to ridiculous lengths (GPA's to 3 decimal places   >:D   ), based on stupidly designed tests (usually anything from government bureaucrats  >:D    >:D ) and are only "multiple-guess"  (  >:D   >:D   >:D  ) instead of essay.




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Homo Aestheticus

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2009, 04:26:06 PM »
They  should  feel bad about themselves! They need to get on the ball and push themselves to higher levels!

But what if the problem is not a lack of will on the part of the student ? 

Some commentary on all this:

http://federalist.wordpress.com/2007/01/19/return-of-the-bell-curve/



« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 04:28:26 PM by The Unrepentant Pelleastrian »

Offline Cato

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2009, 04:44:56 PM »
But what if the problem is not a lack of will on the part of the student ? 

Some commentary on all this:

http://federalist.wordpress.com/2007/01/19/return-of-the-bell-curve/





Then learn to live with your limitations, without jealousy against others, without tearing them down for being more talented.

Read my above comments carefully: willful moronism, willful laziness can always be changed. 
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Homo Aestheticus

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2009, 04:55:13 PM »
Just to clarify: I am NOT in favor of abolishing the grading system.

Offline Cato

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2009, 05:15:49 PM »
I give simple A's and B's, etc.  I find it ridiculous to grade one student as 93 and another as 94 and imagine that anything logical has just happened! 

That is why number grades make me want to throw organic apples at Burger King customers!   $:) 
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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2009, 09:54:06 PM »
If I were required to grade posts, I'd have to give the original post a C-.    ;D

The argument seems to be that since grades are sometimes inaccurate, there should be no grades.  What would be more unfair to bright students than giving no credit for their accomplishment?  Certainly standardized tests have their place, but basing the evaluation of students entirely on a set of standardized tests would penalize students for any unconventional program of study.  It would necessitate "teaching to the test" and cookie-cutter curricula. 


Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2009, 10:44:34 PM »
How about abolishing schools altogether? It's obvious that children cannot be controlled, so why bother? Or maybe we could revert to the older methods when a child's gravest offense was coming late to lesson (as opposed to the bring-a-gun-to-school-and-shoot-everybody modern variety). Na, too difficult i guess.

Offline Cato

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2009, 05:25:51 AM »
If I were required to grade posts, I'd have to give the original post a C-.    ;D

The argument seems to be that since grades are sometimes inaccurate, there should be no grades.  What would be more unfair to bright students than giving no credit for their accomplishment?  Certainly standardized tests have their place, but basing the evaluation of students entirely on a set of standardized tests would penalize students for any unconventional program of study.  It would necessitate "teaching to the test" and cookie-cutter curricula. 



Amen!   0:)

The bold comment in bold type highlights an ancient fallacy: one may not take any action to solve a problem because you have your own problems to address first.

While that can be true in minor affairs, it is basically an excuse for doing nothing.
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline Florestan

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2009, 05:38:01 AM »
Grades are a trifle, I say abolish the police! After all, they solve only a fraction of their cases; they sometimes arrest the wrong people; they sometimes abuse their power; they sometimes receive bribes to close their eyes on a case; they sometimes are utterly incompetent; they sometimes display plain bad-will; in short, they have all the flaws expected of humans. Why should they bother anyone anymore with their obsolete insistence on abiding to the laws? Power to the people!  ;D
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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2009, 06:07:55 AM »
My stepson is in Grade 5, and I think the way they do the report cards are ridiculous.  They mark their "report" cards on a 1 to 4 scale (1 - Needs improvement, 2 - Adequate, 3 - Very good, 4 - Excellent)

They get a mid-year and end of year report card.  The teacher explains that most kids are never given fours, only a mixture of twos and threes, especially in the mid-year.  Then, in the end of year report card, you'll see a few more threes, and perhaps a few fours!

I wonder if this is just another part of coddle your kids to death era we live in, where all kids have to be treated and marked the same, so as not to upset some of the kids.  Kind of like on Valentine's Day at school nowadays (Students can indeed decide whether or not to hand out Valentine's Day cards.  However, if they decide to do so, they must exchange Valentine's Day cards with all the particiapting students, not just a select number of students. ::) ::))  Well, Valentine's Day is ridiculous anyways, come to think of it. ???

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2009, 06:38:16 AM »
Just yesterday I was having coffee with a friend who teaches English at a respected public high school in a university town, the kind of school that routinely sends graduates to Cal and Stanford and the Ivies.  Although a high proportion of his students are bright and motivated, especially those in his AP and honors classes, the last two periods of his day are spent baby-sitting sullen children who do nothing and don't care.  (Personally, I think these kids' time would be better spent cleaning grease pits at fast food joints for minimum wage, an activity that might persuade them that there could be some value in an education.  They're not likely to succeed as rock stars or pro athletes (especially if they don't study music or play sports, either!), and there are not enough job vacancies in Congress for them all.)

Anyway, distressed over the relatively high number of students failing these classes, a school counselor recently advised him to change his grading method.  "It's not fair that only ten points separate A, B, C, etc on your zero to one hundred grading scale," she said, "when there are 50 or more points to an F.  You're setting those kids up for failure.  You should apportion grades evenly:  20 points for an F, 40 for a D, etc."  That his present grading scale represented relative mastery of the subject matter required by the State and the school's curriculum committee; that it penalized no one but offered all students the same opportunity to earn an A since it wasn't based on the Bell curve; and that such a grading system is tried and true and has been used successfully for 100 years--all of these considerations were lost on the counselor.

He agreed to try the experiment with one of those classes.  On the next test, seven students still got an F.

Public education is one of the greatest blessings of Liberal social values.  Unfortunately, it has been dumbed down to such an extent that rather than removing barriers to class mobility, it now buttresses them.  The problem cannot be fixed at the national or state level, but must be addressed by communities and families.  As long as the values that have proven to stimulate achievement continue to be undermined by ignorant do-gooders, the decline of public education and decay of our civilization seems inevitable.

"Maybe the problem most of you have ... is that you're not listening to Barbirolli." ~Sarge

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Offline Florestan

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2009, 06:46:05 AM »
As long as the values that have proven to stimulate achievement continue to be undermined by ignorant do-gooders, the decline of public education and decay of our civilization seems inevitable.

Amen!

(Knowledgeable evil-doers play their part as well...  ;D)

“I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.”  --- Rachmaninoff

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2009, 07:01:35 AM »
Amen!

(Knowledgeable evil-doers play their part as well...  ;D)
Well...yeah...but they would be relatively easy to keep in check if not for the masses of gullible, ignorant do-gooders who go along because they like what the evil ones say and are too ignorant, stupid, and smugly self-righteous to learn that what they do contradicts what they say.
"Maybe the problem most of you have ... is that you're not listening to Barbirolli." ~Sarge

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Offline Florestan

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2009, 07:03:22 AM »
Well...yeah...but they would be relatively easy to keep in check if not for the masses of gullible, ignorant do-gooders who go along because they like what the evil ones say and are too ignorant, stupid, and smugly self-righteous to learn that what they do contradicts what they say.

Hear, hear!
“I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.”  --- Rachmaninoff

Offline Herman

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2009, 07:08:37 AM »

  But based on my own experiences from elementary through graduate school, and much thought, I am convinced that grades are a dangerous and pernicious thing, and should be abolished. Or at least, they should not be nearly as important in college,graduate admissions, and that grade point average does not necessarily indicate how good a student is.
 

You're at least thirty years late with this idea.

Offline Cato

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2009, 07:24:35 AM »
My stepson is in Grade 5, and I think the way they do the report cards are ridiculous.  They mark their "report" cards on a 1 to 4 scale (1 - Needs improvement, 2 - Adequate, 3 - Very good, 4 - Excellent)

They get a mid-year and end of year report card.  The teacher explains that most kids are never given fours, only a mixture of twos and threes, especially in the mid-year.  Then, in the end of year report card, you'll see a few more threes, and perhaps a few fours!

I wonder if this is just another part of coddle your kids to death era we live in, where all kids have to be treated and marked the same, so as not to upset some of the kids.  Kind of like on Valentine's Day at school nowadays (Students can indeed decide whether or not to hand out Valentine's Day cards.  However, if they decide to do so, they must exchange Valentine's Day cards with all the particiapting students, not just a select number of students. ::) ::))  Well, Valentine's Day is ridiculous anyways, come to think of it. ???

But what if they deserve a 4???   >:(

You are quite right: the system itself is fine, as I do not like "specific" grades of e.g. 92 vs. 91, but its misuse because of a philosophical agenda based on false psychology is just monstrous. 

I cannot tell you how many people I have met in my life who have commented that they needed a swift proctological examination with a size 12 shoe to get them going, or wished regretfully for somebody to have given them one years earlier!

But if every child is constantly being told they are just fine, and do not need to improve, you will get a country of illiterates who expect things to be handed to them, because they are just fine and do not need to improve!  So the problem must be with the system!

The recent and appalling presidential press conference in Florida, where people were asking for new kitchens and cars and full payment for not working, is symptomatic of this.

Two words: Atlas Shrugged!  :o
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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2009, 07:40:29 AM »
I think grades and tests are okay.  I do a lot of tutoring in my wife's elementary school.  With little exception, the kids getting the worst grades are not focused and/or not too bright.  The ones with the best grades are very focused and/or highly intelligent.

My middle-school grandson is a good example.  Although the system has designated him as "high order", his grades suck.  The reason is simple - he refuses to do his work.  In the real work-world, intelligence without effort gets you nowhere fast, the exception being if you're aligned with powerful people (such as our former President who is neither intelligent nor a hard worker).

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2009, 09:44:14 AM »
I think grades and tests are okay.  I do a lot of tutoring in my wife's elementary school.  With little exception, the kids getting the worst grades are not focused and/or not too bright.  The ones with the best grades are very focused and/or highly intelligent.

My middle-school grandson is a good example.  Although the system has designated him as "high order", his grades suck.  The reason is simple - he refuses to do his work.  In the real work-world, intelligence without effort gets you nowhere fast, the exception being if you're aligned with powerful people (such as our former President who is neither intelligent nor a hard worker).
I disagree:  Clinton was reasonably intelligent, just handicapped by messianic grandiosity and pathological dishonesty, and even today the's working very hard to deny responsibility for his failures and to take credit for others' successes.
"Maybe the problem most of you have ... is that you're not listening to Barbirolli." ~Sarge

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Offline Cato

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Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2009, 10:09:46 AM »
I disagree:  Clinton was reasonably intelligent, just handicapped by messianic grandiosity and pathological dishonesty, and even today he's working very hard to deny responsibility for his failures and to take credit for others' successes.

Not to mention collecting all those fees for blathering speeches to P.T. Barnum's favorite people!

Bulldog: Amazing how hard work can overcome some deficiency in talent!  I have had a few students who began as mediocre "C" or even "D" students in freshman year in German.  But because they made an above-average effort, by their senior years they were finally receiving honestly deserved "A's".   One former student like this even went on to be proficient in Dutch and Portuguese, and became a captain in the navy: partially because of his language ability he was given a position with NATO in Brussels.
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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