GMG Classical Music Forum

The Back Room => The Diner => Topic started by: Superhorn on February 17, 2009, 01:13:02 PM

Title: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Superhorn 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.
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Cato 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.




Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Homo Aestheticus 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/



Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Cato 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. 
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on February 17, 2009, 04:55:13 PM
Just to clarify: I am NOT in favor of abolishing the grading system.
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Cato 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!   $:) 
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: nut-job 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. 

Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Josquin des Prez 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.
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Cato 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.
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Florestan 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
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: ChamberNut 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. ???
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: DavidRoss 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.

Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Florestan 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)

Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: DavidRoss 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.
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Florestan 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!
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Herman 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.
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Cato 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
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Bulldog 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).
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: DavidRoss 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.
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Cato 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.
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Jay F on February 18, 2009, 10:57:58 AM
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.
I'm going out on a limb here to suggest that perhaps, just perhaps, Clinton isn't the former president Bulldog meant.
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Bulldog on February 18, 2009, 11:09:10 AM
I'm going out on a limb here to suggest that perhaps, just perhaps, Clinton isn't the former president Bulldog meant.

Correct; I was referring to Bush. 
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Cato on February 18, 2009, 11:35:06 AM
Correct; I was referring to Bush. 

Let me go out on a limb and say that I suspect David knew that!   ;)
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Bulldog on February 18, 2009, 11:49:53 AM
Let me go out on a limb and say that I suspect David knew that!   ;)

Regardless, David doesn't seem to have warm feelings about Clinton; maybe he really likes Clinton's wife. 
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Cato on February 18, 2009, 01:29:41 PM
Regardless, David doesn't seem to have warm feelings about Clinton; maybe he really likes Clinton's wife. 

Shiver me timbers!   >:D   What an insult!   8)
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Jay F on February 18, 2009, 01:32:01 PM
Let me go out on a limb and say that I suspect David knew that!   ;)
Let me go out on yet another limb and say I imagined that, too, but I have a hard time letting right-wing disingenuity (disingenuousness?) pass by without taking notice.
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Cato on February 18, 2009, 01:45:35 PM
Let me go out on yet another limb and say I imagined that, too, but I have a hard time letting right-wing disingenuity (disingenuousness?) pass by without taking notice.

Except it was funny!   8)  And yet not too funny, because it was true!
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: nut-job on February 18, 2009, 09:35:41 PM

The discussion brings to mind a scene in the late television show "Arrested Development" when young George Michael is sent to a new-age school.  He has the following exchange with his teacher:

George Michael:
Will this go toward my grade?

Teacher:
We don’t have grades here. A student either learns and gets an “L,” or they fluctuate in their learning.

George Michael:
What do we get for that?

Teacher:
An F.
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Superhorn on February 22, 2009, 12:12:26 PM
    Nut-Job's comment about  my post on grading shows how arbitrary and subjective grading can be in schools.  He gave me a C-  because he did not agree with me. In my experience in schools, grading is often just like that. The teacher gives you a C- or D because he or she just happened not to like what you wrote ona paper or elsewhere.
  That low grade may not be the result of lack or effort or ability, but pure chance. This is why grades can be so bad. A high school or undergraduate student's chances of getting into college or graduate school should not be jeopordized because of grades that are a crap shoot.

    I repeat :  the OPPOSITE of grade inflation exists too, and I have experienced it in school myself.
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Cato on February 22, 2009, 01:42:27 PM
    Nut-Job's comment about  my post on grading shows how arbitrary and subjective grading can be in schools.  He gave me a C-  because he did not agree with me. In my experience in schools, grading is often just like that. The teacher gives you a C- or D because he or she just happened not to like what you wrote on a paper or elsewhere.
  That low grade may not be the result of lack or effort or ability, but pure chance. This is why grades can be so bad. A high school or undergraduate student's chances of getting into college or graduate school should not be jeopordized because of grades that are a crap shoot.

    I repeat :  the OPPOSITE of grade inflation exists too, and I have experienced it in school myself.

Please read our objections carefully: there is nothing "arbitrary" about your C-.  You have that grade because your reasoning makes little sense as proven by our experience with students and by basic psychology. 

You receive low grades not "just because" a teacher does not "like what you wrote," but because what you wrote shows little sense objectively. 

Given grade inflation being rampant, it takes a good deal of effort to receive a low grade these days!   0:)
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Bulldog on February 22, 2009, 02:02:33 PM
    Nut-Job's comment about  my post on grading shows how arbitrary and subjective grading can be in schools.  He gave me a C-  because he did not agree with me. In my experience in schools, grading is often just like that. The teacher gives you a C- or D because he or she just happened not to like what you wrote ona paper or elsewhere.
  That low grade may not be the result of lack or effort or ability, but pure chance. This is why grades can be so bad. A high school or undergraduate student's chances of getting into college or graduate school should not be jeopordized because of grades that are a crap shoot.

    I repeat :  the OPPOSITE of grade inflation exists too, and I have experienced it in school myself.

Okay.  You make the point that some grades might be unfair.  But that's life.  Your performance appraisal from your boss might not be fair.  It might not be fair that your wife makes out like a bandit during divorce proceedings.  I have a friend who was shot in the head about 30 years ago; some of the bullet remains in his head, his actions became erratic and his wife had to divorce him.

You need to realize that "fairness" has very little to do with living a life.  It's how you respond to unfair practices that matters most. 

Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: nut-job on February 22, 2009, 02:44:25 PM
    Nut-Job's comment about  my post on grading shows how arbitrary and subjective grading can be in schools.  He gave me a C-  because he did not agree with me. In my experience in schools, grading is often just like that. The teacher gives you a C- or D because he or she just happened not to like what you wrote ona paper or elsewhere.
  That low grade may not be the result of lack or effort or ability, but pure chance. This is why grades can be so bad. A high school or undergraduate student's chances of getting into college or graduate school should not be jeopordized because of grades that are a crap shoot.

    I repeat :  the OPPOSITE of grade inflation exists too, and I have experienced it in school myself.

My facetious grade assignment was not based on the fact that I don't agree with you, it was based on the fact that your post was wandering, not succinct, contradicted itself in numerous places, seemed confused and used questionable arguments.  At various places you question the validity of grades because they fail to measure a) effort, b) intelligence, c) academic success.   Make up your mind.  You state that some students may be more deserving of admission despite having poorer grades?  On what basis are these students more deserving?   Towards the end you claim that admission to school should be based on "tests of knowledge and ability" and "written essays and recommendations."  What basis is there for believing that these would be more fair (or any different) than grades?  Finally we have the statement that people should be admitted even with lousy grades if they show "exceptional academic ability."  What is academic ability other than good grades?

The most interesting part is the end, where you express your outrage that students get blamed for bad grades rather than the real villains, teachers who give bad grades.   ;D
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: Superhorn on February 23, 2009, 08:05:24 AM
   There was nothing self-contradictory about my comments, whatever their faults may have been.
My point is that grades do NOT necessarily indicate how good a student is. I am convinced that this is  true.
  In most cases, students who work hard and have genuine academic ability will get good grades.
 I did not say that ALL students with low grades deserve higher ones. In some cases if a student does not work hard , neglects his or her work, and lacks academic ability and intellectual curiosity, the low grades  are deserved. But not in every case.
  Still, grades can be a crap shoot.  What some one said about it being difficult to get a low grade today because of grade inflation may be true  in some schools, but I never experienced this in my days of high school, undergraduate and graduate school many years ago in the 70s and 80s.
   In many cases, a professor would not give you an A or even a B no matter how hard you worked, or how much knowledge and academic ability you had, or how much you participated in class.
   I myself never had much luck with grades, even though many professors admitted that my knowledge and academic ability was so far above most other students where I studied you couldn't measure it.
   Some even said that I  had no business being in their classes because I knew far more about the subject they were teaching than they did !
Title: Re: Why Grades in School Are A Bad Thing And Should Be Abolished
Post by: nut-job on February 23, 2009, 08:37:25 AM
   There was nothing self-contradictory about my comments, whatever their faults may have been.
My point is that grades do NOT necessarily indicate how good a student is. I am convinced that this is  true.
  In most cases, students who work hard and have genuine academic ability will get good grades.
 I did not say that ALL students with low grades deserve higher ones. In some cases if a student does not work hard , neglects his or her work, and lacks academic ability and intellectual curiosity, the low grades  are deserved. But not in every case.
  Still, grades can be a crap shoot.  What some one said about it being difficult to get a low grade today because of grade inflation may be true  in some schools, but I never experienced this in my days of high school, undergraduate and graduate school many years ago in the 70s and 80s.
   In many cases, a professor would not give you an A or even a B no matter how hard you worked, or how much knowledge and academic ability you had, or how much you participated in class.
   I myself never had much luck with grades, even though many professors admitted that my knowledge and academic ability was so far above most other students where I studied you couldn't measure it.
   Some even said that I  had no business being in their classes because I knew far more about the subject they were teaching than they did !

Of course every grade doesn't necessarily indicate how good the student is in every case.  As in science, every measurement is subject to error, statistical fluctuation and systematic error.  The question of how to assign grades to be more accurate and more correlated with subsequent success is a legitimate one.   However to suggest grades should therefore be abolished  is ludicrous.  It is like saying that weather prediction should be abolished because the predictions are not always accurate.

The real puzzle is how you managed to get bad grades when you had superior academic ability, superior knowledge, and your professors acknowledged your superiority.  What does this superiority consist of?  If you were admitted to Harvard Medical school and became a brain surgeon based on your innate superiority would we have to take into account the unfairness of the fact that all of you patients die despite your innate superiority?