Why Grades Should Not Be Abolished ?

Grades have been a staple of the education system for decades, but in recent years, there have been calls to abolish them. Some argue that grades create unnecessary stress for students and teachers, and that they do not accurately reflect a student’s knowledge or abilities. However, there are several reasons why grades should not be abolished.

Abolishing Grades

First, grades provide a way for teachers to evaluate a student’s performance and progress. They allow teachers to identify areas where a student may be struggling and to provide targeted support and instruction. Grades also provide a way for students to track their own progress and to set goals for improvement.

Second, grades are an important tool for college and job applications. High school and college transcripts, which include grades, are often required for college admissions and job applications. Grades are also used by scholarships and financial aid organizations to determine eligibility. Without grades, it would be difficult for colleges and employers to evaluate the qualifications of applicants.

Third, grades provide a sense of motivation for students. Students who receive good grades are more likely to be motivated to continue their education and to strive for academic excellence. On the other hand, students who receive low grades may be motivated to work harder and to improve their performance.

Fourth, grades are not the only measure of a student’s knowledge and abilities. Teachers often use a variety of assessments such as projects, essays, presentations, and tests to evaluate student’s performance. Grades should be seen as just one of the many ways that teachers evaluate student’s performance, and not the only way.

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Finally, grades are not the only source of stress for students. The pressure to succeed academically is often driven by the desire to attend a prestigious college or to secure a good job. The solution to this stress is not to abolish grades, but to address the underlying societal pressures that contribute to it.

Pros of abolishing grades:

  1. Encourages creativity and self-directed learning: Without the pressure of grades, students may be more willing to take risks and explore new ideas, leading to more innovative and creative thinking.
  2. Reduces stress and anxiety: The pressure of grades can be stressful for students, leading to anxiety and mental health issues. Without grades, students may feel less pressure and be more relaxed.
  3. Focuses on learning and understanding: Grades can sometimes be a distraction, causing students to focus on achieving a good grade rather than on learning and understanding the material. Without grades, students can focus on the process of learning and understanding.
  4. Encourages collaboration: Grades can sometimes create competition among students, leading to a less collaborative environment. Without grades, students may be more willing to work together and share ideas.

Cons of abolishing grades:

  1. Difficult to evaluate student performance: Without grades, it can be more challenging to determine how well a student is performing and what areas need improvement.
  2. May lack motivation for students: Grades can be a powerful motivator for students to work hard and strive for success. Without grades, students may lack the motivation to work as hard.
  3. Difficult to measure progress: Grades provide a clear and easy way to measure student progress and achievement over time. Without grades, it can be more challenging to track progress and identify areas of improvement.
  4. Could be difficult for admissions and job application: Grades are commonly used to make decisions about college admissions and job opportunities. Without grades, it may be more difficult to evaluate applicants and make informed decisions.
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why should grades not be abolished

Grades are a common method of evaluating student performance and providing feedback to both the student and the teacher. They provide a way to measure student progress and achievement, and can be used to make decisions about academic advancement, college admissions, and job opportunities. Additionally, grades can motivate students to work harder and strive for better performance.

However, grades can be abolished if there is a more effective way to evaluate student performance and provide feedback.

should grades be abolished

The question of whether grades should be abolished is a complex one with varying perspectives and arguments. Here are some points to consider:

Arguments in favor of abolishing grades:

  • Grades can create a sense of competition among students, leading to stress and anxiety.
  • Grades can reduce intrinsic motivation for learning and shift the focus towards achieving a high score rather than enjoying the learning process.
  • Grades can be subjective and influenced by factors such as the teacher’s biases, grading policies, or test format, leading to inconsistent or unfair evaluations.
  • Grades can reinforce a fixed mindset, where students believe that intelligence is static and cannot be improved, instead of promoting a growth mindset, where effort and persistence can lead to success.
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Arguments against abolishing grades:

  • Grades provide a clear and objective measure of a student’s performance and progress, which can be helpful for academic and professional purposes.
  • Grades can serve as a motivator for some students to work harder and strive for excellence.
  • Grades can help identify areas of strength and weakness, enabling targeted feedback and support.
  • Abolishing grades may not address the underlying issues of competition, stress, and lack of motivation, which can stem from other sources such as societal pressure or curriculum design.

whether grades should be abolished or not is a complex issue that depends on various factors and perspectives. It may be more effective to consider alternative approaches that can mitigate the negative effects of grades while preserving their benefits, such as incorporating more formative assessments, providing personalized feedback, and fostering a growth mindset culture.

In conclusion, grades are an important tool for evaluating student performance, for college and job applications, for motivation and are not the only source of stress for students. Rather than abolishing grades, we should work to improve the way that grades are used and to provide students with a more well-rounded education that includes a variety of assessments.

Additionally, addressing the societal pressures that contribute to stress for students, families and educators alike will help to alleviate the stress and focus on creating a more holistic and meaningful education system.

2 thoughts on “Why Grades Should Not Be Abolished ?”

  1. Have you ever taught someone a skill outside of a learning institution? Like riding a bicycle, or painting or how to write a persuasive article?

    In the examples above, was your student motivated to learn the new information because of a grade you were going to give them at the end of that education? I am going to assume not. I know we should not assume, but I am fairly confident on this one. That student was motivated to learn because they were genuinely interested in learning the material. They had an INTRINSIC motivation to get the education they needed to succeed. If you were not providing the education that the student felt they needed to succeed, then they would look elsewhere for that information. Not because they were looking for a better letter grade, but because they wanted to grow.

    I have been in the workforce for many years. In that time I have never received a letter for my performance. My employer liked the work I was doing and kept me on. Others that couldn’t perform well, were let go. A letter grade will not help you get a job, but it will put an extrinsic value on the effort a student has put into the work and a value of the student as a person, though that is not the intended outcome.

    What is a bell curve? This notion that students failing a class but then can suddenly be passing a class when the professor decides to move the curve up or down. Grades are arbitrary. How much a professor decides something is worth could be completely different in a similar class with a different professor. But if you take grades out of the equation, then you are left with how much the student has grown since the beginning of the semester and what information they are missing that can be filled with retrying the assignment or making revisions.

    To your point about it being difficult to know how to account for college placement and scholarships, these systems are all made by humans. As humans, we can change the system to make learning a more human process rather than reducing students down to a letter or number.

    I hope my response did not come across as hostile. That is not my intent, but I wanted to point out the human factor behind grading and being a student.

    • Thank you for sharing your perspective and valuable insights on the topic of grades. I appreciate the way you connect intrinsic motivation and genuine interest in learning.

      Indeed, when we teach someone a skill outside formal educational settings, their motivation stems from a true desire to acquire knowledge and grow. Your point about grades being arbitrary and potentially varying between professors highlights the limitations of the current grading system.

      By removing grades from the equation, we can focus on measuring a student’s growth throughout the semester and identifying areas where they can improve through revision and retrying assignments.

      I agree that college placement and scholarship systems can be adapted to emphasize a more holistic and human-centered approach to learning, rather than reducing students to mere letters or numbers.

      Your response did not come across as hostile at all; on the contrary, it sheds light on the human factor behind grading and being a student. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


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