Motivation and determination is key to good performance for many students. The current grading system ensures student spend most of their study time doing assignments, revising for exams, quizzes and tests, and very little time learning. It, negatively, affects those students with the will and power to strive forward in order to be rewarded for their efforts. This system undermines the determination put forward by such students and eliminates their motivation, in the process, hindering the acquisition of knowledge. The grading system should, therefore, be abolished and a more suitable system adopted.
The grading system does not measure how knowledgeable one has become. Rather, it ranks students according to the grades they receive at the end of the semester. In this regard, students are more focused on getting the cutoff grade to make it to the next class. They are not bothered by whether or not they retain the information or have enriched their minds. When they move to the next year, many, if not all students, hardly remember what they learned in their previous class. These are the same students who will boast about the good grades they attained in their previous classes. The system makes us grade junkies who believe that without the grades, learning cannot take place. We forget that learning is be motivated by interest. Teachers lay a lot of emphasis on good grades. Students are pushed into certain classes and expected to attain certain grades. Those who score good grades are showered with gifts while the poor performers are ridiculed or threatened with detention. Grades also determine the eligibility of a student to a certain career. Those who do not meet the cutoff points are simply locked out. It is crystal clear that we have mistaken learning to attaining good grades. Good grades do not imply that a student learned something.
When a student is interested in a particular are of study he or she will strive to learn about it. Interest fosters motivation and desire to learn. College students have a lot of freedom. They do not rely on anybody to monitor their academic progress. Nobody follows them around to make sure that they attend all classes or complete their assignments. The students are their on source of motivation. The grading system, unfortunately, only motivates the students to get good grades and proceed to the next class. A student interested in a particular subject will strive to learn something about it. However, he may feel overwhelmed due to the fact that they have to attain a certain grade to pass in that particular subject. When the grades begin to decline, the student loses his motivation. With a demolished motivation the student develops a negative attitude towards the subject. The disinterested student will not learn about a subject when he is not going to get a passing grade.
A self-determined student is able to solve his own problems, make independent decisions, set achievable goals and speak for themselves whenever in need. He is aware of his strengths and limitations, effectiveness and believes that he is capable of achieving his goals. Universities and colleges use the grading system to measure the academic process of a student. The grading system does not facilitate the factors of self-determination. It makes the students redirect all their attention towards achieving a better grade. Competition sets in where the goal majority of students is to get a better grade than their colleague. This is a case of misplaced priorities since the students shift their focus away from learning to scoring good grades. When a student develops fear and anxiety over the grades he might receive, an environment that is not conducive for learning is created. This hinders the acquisition of knowledge and growth of the student. A new system should be created where students receive credit for their effort.
Those who advocate for the grading system argue that its critics have not provided a practical alternative system. It is difficult to do away with the grading system. We are looking for a perfect system, where the facilitator and the student engage in a wonderful interaction to enhance transfer of knowledge, and where we are not judged by our grades. Unfortunately, many students require to be followed around to do their assignments and others need to be motivated to learn, even if it is only for the grade. The creation of a system that is centered on the learner would require a lot of resources to implement. For instance, a teacher would require more time input to assess each student, determine their skills, strengths and weaknesses and design an education plan for each of them according to their assessment.
The grading system is not effective and should be done away with. We need a system that promotes equality, where students are recognized for their efforts. A system which identifies the interest of a student and motivates him or her to work harder to achieve the goals set. This system would promote learning and lead to greater success than the grading system.
DO IT. Self Determination. 2013. 01 April 2013.
Kauffman, Steve. 6 Steps To Effective Learning. 10 January 2010. 01 April 2013.