Poor Grades? No Problem
(RepublicanPress.org) – Grades in school are a way to measure whether a student is absorbing material taught in the classroom and gives students an area of focus. However, one college English professor doesn’t believe in giving grades in her class anymore. She’s been teaching for over 30 years, and she said she only regrets not throwing away the grade book sooner.
The Teacher’s Reasoning
In an op-ed for PBS, college professor Elisabeth Gruner decided to ditch the traditional grading system four years ago, calling it counterproductive. She said research shows the grading scale, adopted in schools in the 1940s, creates an inequitable system that doesn’t reflect student learning. Gruner also claims the system stops the learning process.
For example, if a student struggles is learning a subject from scratch, they may earn a low grade at the beginning of their journey but fully master the material by the end of the course. Even though the student fully understands the material, the two grades will then be averaged together to form a lower final grade. So, the overall grade doesn’t accurately measure what the student learned; instead, it demotivates them and increases their school pressure.
Instead of handing out grades, Gruner wanted her students to concentrate on her feedback to help them improve their knowledge base. At the end of the semester, she gives an overall grade based on the student’s work, including instructed revisions after feedback — called upgrading.
Other universities in the United States have also done away with the traditional A through F grading system, and others, like Berkeley in California, are considering the same. Campuses across progressive California are changing their grading systems and are looking to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) revamped system to guide them. MIT is grading during the second semester of each course but leaving grades off of transcripts entirely if students receive a D or F.
The Problem with Woke
The issue with the whole approach is this: How will the students know where they stand and where to improve if they don’t have a letter to gauge from on assignments?
Grading at the end, or not at all, could leave students feeling lost and wondering how or if they grasped the classroom material at all. In addition, how will institutes of higher learning know which students to accept into their programs or not? What would go on a student’s transcript? After all, colleges want their students to succeed during instruction and don’t want to turn out failing or slacking members of society to stand shoulder to shoulder with those who excel.
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