Have we lost focus on the point of education? Series of tests, quizzes, papers, standardized tests weigh heavy on our minds. Many times we remember taking the test: “It was hard; it was easy; everything I studied wasn’t on the test; everything I studied was on the test.” An exchange of phrases whizzes by, the only remnants being a grade you file away in a folder that you may never see again.
Why is this important? When are we going to use this? Why do I need to know this formula? Why doesn’t ‘X’ solve its own problems? I have my own to worry about. Students are not the same. As individuals, we have different interests. Therefore, we value different things. We shouldn’t be expected to pursue interests that are not our own. Sure, being educated on basic concepts is a great idea, but ‘why’ knowing such concepts is a great idea is the question. Too often, the answer of why becomes getting good grades, because it’s on the test, you just have to know it, it’s on the MCAS or the SATs, and so on. There is no real purpose. There is no drive. Grades as motivation is a surefire way to burn out fairly quickly. Personally, I think it limits potential and creativity. Too often, we look for the instructor’s approval over our own thoughts and ideas. Reading people and giving them what they want is easier than thinking for oneself. I find that to be a huge issue.
What if we just trashed grades? ANARCHY?! No. Let’s actually think about it for a second. Maybe another minute. Grades are like trophies. Trophies serve as a ranking mechanism. Sonner or later, everyone will want a trophy. Trophies then become everything. Everyone gets one and the meaning of a trophy becomes tainted. What once meant to serve as a ranking system, a means of motivation, has become tainted like little league sports. Grades seem to be the only reason to do anything. It has become a threat. If you get a bad grade you will not get into a good college, unless, perhaps, you slip the interviewer a twenty under the table. Jokes aside, even if we don’t throw away grades, I think the whole system needs to be revised.
I read a few articles this week, but one in particular stood out to me. It was about grades and if colleges should stop giving them. I thought many points were valid and that it was a good idea to experiment with. There was a plan as well, and although it may have holes, I think it is a great outline for how we could work around and tailor a schedule to the student and their interests which they are allowed to explore with. Most students now do the bare minimum to pass, but what if they were given the opportunity to pursue their interests without being chained down by a major from day one. They might be able to find something that they love without being pressured to choose as soon as they are thrown into a college environment.
Anyway, before this gets too long, I think it is worth the read and offers some pretty good ideas that we could experiment with. No grades could offer an increase in productivity, creativity, and overall performance, given other motivators. (No grades does not mean no work. You still have to work hard to keep your place within a class. If you don’t want it, then you are in the wrong class.)
Link to Blog: Grades Post
Here is my post on the Blog: “Thank you for this post! I completely agree that grades need to be looked into. This seems like a great solution to something that I have lived through. Grades are the “be-all, end-all” for most students. Things would be much different if students, including myself, weren’t so focused on getting good grades over completely understanding a topic. I think this system is absolutely brilliant, and I would love to see it implemented at some point. It would be a great experiment. I think we have lost sight of what education is, and it would be a good idea to start revising the system to optimize learning. I truly believe that, if given the chance, students will find that motivation to explore and discover their interests on their own. It’s sort of like asking, “What would you do with a million dollars?”, except it’s, “What classes would you take if grades weren’t an issue?”. It is an extremely liberating notion for students. Granted, there may be some unforeseen issues with an ungraded system, but I see more merit in working hard for something and pursuing interests despite failure. In all, I think it would be a great idea to experiment with and see the results.”
Also, I had a few Tweets/ Retweets. I was mentioned in one about growth mindset, which you all should take a look at. Growth Mindset is a great concept. And I tweeted a few links about growth mindset as well.
I still haven’t quite figured out that copy and pasting deal with Twitter….so this might be the best I can do for now:
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>More on Growth Mindset! Take a look! <a href=”https://t.co/b2yCSgQooP”>https://t.co/b2yCSgQooP</a></p>— Rebecca Pereira (@rpereira418) <a href=”https://twitter.com/rpereira418/status/698315809953869825″>February 13, 2016</a></blockquote>
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>I keep soming across "Growth Mindset", and I quite like the idea. <a href=”https://t.co/IGT8W9hoxn”>https://t.co/IGT8W9hoxn</a> <a href=”https://t.co/piBNZdIQpd”>pic.twitter.com/piBNZdIQpd</a></p>— Rebecca Pereira (@rpereira418) <a href=”https://twitter.com/rpereira418/status/697798428185722880″>February 11, 2016</a></blockquote>
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Should colleges stop giving grades? <a href=”https://t.co/UyemyIbVj9″>https://t.co/UyemyIbVj9</a></p>— Steve Shea (@SteveShea33) <a href=”https://twitter.com/SteveShea33/status/696762880096600064″>February 8, 2016</a></blockquote>