America’s Obsession With Grades

Have you ever gotten a really shitty grade? Like a what the fuck just happened kind of grade? The kind of grade that makes you contemplate whether or not living with your parents until you’re 30 is okay.

Yeah….me neither.

…I’m kidding.

Of course I’ve had a grade like that. I’m a hot mess.

But in all honestly bad grades suck. Especially when you thought you were the shit in your class. It’s a major ego drainer and it can be really easy to try and discredit grades when you aren’t doing so well in a class.

Like fuck this grade..this doesn’t mean shit.

But does it? Do grades actually matter?

It depends on who you ask. Google seems to not mind…but they’re Google. They don’t need to care. They’re a multibillion dollar company. As far as grades go, Google can care as much as they want.

But…

Maybe your parents care. Or your university (you since you need to have a certain minimum GPA to graduate). Or maybe even you care, since they’re the U.S.’s standard way of knowing how your doing. Yet, not all universities follow this format.

Probably one of the most renowned universities that follows a non typical grading system is Brown University.

As a school, Brown gives students the option to choose the kind of grading system they’d like to abide by. They can do a more conventional grading system, where grades A, B, and C are assigned (with no plus or minus) and where grades D and F are not recorded by the university. Students can also opt in for a Satisfactory/No Credit system or a written evaluation from their professor.

In all, Brown claims that the lack of a typical grading system is designed to encourage students to “establish a portfolio of work and experience.”

Following the sentiment behind Brown’s lack of a traditional grading system, I wish grades were less of a focus in American universities.

Yes…I hear you…

“But grades are important.”

“We need a way to see how people are doing…”

Cool so grades can be used as a sort of assessment but only a self-assessment. For the most part, I think there is too much of a focus on grades, especially at the college level.

In college professors, counselors, administrators, and other students make it seem like grades are a determinant of your future success. The pressure to get high grades can lead students down destructive paths of plagiarism and cheating, depression, and self-esteem issues.

In a forum called “Everyday Ethics” held at Stanford University, faculty and lecturers spoke on the “temptation” many students are presented with: cheating. During a panel, speakers came to the consensus that cheating was linked to the “social pressure put on students to prize high grades over education and other values, including creativity and imagination.”

Which brings me back to my point, colleges should be centers focused on learning and not on grades. The American educational system needs to change to help students feel like they’re learning, and not constantly competing to achieve a high grade. Because at the end of the day, a degree is useless if you didn’t actually learn anything.

 

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