In the present paper, I would like to provide my arguments against the new grading policy, whose nature is random selection of grades. In fact, there are two points of its fallibility: the fact that it actually measures students’ luck rather than their true achievements and that it destroys the entire purpose of education as the process of gaining knowledge and skills.
First of all, it is necessary to define the term “grading”. According to the Educational Policies Committee, grading is “the main symbolic method of recording the evaluation of a student’s academic performance” (Educational Policies Committee, 1991). Evaluation, in turn, can be defined as assessment of the value of individual achievements, according to the existing educational standards. Education, according to Fuhrmann and Grasha (1983), is “the development of knowledge, skills and character of students through continuous motivation” (Fuhrmann and Grasha, 1983, p.156).
As one can understand, the new grading policy does not set up the interrelation between the student’s academic attainments and performance and the symbolic mark, letter or figure. Those learners whose achievements are poorer have an opportunity to receive higher grades through random selection method, whereas more successful and hard-working students might fail in terms of grade. Consequently, one can sum up that the new policy actually measures the person’s luck, as the grade does not depend upon their efforts, skills or abilities.
Furthermore, given the definition of education, it is possible to assume that the new grading policy contradicts to the purpose of college or university studies. This principle of grading does not motivate students to develop the necessary knowledge and skills, as their performance is not appropriately evaluated, i.e. the truth about the value of achievement is distorted. Therefore, students, being aware of the fact that the true information about their attainment will not be provided, are unlikely to work on their academic performance and lose the willingness to succeed.
To sum up, a positive appraisal of one’s achievements is amongst the major incentives in the education system. The learners thus are unlikely to become true professionals after this motivator is eliminated with the introduction of the new grading policy.
Educational Policies Committee. Responsibility for Grading and Grading Policy. 4 Apr 1991, < http://www.usu.edu/policies/pdf/Grading-Responsibility.pdf>
Fuhrmann, B. and Grasha, A. A Practical Handbook for College Teachers. Boston: Little Brown, 1993.
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