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Pass/Fail Grading System

By aodell2 May 20, 2013 785 Words
Traditional Letter Grading Vs. Pass/Fail Grading System
Every student has had to deal with the traditional letter grading system at some point throughout their educational career. While I do think that the pass/fail grading system would help students be less stressed in school, I do not think that it is the proper way to grade. Letter grading keeps competition in the classroom, not always among all the students but also among oneself; it rewards the students for their hard work and dedication, and it could help them get the career they want later in life. While I do think that many students could benefit from a pass/fail grading system, I think that taking away letter grades at a high school or college would do nothing but hurt the students. Letter grades are the measurement of the students’ performance and students who actually try their best to do the work and succeed, would not want to be placed in a class with students receiving the same grade as them who are only doing enough work to get by. Many of the students who are getting the good grades in school take pride in their work and make sure they are doing their best to get the grades they get. The only good way to look at taking away the letter grading system is for students who aren’t trying their hardest to succeed, or ones that are trying their best but aren’t quite getting it. But just because the standards are lowered and these students are passing just like the best students in the class, it doesn’t mean they fully understand the material and these students wouldn’t get offered much help because teachers would see them as passing, not just barely passing. Grades are a great way to get students motivated. If students knew they could pass a class by just doing the minimum and get the same grade as everyone else, they wouldn’t try as hard. I know if it were me, I wouldn’t put a ton of hard work into something just to get the same grade as someone who is only doing half the work that I am. The letter grading system forces the students to do their best and worry about the grades they get at the end of the semester. Students attend class, do homework and study for tests to receive good grades but if those grades are taken away, students won’t be as worried to do those things; they’d do only as much as they would have to, to pass. Competition in the classroom is also a great way to keep students motivated. It keeps them focused and encourages them to strive to do better. If a student gets a C or B on a test, the next time they’ll study harder to try to get that A. Students always want to better their grades but if they only get a grade of ‘pass,’ there’s not much there to motivate them to get anything better. Sometimes there’s also competition amongst the students which keep them striving to do better. For example, I took an AP psychology class in high school and I sat next to one of my friends, after every test we would compare our grades to see who scored higher. It didn’t matter which of us scored higher, the next test we would both study even harder and longer to try and get the highest grade. Both of us passed each test, but it was just our competitiveness that made us strive to achieve our goal. With a pass/fail grading system you can’t really do that. When someone applies for a job, the employer may base each applicant on their academics to see who is better fit for the job, but if transcripts only say whether the person passed or failed, the employer will have a much harder time deciding who is better suited for the job and may decide on something totally different than how well one did in school. Grades can tell us everything, or they can tell us nothing. The pass/fail grading system wouldn’t tell us our real grade, it would tell us only whether we had passed or failed. Students wouldn’t try as hard and as a result, they wouldn’t fully learn the material. The traditional letter grading system lets the students know where they stand. It lets them know if they should push themselves a little harder to achieve their goal of getting that A. With letter grading, it can also show students that they can achieve their goals if they push themselves, unlike with pass/fail grading; it only pushes students to get the minimum of passing.

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