School Grading System

The grading system in schools has been in existence for decades but has always drawn controversy with some scholars. There does not seem to be a consensus about the role of grades. As Farber notes, nobody teaches children how to talk and walk. To some extent, this is true, but children learn through listening and watching. If you take a child to another planet to live alone, the child would never know how to talk since there is no one to listen to and learn. Humans always learn things through the five senses without necessarily being graded.

Grading is important, and it has uses in the school system. The fact that it has existed for so many years proves that it has its uses. One of the uses is that it allows students to know their strengths and weaknesses. People are different with different capabilities and abilities. Take for example an engineer and a historian. An engineer requires being good and talented in subjects such as mathematics while the historian requires being talented in research and literature. It would be hard to turn the engineer into a historian and vice versa. This is because the engineer knew his/her passion through the school system. The grading system motivates one to put more effort in certain things. If one wants to be an engineer and poor in mathematics, more effort is required in mathematics than in other subjects.

Grades do not necessarily help students to learn but helps them to know how much they have learned. Learning is a continuous experience, and it never ends. People always learn new things every day. Having a low grade does not denote that one is illiterate, but it helps one realize his/her weaknesses and work on them (Stan 2000). If there were no grades, how would one know that a certain concept is not understood? Good learners study even after the exams are over to gain the knowledge. Through grading, the teachers and facilitators are also able to realize the weaknesses in the curriculum. Grades allow the teachers to check on the learning progress and be better teachers.

Grading gives students a general idea about their strengths and weaknesses. Even children learn to speak and talk at different paces.  Some children are quick to learn, and others are slow. It would be better to know one’s weakness than just to sit and think one is perfect. How else would one realize his/her weaknesses if not through grading? Grading here does not necessarily mean numeral grades but can also include other types of assessments. If grading is fair and accurate, it can be helpful to not only the students and teachers but to policymakers to enable them to enact educational policies that are credible. Grades allow the government to know the curriculum weaknesses and install changes. Students have to follow a certain curriculum, and with no grades, the policy makers can never measure the success and failure of existing policies.

Grading has its uses to students. It does not help students to learn but to realize their weakness thus channeling effort to certain areas. However, this can only be possible if the grading if fair. Studies have shown that after administering the same paper to different sets of students, the percentage grades awarded by the different teachers varies widely. Some teachers concentrate on grammar while others concentrate on how well the student communicates the message of the paper. The above scenario is a demonstration of different grading systems. Some teachers concentrate on grammar while others concentrate on communication. If a student is poor in communication and good in grammar, the student might end up with a high grade based on grammar. This will be a false motivation on the student that he/she is good in a certain area.

Research has shown that teachers do not need the grades to teach well and students can learn many things without being graded. However, checking on the students learning progress is essential in successful teaching. Checking entails finding out what the students have learned well and how they are doing. Checking is a prescriptive and analytical interaction between students and teachers (Stan 1999). This is different from grading. When teachers do grading and checking, then they serve as the advocate and the judge to the students.

Grading is not the only way to motivate students neither does it help students to learn. It is just a way of realizing one’s weaknesses and strengths (Stan, 2002). Though this can be done using other means, grading is the only available option in the education system. Without the grades, students cannot realize their place in the ever-changing career world. However, the grading systems show variations depending on the teachers, which is a drawback on the part of policy makers.

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