Eagle Parley

A place for two of our editors to debate a chosen topic.

Question: Should school still keep the traditional grading system?

 
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Pro

School should not have the authority over students’ preferences in what they wear. Although dress code is acceptable to restrict the students from wearing inappropriate clothes, there should be some freedom within the limitation. The freedom to dress in casual clothes corresponds to the freedom the students have to express themselves. They could choose to wear different styles of clothes to portray their unique qualities. Not only that, uniforms tend to be uncomfortable for students to wear, making them less likely to focus on studying. Also, uniform advocates conformity, in which students are discouraged to think out of the box.


Image from pexel.com

Image from pexel.com

Con - Isaac

Now, this may be a very… touchy subject to object, especially on a school´s website. Yes, I will admit, the traditional grading system is perhaps the best solution when measuring a student's performance.  However, just because it's the best, it does not mean that it's perfect. The grading system poses numerous flaws, and addressing these flaws can hopefully refine this system in the future.

Let’s admit it. We all had that time where we had that fat F staring up at us like a rotten sunny side up from Dante's Inferno. Now, after staring at the red, fiery, letter written in red ink, how did you feel? Discouraged? Angry? Sad? You see, it's okay to feel horrible after a failure; in fact, it's totally normal. The only problem is picking yourself up and ignoring the thoughts of your GPA dropping faster than rock getting thrown off a cliff. Thing is, I don't believe students have this same mindset. Go and ask yourself the question, “If I got an F on a very important test that would drop my semester grade, how will I feel?”. Will you be inclined to take the test again, even if it didn´t influence your previous score for the sake of learning?  No, you will probably not. In fact, this sets a fixed mindset that “whatever you don’t get right at first, you’re automatically bad at it”. This makes a student more detached to whatever he previously failed at, making it more likely for him/her to fail more often

I think everyone can agree with the phrase “To every success are a thousand failures”. Well, grades might choose to differ. I read an interesting analogy once. If ten students are chosen to draw a tree, and are graded on their results, some students will get an A, some more mediocre grades like a B or C, and some will get an F. The students that get an F most likely will say they are just terrible artists and quit drawing in general, failing to realize that they can get better through learning from this failure. Some may argue that this is subjective, and that this isn’t the case. Well, have you felt encouraged to try better next time when you got that D on the test? No you feel like giving up, making the “success through error” mentality useless. Also, why is homework graded? I’m not asking to make  homework an option, but making it as a completion grade. After all, isn’t homework supposed to be practice? If a student gets a question wrong in practice, then he learns from his/her mistake to not make the same mistake during the test. So why are you punishing the student for getting something wrong during practice?

Finally, I’m going to address how grades are just ambiguous. Grades are based on a right or wrong answer. It may look sketchy at first, but that’s essentially what it is. If student A chooses the wrong answer for a question, then his/her grade will be lowered. If student B decides to not participate in an activity, his/her grade will be lowered. For this, grades are essential in science or math, where the answer is final. There are no open ended answers,  nearly none anyway. Now let’s apply this to subjects outside of STEM. Creativity, Respect, Human Ethics, Philosophy, and in our case Faith- can those be determined by grades? No, and that’s why it gets placed lower than other subjects most of the time (I’ll make an exception for ICS). Why do I need to focus on thinking out of the box or practicing courtesy when it won’t land me in Harvard? Worst of all, the students that have higher grades than the other students are put in  higher seats over other students. Why? Because they got that smiling A more often than poor Billy sitting in the corner over there.

In short, grades may be the best possible option for schools right now, but I am very willing to see some major changes that addresses the questions listed above.