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Do Grades Hinder the Learning Experience?

Recently, I have come across a discussion post asking if grades ruin students’

ability to learn freely in an academic setting. According to Asao Inque’s blog post,

grades diminish a student’s interest in learning, as well as pulling them apart from the actual goal – improving. In a perfect world, I would agree that “free learning” provides a less stressful environment for students to learn. However, there is no perfect world. Students should be graded in accordance with the quality of their work, in an institution which adheres to the traditional grading system.

The traditional grading system offers students and teachers an evaluation-

feedback framework which guides students towards improvement. In a sorry attempt to be cliché, grades shouldn’t discourage you! You can see getting a bad grade in two different ways. Either you see it as the end of the world, or you see it as something that motivates you in doing better the next time. With this, grades offer an incentive to do better by a student’s desire to not fail and improve. Improvement in this scenario is relative towards the students’ relationship with their teacher. If teachers fail to guide their students towards the quality path, then the goal of getting better will never be reached.

Furthermore, I cannot picture the majority of university students, willingly taking

non-graded classes. Sure, non-graded classes lack the burden of grades. However,

who in their right mind would attend a class that won’t add anything to your GPA? This endeavor only adds to the weight and responsibility students carry. Not only that, but grades also offer academic validation to students that thrive on this recognition. Pushing them into doing more, also doing better.

All in all, the traditional grading system should be kept intact with a bigger space

for accommodation towards students that are willing to improve. At the end of the day, as much as people push the “grades won’t matter” agenda, it sadly does, especially in our school systems today. As long as teachers are willingly open to help students with their improvement, grades remain as a valuable tool for motivation.

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