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Why School Letter Grades Should Not Be Banned From Schools

by Jake Shore

For the vast majority of educational systems, whether it’s K-12, higher education or anything in between, letter grades are the accepted means of assessing a student’s place in the context of a class, institution or the educational system at large. Even though letter grades have been and continue to be utilized by a great number of educational institutions, there is a lingering question about their value and efficiency. By examining the positive ramifications of letter grades, it becomes evident that letter grades should not be banned from schools.

Competition

Letter grades form a system for students to compete with each other in a way that’s healthy and positive. At the core of students competing for the best grade is the search and desire for knowledge. Each new assignment offers an opportunity to attain the highest grade, and the thirst for such an achievement is tied intimately to the desire for learning and broadening one’s perspective.

Goals

Letter grades make it easy and practical for a student to set and chase goals. By examining a teacher’s feedback, following directions and working hard, students are not only able to track their progress by identifying gained knowledge, but are able to see their grades getting higher. The formation of a goal and the desire to achieve it doesn’t only help students grow within their educational institution, but is a lesson that they can use long after graduation.

Motivation

Despite the fact that many parents hope their child will enter an educational institution and strive for excellence, many students aren’t as concerned with what they are able to get out of their school experience. For students who aren’t motivated, low grades can provide a significant wake-up call. If a middle school student receives a D on a report card, it could be the motivating factor to pay attention in class and get homework done.

Justification

In addition to the reasons why grades are positive for students, teachers also benefit greatly because of the system. The letter-grading system provides teachers with a concrete and efficient way of evaluating students. Whether it’s quizzes, tests, midterms, finals or group projects, the letter-grading system offers an organizational method that’s been proven to be effective.

About the Author

Jake Shore is an award-winning Brooklyn-based playwright, published short story writer and professor at Wagner College. His short fiction has appeared in many publications including Litro Magazine, one of London's leading literary magazines. Shore earned his MFA in creative writing from Goddard College.

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