The question of whether schools should or should not grade students is a controversial topic in our society today. Students are being graded for homework assignments, projects, presentations, quizzes, and tests and not everyone is sold on the idea of grades. While educational institutions require a way of measuring progress, students should not be assessed with marks as marks do not accurately assess student’s genuine learning and negatively impacts learning, practices and health.
Students understanding and knowledge is not assessed properly due to many reasons. Cheating on assignments, tests, and quizzes is a concern for educational institutions. Students find ways to be dishonest and get the marks for it when it is not their knowledge but another students or source’s knowledge. 70,000 students from over 24 different high schools across the United States were surveyed. This survey was conducted between 2002 and 2015 by Dr. Donald McCabe alongside the International Center for Academic Integrity. This survey revealed that 64% of students surveyed admitted to cheating on a test, 58% admitting to plagiarizing and 90% admitted to participating in some other form of cheating which included cheating on a test, plagiarism, or copying a homework assignment from another student. Unfortunately, it is extremely easy for students to cheat using cell phones, a cheat sheet, copying a nearby friend, or other ways students can find. If students are choosing to cheat they are not learning the material and not learning what hard work consists of. Shakuntala Devi, an Indian writer and intellect, put it very well in when she said, “Education is not just about going to school and getting a degree. It’s about widening your knowledge and absorbing the truth about life.”, Students may get out of high school with high marks by cheating, but they will not gain any knowledge they will need for life out of high school that way.
Students can still be incredibly intelligent and educated without receiving grades. Plato, Thomas Jefferson, and William Shakespeare did not receive grades and are among the most creative and intelligent individuals worldwide. Unfortunately, for many students high marks have become their goal, and the goal of learning has diminished. Students are in school to gain knowledge in every area of life, learn important life skills and lessons, and learn how to interact with other people. At school, the main part of your final mark is from testing. Tests do not accurately assess students understanding or knowledge. Edward de bono said, “Many highly intelligent people are poor thinkers. Many people of average intelligence are skilled thinkers. The power of a car is separate from the way the car is driven.”, A pupil can have a creative and smart mind but struggle with testing and that will affect their grades. Everybody makes mistakes and if a student messes up on one test it will affect their final mark. Where is the fairness in that? If students are going to school to receive a number representing what they can memorize or guess, then they are not getting the true purpose of school. The true purpose school is for is to prepare each student for life, you will have a hard time surviving life after school without detaining the knowledge and learning life skills school has to offer. So, if students cheat their way through school, they will not get that knowledge they need.
Every day kids at school feel the immense pressure of school work, pressure from parents to succeed, and the pressure of comparison to peers. All these things can be a lot of stress for a young person and many of these issues stem from being given grades. Grading puts a number to a name and students feel that their worth is in their grade. Mental health can be very negatively affected by the pressures of school and can take a huge toll on a students life. Mental illness is such a prominent concern in our society today and more and more young people are being diagnosed with a mental illness daily. According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly a third of teenagers aged 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Anxiety affects sleep, breathing, behavior, mood, willingness to do things, and makes it hard to go places that will trigger anxiety. Going to school is a huge battle for students with an anxiety disorder. Tasks like writing a test, sitting down and doing homework, being in a building full of people, sitting still for a long period of time. Grades cause an extreme amount of anxiety and add unnecessary stress to students. If a child going to school has social anxiety and has trouble presenting they lose marks when they get nervous and mess up the presentation. Anxiety is not a personal choice, people with it do not wish to have it and if their marks are suffering because of it that is a huge issue. This issue can be solved if schools stop giving grades. Grades cause way too much stress on a young persons mind and a negative grade can put a lot of pressure and doubt on a student.
On the other end of things, students who receive outstanding marks all of the time can also struggle too with this issue. These students experience a great amount of pressure because they are always getting high marks, so they can overwork themselves in order to keep that image they have, and it can lead to a lot of stress and depression.
Schools should not grade because students are not learning or being assessed properly and their mental health is being negatively affected. Students are suffering from their marks and not learning anything because of it. Pupils are learning that school is about pressure, cheating, and having the highest grades. They are not learning what school should really be about which is grasping concepts, learning important and valuable life lessons, and creating a healthy life and a growing mind.