The Instigator
jacoope2
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
ladybugTMB
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

The U.S. Grading System should be challenged

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
ladybugTMB
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/24/2011 Category: Education
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,962 times Debate No: 16121
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)

 

jacoope2

Pro

Attention: This argument does not attack all classrooms, but does attack those classrooms that insist on multiple choice tests and assignments with defined answers.
Students learn and think in different ways. Some students are better at certain things than other students. Students should therefore all not be graded on the same scale. Grading has become more of a competition between students. A child can put so much effort into studying for a test and then end up getting a terrible grade. The grading system has simplified teachers' work in the classroom. A set key of answers defines the student's success. Teachers give a test and only base the student's grade off of the answer key they have in front of them. But do we ever think about the amount of effort the student may have put into studying for that test? Their effort should come before the quality.
There is an effort-based grading scale at Benedict College of South Carolina. For freshman, they are graded 60% effort and 40% knowledge. According to the college, they believe that students can get more feedback from the professors that would allow him/her the ability to improve in a certain area. Students seem to be more willing to retain information that they aren't cramming down at the last minute, but material that expresses their effort. It makes no sense that I can fake my way through a class the whole semester by never understanding the material but passing all the exams. Our system has become too dependent on quantity and less on the quality of a student's work. Reading, writing, or math may never be a student's forte, but a willingness to try their hardest is what should truly count.
Students should also be graded on their social and emotional learning. SEL skills include self-awareness, working in teams, decision making. These are both things that will propel a student forward in his/her success. If we show students that we are paying attention to these sorts of qualities, they are more prone to develop these skills.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "character is higher than intellect." We are teaching our students material that they may never be able to apply on the job. The skills and traits we instill in them would be much more beneficial from a long-term perspective. It seems pathetic to think that we are evaluating our students by letter grades and not a better system that allows them to apply their work ethic in the next class.
ladybugTMB

Con

The grading scale has absolutely nothing to do with how an individual learns; therefore it should not be challenged. It is evident that all students are not great test takers which influence the outcome of the test. The grading scale is a method used to analyze a person's comprehension of recently covered content on an exam by giving them a A, B or possibly plus or minus grades. This scale is effective because everyone is graded the same way with emphasis on quantity. Having a grading scale allows us to become competitive with self as well as with others. If we had a combined grade of effort and knowledge we still would not be able to identify if the student actually learned concept, subsequently grading a student on effort would allow the child to have a so called easy life since they only have to demonstrate little effort. The grading scale allows a plethora of opportunities to exceed or fail whereas the purposed grading scale adheres more to emotions than concept.
For instance NCSU has a small group communication and we are graded on our social learning but in a traditional manner. With the current grading system anything can be graded but we need to continue to grade on actual performance instead of other factors that will eliminate the traditional letter grade format. We need to continue to complete with self since that will be the primary reason as to why we will eventually outperform others.
Debate Round No. 1
jacoope2

Pro

I would first like to point out con's first statement that "the grading scale has absolutely nothing to do with how an individual learns." That is exactly my point. An individual will not learn his/her best by making an effort and then being graded on it. Grading is used as to measure a student's work on an A, B, C, D, F scale, but a student's work should be seen as more than just a letter grade. A student puts in more effort to their work than work that is given a simple letter.

Secondly, con said "this scale is effective because everyone is graded the same way with emphasis on quantity." This is just what we need to stray away from. Students are individuals with different skills and talents. There need not be a common scale in which students fall into "letter grades." We want the students to challenge themselves to do better but not "compete...with others." That is not the point of the education system. The education system seeks to expand a student's thinking skills. We limit a student and the possibilities with a grading scale.

It is not our job to gauge if the student has learned the concept. It is the teacher's duty to present the material in an engaging way and allow the student to explore that topic in his/her creative way. The current grading system really limits our students to their imagination and ability to think outside the box. The education system today has "4 answers" for everything. Why stop a student for thinking the impossible? Students would be willing to put more effort into their school work if they were not boxed into possibilities for answers but given a creative outlet.

We cannot say what is "easy" for a student and what is not. The teacher has to present the information in an informal and fun way that will allow the student to respond in a way that suits their abilities. Students work on different levels and paces. We have to respect that. We have to respect their emotions. There is nothing wrong with a child exceeding at everything. We get so caught up in trying to get students to fail at some things so that they will learn from those mistakes, but a student is more apt to learn of failures if we present those failures prior to their fall.

That is our problem today, we are stuck in the traditional way. Let's take a step outside the box and expand our children's minds.
ladybugTMB

Con

I understand what a grading scale is used for; however if we alter the grading scale it will have an effect on how students are selected to attend prestige and other Universities. A student's work is valuable and the teachers should take that into consideration when grading but a letter grade still needs to be given. In some school districts numbers are used instead of letters but it reinforces the same concept with 4 being equivalent to an A. The pro stated "a student puts in more effort to their work that is given a simple letter." We as student's definitely put in a lot of work but ultimately at the end of the day it is up to the discretion of the teacher to decide what grade the student will receive.

The teacher has final say when it comes to a lot of things pertaining to students because the child can believe they did an outstanding job on an assignment and put a lot of time into it On the hand, the teacher may not like one aspect of the assignment and give the child a low percentage when marking effort section. Therefore, changing the grading scale will make a huge difference since the teachers have final say so.

A child can challenging self with trying to improve a grade that has created problems throughout the duration of school. Succeeding is not based on effort but based on what you know and how well you will retain prior knowledge gained. I will mention the one problem I have with the grading scale is all teachers do not use the same format which will create contention between involved parties. Teachers do not fail the students fail self by not being prepared and showing little effort.

Effort is not a good attribute to consider when challenging the grading system because each student will not perform up to par since effort weighs the most. Effort is format that basically illustrates you attempted the problem with very little concern on the outcome. Tradition is good at times because it will not create an additional headache. Also you effort and knowledge the teachers would not have anything to elaborate on when completing assessments.
Debate Round No. 2
jacoope2

Pro

I appreciate the con's enthusiasm about the grading scale, but con has still not provided a good reason why this is the best way. Why should the teacher have the final say? It would be a different story if the student's were receiving individual attention. In this case, they are not. How do we know that the student has and will "retain prior knowledge gained" even after their assessment in a class. Students to cram for tests and assignments because they know that after the test they will never have to know it or be questioned on it again. A grade does nothing but show that the teacher acknowledged the child's assignment and we will never know if they fairly graded the assignment. I assume this is where the issue of trust comes into play. Not only trust in the teacher, but trust the student is trying their hardest and putting the most effort into each assignment.
Con also states that "succeeding is not based on effort." I have to beg to differ on that statement. We must understand that students have different levels of skills and talents. If they are working on an assignment which isn't really their forte, effort is really important in their accomplishment of the assignment. Not everyone can be perfect at everything. That's why we have to encourage students to really excel in something they love and continue doing that. Becoming too spread will not allow a student to do their best on that specific thing that they are good at.
I do not think that the con is aware of what "effort" really means. Con defines effort as "illustrates you attempted the problem with very little concern on the outcome. Dictionary.com defines effort as the exertion of mental or physical power; also hard work.

In short, I argue that the disadvantages to the current system are:
1.Grading is a competition between students.
2.Quality is valued more than effort.
3.Social and emotional learning are undervalued.
4.Material presented is not optimized for the workplace.

I also argue for an alternative system where:

1."effort should come before the quality"
2."Students should also be graded on their social and emotional learning."

In conclusion, I propose a system with no grades at all, where students complete coursework approved by and/or designed by professionals in the appropriate field. Emotional learning therapy sessions and social retreats will complete the curriculum. In all cases, as long as the instructor feels that the student tried his or her best, the student will pass the class.
ladybugTMB

Con

To begin with, effort is a broad word and can be interpreted in many ways. I understand we have to encourage our students to excel in school, but how will grading on an effort scale reach our ultimate goal? Grades will not take away from a student's interest level if anything it should help them become more interested. There are going to be subjects and classes in school that will not grasp the attention of everyone in the class, which means if we adopted the effort scale the child would not receive a good since a large portion of the scale is dependent upon effort. Effort is a concept you either take or lightly but no in the middle action. The current grading scale has it benefits because you are able to question your grade if their is a discrepancy whereas effort is solely illustrated by the work you turn in. Each methods have their flaws and nothing will work for everyone.

I can honestly say my knowledge has increase about certain topic in school because I am conscious of the fact that my grade will be a reflection of me. If we create a new grading scale it would not show how much a person has learned because the student will still be able to cram for exams as well.

I understand where the pro is coming from; however I believe the current grading scale will continue to be effective. It will be effective because we are able to learn the material and become intrigued by other topics which will only enhance our grades due to an interest level
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by XimenBao 5 years ago
XimenBao
That round 3 summation looks a little familiar.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
jacoope2ladybugTMBTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Effort is not a good attribute to consider when challenging the grading system because each student will not perform up to par since effort weighs the most. Effort is format that basically illustrates you attempted the problem with very little concern on the outcome. - what, that is not what the word effort means
Vote Placed by Lionheart 5 years ago
Lionheart
jacoope2ladybugTMBTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The grading system is efficient as long as it is used correctly. The current grading scale is efficient, but how the current schooling system uses it is not efficient.
Vote Placed by KnowItAll 5 years ago
KnowItAll
jacoope2ladybugTMBTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Effort is provided for in a grade. I've never had a professor in my life that stated that 100 of your grade consists of the midterm and final. Effort is fine and well but regardless of how much effort is given if a person doesn't understand the material the person doesn't understand the material.