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Marks are the matter of past

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/5/2017 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 580 times Debate No: 105562
Debate Rounds (3)
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Educational systems of many countries are extremely conservative. Time flies but the main principles of education stand still. However, some countries are rejecting home assignments and even marks. Personally I stick to the opinion that marks are the matter of the past.

To begin with all the assessments are highly subjective and depend solely on teacher's opinion. And as our mark depends on a teacher's opinion, all we do is trying to meet teacher's expectations. We tell the things that are right according to our teacher. We're afraid to contradict a teacher, because there's a chance to get a lower mark. Without any doubts that kills courage and critical thinking.

Another reason is that marks make pupils compete rather than cooperate. In the chase of a better mark we are thinking solely of ourselves completely forgetting about the others. And sometimes even we do some mean things to the others to get a better mark. Marks make us selfish.

Of course I should mention that at universities (at least in my country) assessment depends on attendance which I believe is completely unfair because I think that knowledge is the first and foremost assessment criterion. And unfortunately that criterion is often omitted.

In conclusion I want to say that the mark is just a natural number (or a letter - whatever). How could it be possible to assess all the knowledge and experience with the only one natural number when there are so many irrational things in the world?


Thank you for this opportunity to debate with you.

I disagree with the motion that "marks are the matter of the past" due to three reasons, these are: Accurate, success and opportunity. Before I unpack my first argument, I would like to rebut the prop"s first argument.

The proposition wildly stated that "assessments are highly subjective, and depend solely on [the] teacher"s opinion". First of all, assessments do not rely solely on a teacher"s opinion, and believe it or not, it mainly relies on the content that was taught throughout the course (shocking, isn"t it!). It is not a personality test, it is an assessment on what the key points were in the course. This is to ensure that the student has actually learned what they were taught.

The prop also said that contradicting a teacher means that there is a chance at receiving a lower grade. This statement does not have any factual background, and instead is a wild claim. It could be argued that a student who debates in a healthy manner could receive a higher grade due to their level of participation, therefore your claim is false.

Finally, marks are not selfish, as the proposition said. There is nothing wrong with healthy competition within the classroom between students, and if students were truly selfish about receiving the highest grade, why do they bother to attend group study sessions? According to an academic journal (Chiriac, 2014), there is strong scientific evidence that group work has many benefits to learning. As well as flow-on effects, such as leadership training, group work allows students to boost their learning ability, therefore achieving a greater grade in the assessments. It could be argued that this is the opposite of selfishness, as it proves that students that work together, actually achieve higher outcomes in assessments, therefore your statement is incorrect.

Now I will unpack my first argument which is accurate representation of how much content and key principles a student has learned from the course. William (2013) states that if students truly learned what a lecturer has taught them, there would be no need for assessments, as they would have sufficient knowledge, but this statement is obviously false. The author argues that assessments are required in order to analyse what a student has learned, as well as what the student needs to revise in the future.

If an assessment does not have marks of any sort, how is a student to know what they understand, and what they don"t? How can a lecturer give feedback and assist a student"s learning throughout a course? It"s simple, they cannot.
Exam results determine how much a student has learned in the course. I am not claiming that marks determine a student"s character, but instead, what a student has taken in from what was taught.

For the reasons mentioned, I beg you to support my motion.


William, D. (2013). Assessment: The bridge between teaching and learning.
Retrieved December 6 from

Chiriac, E. (2014). Group work as an incentive for learning " students" experiences of group work.
Retrieved December 6 from
Debate Round No. 1


First of all, I would like to thank you for your sufficient answer. It's a real pleasure for me to have such a powerful opponent. However, I'm not going to give up! Now I will defend my point of view.

Well... You have mentioned that marks exist "to ensure that the student has actually learned what they were taught." WHAT THEY WERE TAUGHT means a sole information. For instance, 2+2=4. However, Thom Yorke believes that 2+2=5. Picture that he's able to prove his point of view in a creative way. Naturally, each and every person knows that 2+2 does not equal 5. But! Shall we punish Thom with a low mark or shall we reward him for his creativity. That is the question. (As you might have noticed the theme is even more topical than it seems. It embraces the issue what school is all about. Is it all about information? Or there's something else. Something more important that can't be expressed in numbers and letters.)

Now let's move to the next point. As for CONTRADICTION and SELFISHNESS, I find it hard to argue because both points of view could be right considering some external conditions which sometimes do not depend on a student.

I believe that it's possible for a student to get a teacher's feedback, analyse mistakes and do revision without any mark (NB! mark - not assessment) though I find it hard to deny that assessments of all kinds facilitate teacher's work and help with data analysing. All the same, marks have some sufficient downsides. For instance, I believe that sometimes it is marks that bother students the most. Not knowledge. Many people are convinced that assessment is a core aim of the learning process which in my opinion is nonsense. Besides, marks are not quite good at encouraging students to develop themselves. On the contrary, they're able to discourage some students. For instance, if I got a bad mark several times though I'd worked and tried hard I would either consider myself stupid or believe that all my efforts were in vain. And I would give up, as a result.

Moreover, I find it important to mention that a mark is not only an instrument of assessment but also an instrument of punishment. I remember some of my classmates got 2 (an extremely low mark in my country) simply because they behaved badly. Once I got 2 at my literature class. Our home assignment was to read chapters number let-me-say 3, 9, 17 of "The Master and Margarita." I found the task absolutely irrelevant, because as a rule I read chapter #1 then #2 #3 and so on and so forth... And when I was asked to retell chapter #17 I said that I hadn't read it yet. And my teacher gave me a BIG FAT 2. You can't even imagine how much satisfaction was on her face at that moment. I couldn't help laughing though I was upset a bit.

On that note, I would like to cease the argument. At least, for today.


Thank you for the reply. Before I get into my second point, which is success, I would like to rebut your argument.

You stated that marks depended on a teacher"s opinion alone in your previous argument, which I pointed out earlier. I know what students were taught comes from one course criteria, I"m not saying it doesn"t (which is what you are falsely claiming.) however, the point was that a teacher doesn"t determine grades without relating it to some grading criteria from the course to ensure that it is accurate. You also used Thom Yorke, and his song, "2+2=5" as an example of creativity, however, this is actually related to George Orwell"s famous book "1984". In his book, he uses "2+2=5" as an example of false dogma that society was required to believe. This is not a symbol of creativity, it is a symbol of how totalitarian super-states operate. So, shall we reward his "creativity" now?

You implied that schools are only about information if they use a marking system. I never said that schools focus only on information, there are many aspects of schooling that are important to students and their contribution to society, such as developing cognitive ability and social skills. Also, marks represent a student"s understanding of the knowledge that they have learned, if a student is bothered by marks, perhaps they should consider studying the materials and consulting their teachers. Marks can also encourage students who wish to aim for higher grades, which translates to more knowledge.

It is a bogus claim to say that marks are an instrument of punishment, the definition of a grade is "a mark indicating the quality of a student"s work". It is simple to understand that insufficient knowledge means a lower grade, it is not punishment. You also related this to a personal experience of yours, which was the reading of "The Master and Margarita". The grade you received for tis was perfectly acceptable. The criteria set by your teacher was that you were to read chapters 3, 9 and 17. This is what you were going to be assessed on. I would be ignorant to assume that reading chapters 1, 2 and so forth would be acceptable, as this was not part of the assessment which your teacher clearly stated.

For these reasons, your argument has been proven incorrect.

Now I will unpack my second argument, which is success. When a business hires competent workers, they tend to look towards what grades a potential worker has received, in order to ensure that this person has the ABILITY to work in this specific field. If marks did not matter, a worker who applies for a job in the programming industry may fail miserably due to their lack of ability with the subject. This example not only proves why grades are needed for a worker, but also proves why they are needed for an employer so that they do not waste money training their employee"s that don"t have any knowledge in the first place.

If a university were to accept high school graduates, how would they go about choosing the best candidates without a grading system? They couldn"t. Drop-out rates would increase majorly within all universities as the workload would be too much of a burden on the unqualified students. You could say that not having a marking system actually causes students fail more tests, and in-turn, end up without a job.

For these reasons mentioned, I beg you to support my motion.
Debate Round No. 2


Hello! I'm tremendously thankful for your answer. It goes without saying. Ok, let's start round number 3!

ACCURACY. First of all, if there's no standard, a huge variety of marking criteria can be implemented for one particular subject to choose a proper mark. As such criteria are different, there's a possibility that marks given in accordance with different criteria can in turn differ one from another. If a standard marking criterion is chosen, still there's some other marking criteria. What shall we do with other possible variants? As we see, marking criteria on their part can be called subjective. Adding subjective teacher's opinion we get a subjective mark! Thus, accuracy is only RELATIV.

THOM YORKE. I've chosen the names of both Thom Yorke and the song solely as an example for my example. I don't care about Thom's opinion and the song's content. Though I did not know about those Orwell references. Thank you for an interesting piece of information. Oops! I forgot to answer your question. Shall we reward any creativity? Yes, we shall. As long as the creativity follows a constructive track. I suggest another example. What would you do with a pupil who hacked an e-record-book and changed his and his classmates marks?

PUNISHMENT. I'd like to begin with my sad Bulgakov experience. I just decided to crack the system and failed. You imply that marks encourage pupils to learn. Do you really think that my teacher encouraged me to read in that peculiar way? or maybe she rather encouraged me to obey? However, I remain convinced that marks are an instrument of punishment. Personal experience: You get 9 instead of 10 because you write a bad hand. (This marking criterion seems to be VERY interesting, isn't it?) What is more, marks are a reason for punishment. You probably don't know but in my country beating kids for a bad mark is a common practice for some parents. And what is more important marks are a reason for hate. There can be lots of possible variants. A student hates a teacher because of a bad mark. Classmates hate a fellow student because of a good mark. A student hates parents because he/she was beaten because of a bad mark. And what is the result? We surrounded by hate. Hate corrodes our souls like acid. In the upshot, students are tent to be neither good at school nor bad. They learn the "key" principles of life: "Be mediocre. Keep your head down. And they won't hate you." And what do we get in the end? Another beige member of the society?

SUCCESS. Good marks do not equal success. In my country, for instance, mark do not matter actually. What is really important for an employer is that you managed to get a diploma and the goddamn communication strategies you use during the job interview. That's sad and funny at the same time - employer doesn't really care about your English Literature mark. Actually success is a relative concept. Even if you with all your excellent marks manage to get a good job with a sky-high salary it will not guarantee you a happy and successful life. Still, there's a chance that you'll work like an ox from your childhood on and die a lonely and miserable man.

Besides, I would like to say a few words about CONDITIONS. For instance, you're a good student. But you're extremely nervous before your exam. You haven't slept during the night. You've drunk 2 cups of coffee. You're shaking like a frightened donkey. You're unable to cheat. I believe that factors influence your mark in a very unpleasant way, don't they? As a result, it is the most diligent students who get a low mark. Another example. You're an examiner. You sit the exam along with the student from 9am till 9pm. You're hungry. You're tired. You're unsatisfied with your life. You want to kill a student who said that the Vikings had came from Spain. I imply that here we have another important factor we shouldn't ignore.

I could have mentioned about parents practicing BLACKMAIL (if you get 10, I'll buy you a brand new i-Phone) and about EDUCATIONAL HANGOVER (when you can forget about the excretory system of the amphibians because you've already got 10). Marks have a great number of downsides. Therefore I think that marks such as letters and numbers are the matter of past because they represent a superficial and one-sided assessment and discourage students to learn. I advocate for assessment system improvement.

Thank you for your attention!
Good luck!


Thank you for your final point, I appreciate your time.

First of all, a marking criterion can come in different formats, and I don"t disagree with you on this, however, the criteria for a specific course still outlines the key ideas taught, thus my argument still stands.

In relation to the "other possible variants" (of criteria), typically a teacher will use the criteria which best suits the class. Accuracy IS "relative". It is relative to the marking criteria, and is still important nonetheless.

You used a pupil who hacked an e-record book to change their marks as an example of exploitation I assume. If this is the case, how often do pupils actually commit this crime these days? Very rarely, therefore I believe your argument is irrelevant. If, however, you used the example to show a pupil"s creative skills, then I propose this: If a bank robber robs a bank in a creative way, shall we let them go for free, due to their creativity?

You stated that through your personal experience, you were "punished" by your teacher, may I suggest that this is just a minority report, and that this situation is not at all as common as you believe it to be. As all teachers are required to follow the criteria that relates to the course.

You also stated that "marks are a reason for hate", however, an academic source ( strongly argues that students who are exposed to violence are linked to poor academic outcomes due to sleep disturbance, stress, and other negative effects, and not the other way around, as you are falsely suggesting. Also, "hate" is not the outcome of receiving a simple grade, don"t be na"ve.

On success, good marks DO represent success in the course taught, as well as the field of work that the course is related to due to the knowledge required being similar to that which is taught. I did not say that good marks lead to success in life, don"t make bogus claims. Examiners also spend multiple weeks/months marking assessments, not hours, which is another false claim.

On the point that you made about parents "blackmailing" their children: first, the example you gave was an example of an incentive, and not blackmail. The definition of an incentive is: "A thing that motivates or encourages"" Again, another false claim by the proposition.

In conclusion, all of my points are still standing, and the points that the proposition made, besides the false claims, have been dismissed due to them not meeting a sufficient standard.

Thank you again for the debate, I enjoyed this and gained a lot of knowledge on the topic.
Good luck in the future.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by BryanMullinsNOCHRISTMAS2 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
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Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con used sources, pro didn't use sources at all. Con wins debate!

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