Grades do not define one’s Intelligence level as age does not define one’s maturity. Life is a journey, not a competition, a journey which should not reach its peak ever, which has its unique quality and matchless taste. Education is a part of life; a necessity, not the whole life. Nevertheless, it does affect our lives but to how much extent it does must be within our control. Your education must not drive your attitude and lifestyle, although your ‘Will’ should do it. “Tomorrow is my Exam, but I don’t’ care because a single sheet of paper can’t decide my future.” (Thomas Edison, quotefancy.com). This quote pretty much shows that our success and future cannot be decided by only a system which is devised by some fellow humans. Living in a world which is inhabited by a population of more than 7 billion (“sciencemag”) where you still are evaluated into five categories of grades with some positive and negative signs assigning you a specific place and status in society, and even among your own family. Among all these grades, where is your own self?
Measuring someone’s objectivity by a subjective process is unprofessional. Although letter grade system has prevailed as many perceive it as better tool for assessment and evaluation however the scenario is changing from older times because of which such method of evaluating student’s performance must be replaced with the pass-fail system as it increases academic performances and careers of Students and make them more progressive toward learning. Besides it may reduce stress, increase group cohesion. Moreover, it is a kind of Modern approach toward academic studies as compared to letter grade which stands more of as a contemporary and traditional approach and is instilling degrading values in students.
Education has become a norm and necessity to enter in professional fields like humanities, business studies, law , engineering and medical studies etc. , and a way of earning living which can boast of easily of providing a secure and beneficiary future thus most of the triumph of letter grade system over other methods was only because is majorly perceived as a better method for increasing their academic and professional skills and other such capabilities as it urges them more towards competition in order to be the best. However, this thinking is now being questioned as some modern researchers show the reverse case scenario one from which conducted by Virginia polytechnic Institute and state University.
Researchers used a sample of 300 undergraduate students of Princeton University and Illinois University (SIU) to check how a defined major and grading system affects the attitude of Students towards their studies and how they become progressive in taking of credit hours respective to their grading system ( “jstor” ) They concluded in end that Students eligible for taking pass-fail courses tend to be more advanced in their academic careers, they took more credit hours and get higher quarterly grades as compared to students going with letter grade system and they were observed to be more focused on their studies as instead of focusing just on getting grades higher than others they were learning without any external competitive pressure.
Since the beginning of mankind, we have tried to make things easier in the best possible manner. Evolving through time and inventing different things, it is human beings who use their time in a productive way and explore every corner of life. All these inventions and hard work which is done to make this era a prosperous one goes in vain, when we as the predecessors do not take benefit from them and remain entangled in trivial issues. As most of the students (the youth) remain in stress, depression and the evils of constant pressure of competition among them has been deeply rooted in them from their childhood through letter grade system to better be from everyone else if they want to live a happy life which however affects their life adversely. A research, conducted by a group of Ph.D. scholars on the medical students of the first year, shows through the preliminary evidence many benefits of pass-fail grading system which includes those took pass-fail method showed more satisfaction with their results and showed psychological wellbeing, improved mood, increase in group cohesiveness and adhesion instead of competing to out past one another and reduce stress.
It has vast benefits in long terms also as the tested sample briefly showed its positive impact on students even after reverting to their traditional 5 letter grading system. (“facsen”) Letter grade is contemporary approach if we see in terms of educational system, even after accepting it as major process to test objectivity of students it is subjective in itself , also as the world evolves every system does too because means of surviving and even traditional norms are changing too because of the effects of Globalization thus means of measuring should change too, It might be good in older times , however now the companies , firms and current economy is on verge to found the applicants and persons with good interpersonal skills , able to work as group member in team forms, interdependent and instead of becoming superior to others trying to achieve the main Goal of team, department or company by passing the information and knowledge among other members and even between other workers or employees of Company.
The current world seeks such type of Individuals those work on the principles of ‘‘Utilitarianism’’ helping others to achieve their goals and taking everyone in accounts, and not for just their own benefits, prosperity, authority and power. As long we have current traditional grading system there is no possibility of cooperative learning environment where we learn and grow together. This system of letter grade makes us very competitive, which is why we try to pull down others. We just try to excel at the cost of others. How about an environment where we study collectively and help others? Current market leaders and professionals believe in that it’s better to take a half bite of big cake than taking on a small cake all alone.
Unfortunately, what points or letter grade system are incorporating in learners is something reverse of all this. Which Jessica Lahey an English teacher and a column writer of New York Times wrote in her article concluding from a study on her students that in worst case scenarios students learning capabilities and creativity deprives, the bond of trust between students and peer damages adversely, and make them avoid challenging works opting for other easy grade scoring options which results ultimately in preferring grades over learning. (“theatlantic’’)
Majority supporters of letter grade system will argue that it is more efficient in terms of providing feedback to students and parents. And also in a sense to provide suite of assessment to companies and firms which are going to hire them in Future giving them firm background evaluations to assess their applicants. Problem is right there in thinking because education is not just about getting grades to enter in any sector. It is way more than that it shows you the way of living and being a responsible citizen. Education for different people differs from each other. Assessing on just grades and entering into bureaucratic system defies to modern concepts on decentralized companies and firms which are major requirements to thrive these days.
Furthermore letter grade relies more on being punctual in assignments, attendances and other such measures which compiles up whole grade. An alphabet can never demonstrate inner knowledge acquired by a student and there is no easy way of gauging student’s level of performance and knowledge in the examination setup like letter grade. A student can learn more than anyone else and have a vast knowledge of subject but ends up getting bad grade just because he was not present during classes or could not submit assignments in time. Such cases depict that letter grade system is not as perfect as some of the people think and can be misleading many times.
Many of the world top universities have already adopted the pass-fail system one of which is Yale university. (“thecrimson’’). In addition many major tests in Pakistan related to accounting and auditing are already working on this system such as CA and ACCA. Modern era is all about creativity, pinching new ideas, working in teams for mutual benefits, helping others , exploring every possible opportunity , and decentralized working which all is possible when you have experience of working with others achieving goals mutually in order to benefit all and progress collectively with constant incoming knowledge.
When you have a positive social image, good social capital which can influence your group’s and company’s image and make everyone in your sphere happy and prosperous. All of which is achievable when we are used to working like this from start, deeply rooting it as basic intrinsic value. Such values can be incorporated in youth, one step for which is new modified educational system of evaluating students which is pass-fail grading system whose major effects have stated already. Hence it is wise to take a step furthermore toward future accepting how the world works, adopting pass-fail system.
McLaughlin, Gerald W., et al. “A Statistical Analysis of a Pass-Fail Grading System.” The Journal of Experimental Education, vol. 41, no. 1, 1972, pp. 74–77., www.jstor.org/stable/20157329.
Rohe, Daniel E., Patricia A. Barrier, Matthew M. Clark, David A. Cook, Kristin S. Vickers, and Paul A. Decker. “The Benefits of Pass-Fail Grading on Stress, Mood, and Group Cohesion in Medical Students.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings 81.11 (2006): 1443-448. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.
Lahey, Jessica. “Letter Grades Deserve an ‘F’.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 12 Mar. 2014. Web. 13 Mar. 2017. <https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/03/letter-grades-deserve-an-f/284372/>.
“Yale ‘Pass-Fail’ | News | The Harvard Crimson.” Harvard News. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2017. <http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1967/11/4/yale-pass-fail-pthe-yale-college-facultys/>.
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“Thomas A. Edison Quote:.” Thomas A. Edison Quote: “Tomorrow Is My Exam But I Don’t Care Because A Single Sheet Of Paper Can’t Decide My Future.” (5 Wallpapers) – Quotefancy. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2017. <https://quotefancy.com/quote/916480/Thomas-A-Edison-Tomorrow-Is-My-Exam-But-I-Don-t-Care-Because-A-Single-Sheet-Of-Paper-Can>.
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