Does grades encourage students to learn
Almost in every modern society, grades play an import role in assessing students’ academic ability. There are all kinds of tests to winnow out weak students. Knowledge itself is so complicate and vast, each one of the test usually cannot cover every aspect of it. So I wonder whether grades can really encourage students to learn.
The basic reason why I disapprove of the title statement lies in the belief that grades usually do not have positive impact on student who is strong or weak alike. Take the example of a student who has high grades: if Tom gets good grades in the class, normally he will feel conceited. This situation certainly will not lead him into finding some blind spots or weak points in his study. And he will not realize that may be just his photographic memory helps him a lot or this kind of test suits him well. Let us look at another example: suppose Johnny is so not good at memorization, but he works very hard. Unfortunately, he got poor grades in tests that facilitate memorization. One can foresee what harm will bring to him due to the poor grades. In these cases, grades play a negative role in encouraging students to learn.
Most important of all, the grades are usually a convenient way of assessing a student’s academic ability. But it is by no means a scientific one. Teachers cannot determine from the grades whether the student is hardworking (diligent) or out of cram. Given tests to all students regardless of their individual characters and traits, is just like forcing everyone to wear shoes of the same size. The Famous educationist Confucius said two thousands years ago: “teaching students in accordance with their aptitude.” Our world is a colorful world, so should our educational system be.
Grades, especially poor grades will frustrate potentially successful students to learn. It will give them a false impression that their intelligence may be inferior to other students. The worst thing about poor grades is that it may have repercussions in an underachiever’s heart when all his fellow students and teacher have long forgotten. In fact, the potential talent of a student will be strangled by those poor grades – a real pity to the student and the society.
Last but not the least, there is some advantages in taking grades as a tool to evaluate students’ academic performance. As in my humble opinion, they should be combining with other scientific methods to encourage students to gain knowledge but not solely focus their energy on how to achieve high scores. After all, it is the knowledge that it is power, not the grades.