The grading system has many weaknesses and disadvantages regarding actual equitable evaluation. It kind of pulls people down more than it helps. But it is, as well, somehow helpful for comparing the efforts and outputs from students to make it possible to have a range for fair grading. But is that actually the case?
First off: this system might work in some cases, but not as it should. As a high-schooler myself I’ve seen many people being anxious about receiving their marks or even telling their parents about them. Also, there is a constant comparison between students on who got the better mark, which is not helpful at all and only damages the mental health. Especially, because you should only focus on developing a better version of yourself without the opinions and influence of others.
Grading is meant to be a method of giving marks to students in an objective way. This — obviously — doesn’t work quite well due to teachers also being humans with instincts of making decisions based on their personal experiences and opinions. And there is nothing wrong with that! But what is wrong, is building up a system based on these circumstances. It may have worked well in the first few years, but nowadays things have changed rapidly and so should this framework.
The best thing is: we do not even have to reinvent the whole thing, because we could start with some simple changes. The first thing could be to let a teacher correct the tests from another class. This would bring higher chances on a non-personal-opinion-driven marking.
The grading is just a small part of a big schooling system. I prefer the word schooling instead of education at this point, because they are simply not the same, at all. Mark Twain once said: "Don't let schooling interfere with your education" and I think this is pretty much the truth. You cannot make a smart person out of someone by cramming his head full of Algebra and difficult formulas, he will forget after the lesson or the test anyway.
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Albert Einstein
Everyone is an individual human being and simply cannot be squeezed into prescribed patterns. I dream of a schooling system which sometime will foster the talent and interests of every single person attending. I know, this is a little utopian, but I’d be happy if we even just take a little step further into the direction of useful and valuable schooling.
"The new school is YouTube and the new student is autodidact." This is a title of a blog post by Tobias van Schneider, who is a self-taught designer born in Germany, raised in Austria now working in New York. He wrote about his journey on how he got where he is today without any schooling of educational institutions. And I really admire him for doing all this and showing that we don’t need a system that kills productivity, makes learning feel uncomfortable and stressful. In times of the internet and being able to find everything you need online, we do not really need a system like this. Of course, general knowledge is important, but it definitely doesn’t take 12 years to gain the basics.
Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion. Simon Sinek
Being stressed is on of the most harmful thing that can happen to your mental health. It tears you down and it is pretty hard to get up again. A healthy amount of stress is normal and needed, but too much can lead to a burn-out. And guess what? This is exactly the point we’re facing in school. Many students in my class–myself included–are skimming the whole information we need to know for the test to remember. But it actually makes no sense, because we’ll forget is after the test anyway and we also could have just googled the information. Because we can nowadays.
Many famous and successful people dropped out of school/university and are leading the worlds biggest companies today. This should raise some alarms in my opinion. People, that are willing to change something, are limited by a system that is meant to transform people into workers for a nine-to-five job who afterwards get home and watch Netflix until they head to bed.
On the bottom line: My answer is a simple and bold YES. We absolutely need a new system of grading and also education. There are already some great approaches but sadly they’re far away from being the new standards. Until then, we — the students — have to educate ourselves with all the sources we have. And luckily, there are many! And many of them are even free.