Friday, January 14, 2011

Grades gotta go! (contributor post)

Grades gotta go!  Grades suck and serve no purpose.  I spend all my time worrying about not getting a bad grade that I never remember what I was supposed to learn after the class is done.  I forget what I was supposed to learn after the exam is done. wtf

I get graded on my writing by some profs who don’t write that well themselves.  I have to cram for exams to puke information that doesn’t mean anything.  I get points for attending class.  What’s that all about?  How does getting points for attendance actually measure how well I am doing in school?

I’d love a class where I didn’t have to worry about grades at all.  I’d probably learn a lot more.  Grades are unreliable and they count against my learning.  That’s my rant.  Grades gotta go!


  1. Sam believes that you can take some of your classes pass - fail right now! This may be what you need!

    But hang in there, in four years depending on your status, soon, no mo classes, no mo grades. Welcome to the land of the super learners!


  2. I don't really think it has much to do with learning. grades are like a measure of progress and they need a tool to measure it, so exams and papers. Remember, college is less based on learning now and more based on getting a piece of paper that says you can get shit done.

    I do agree that college is based on cramming for exams. You prepare for the test, take it, dump the info. Rinse and repeat. If you don't use the info you learn in classes then how long does it take you to forget most of it?

    Now i can follow you 100% about the silly mandatory attendence policy many profs have. I can understand in some Freshman classes it may help students get used to being on a schedule. I say that if you can learn the material and pass your exams on your own then you shouldn't need to go to class if you don't need to. I think it's better if you do, but you shouldn't have a penelty if you don't. You most certainly shouldn't be rewarded. Think about it, i could be on a D-C border and get the C because of attendance.

    I still think we need grades because it's important to have a way to make sure people are doing work, it's like the school paycheck. I do wish there was a way to make learning and knowledge more important then exams.

    Prof Chaos

  3. Yeah, seriously why take attendance? If I want to go I'll go. If I don't want to go, don't make me go. I payed for it. College is supposed to be different than high school.

    Grades are dumb too. Way too subjective. Adn I can't take all my classes P/F.

  4. All of the studies I've seen on "extrinsic motivation" have shown that it's kind of terrible in a lot of ways. People who love doing a particular task can actually have their love for that task killed by the presence of a consistent external reward, such as money (or, I imagine, grades).

    At the same time, there are a lot of people who don't "love" to do anything terribly productive to begin with. It arguably benefits society to "force" them into performing useful tasks with this method. It's just very bothersome that this method is so widespread as to inflict the members of society who are intrinsically motivated and honestly love what they do, be it school or otherwise.

  5. OK, Sam hears you. You don't like the system. Permit Sam to go on a little rant here.

    Sam agrees with you, grades may be dumb, like following speed limits or paying taxes, but this is the system. If you don't want to play the game then change the rules. Here are a few examples of people who changed the rules.

    The founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates did not finish Harvard. Michael Dell transformed his dorm room into a warehouse to sell computers, the beginning of Dell Computers. Steve Jobs left Reed College after a semester. Hemingway did not go to college at all; his mentors were Pound, Stein, and Joyce. John Mayer left Berkee College after a semester. Richard Wright, author of Black Boy and Native Son, did not even finish high school. Even the great Picasso studied art on his own in Barcelona. They changed the rules. You can too!

    Never lose sight of the fact that college is a self perpetuating system that is not always in the best interests of those "trapped" inside its walls. One of my colleagues used to say that Harvard has messed up more people than moonshine whiskey. Bush has a Harvard MBA! Nuff said.

    So Sams says, milk the system for all its worth, discard the rest of the bullshit, graduate with good grades and go on and do your own thing. Depending on circumstances, college credentials, including grades, may get you to the next level.

    Against the combined Greek forces,including Achilles (not Brad Pitt), Troy held out for ten long years before being destroyed by Odysseus and the wooden horse. Surely you can survive four years of college!


  6. Ok, i must say i agree and would like to hear more. This blog space is about rationalized points and critical thinking, offering solutions to the problems we see and inform others about. I would love to see an article from you!