Students Vs. the System
Students Vs. the System
Students vs. the System
Education has always been a great factor in determining human survival and success. Whether it is learning to live in a harsh environment or learning to manage a company, education is and always will be incredibly significant. Education is so important in modern society that a system of grades has been developed to evaluate students of all ages and levels. In Paul Goodman’s essay “A Proposal to Abolish Grading” he argues that the grading system that is commonly used in our society is ineffective and should be done away with. This idea is wrong since there are many positive outcomes that result from the current grading system.
Goodman opens up his piece by making his claim that grades have take precedence over everything in classrooms. He also mentions that some authorities in the educational field agree with and support this statement. “I think that a majority of professors agree that grading hinders teaching and creates a bad spirit, going as far as cheating and plagiarizing” (Goodman 206). Here, he talks about how grading has lost its power, and has been reduced to a meaningless letter on paper that tempts students to cheat in order to receive a passing grade on their assignments. He also goes on to declare that, “…grading is inevitable; for how else will the graduate schools, the foundations, and corporations know whom to accept…” (Goodman 206). By expressing these ideas in such close proximity, it can be inferred that Goodman believes grades are unreliable sources of data due to cheating. Although cheating is a prevalent problem in all places of work, it should not be a reason to disregard looking at grades when considering an applicant for hire. Letter grades from all schools simply represent the work ethic of that particular student. The threat that a person who received high grades could be a cheater is always present, but the characteristics of a cheater can easily be recognized by other workers and by the employer. So the belief that grades are unreliable due to cheating is erroneous, due to the fact that not all students are cheaters. The grading system simply provides a standard that all students should fall under, which implies that all applicants be educated. This is just a small sample of what Goodman includes in this essay.
Two other topics that Goodman covers in good detail are the purpose of a test and the self-awareness of a student. Tests are an excellent tool used by administrators to sample the abilities of a certain individual, or group of individuals. “But if the aim is to discover weakness, what is the point of down-grading and punishing it, and thereby inviting the student to conceal his weakness, by faking and bulling, if not cheating?” (Goodman 208). Why is testing for weakness a bad thing? If a test is returned to a student and it is heavy with errors, it is the student’s responsibility to correct the mistakes for the next test. Once a student has realized this, in Goodman’s eyes, they have become self-aware. “If the student dares to accept himself as he is, a teacher’s grade is a crude instrument compared with a student’s self-awareness” (Goodman 208). Throughout the essay, there is a feeling that the author relays that all students are looking to only get by in school, but in real life, that is certainly not the case. As a matter of fact, very many students in high schools are very determined to achieve their goals, so they work hard and learn to attain them, rather than taking an easy route to a good grade. Getting high letter grades is a powerful motivation for students who know what they want. For those with competitive spirits, high grades can be used to measure one’s own ranking