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Abolish Grading

In his essay “A Proposal to Abolish Grading , Paul Goodman argues that some of the country ‘s most prestigious universities should eliminate the practice of grading because it hinders learning . He argues that parents should be eliminated from the learning process and that the academic atmosphere would benefit from a renewed emphasis on research and learning for the sake of learning .Goodman ‘s main objective is a laudable one . The idea that learning should not be measured with standardized tests is a genuine objection to the random and inconsequential knowledge measured by that type of testing . He says , “Grading hinders teachings and creates a bad spirit (19 ) He misses part of the point , but is somewhat correct .Testing and grading which requires all students to reach the same proficiency and same conclusions regarding the information presented does not encourage learning . It encourages rote memorization . With enough repetition , most people can memorize any list of facts . However ,to truly learn , to be able to analyze those facts , put them in context and understand what they mean is difficult to test , especially with standardize testing .The problem with most grading is that it is based on random whims of the faculty about what is important to know and not about learning . Two students sitting in the same classroom can achieve completely different learning objectives and completely different grades based on skill levels , personal experience and knowledge coming into the class . Take for example the concept of a politician announcing after 14 years in office that he has chosen not to run again and that he is introducing a new water works project to provide clean water to a million people . To a student of political science , the importance in the announcement might be the incumbent giving up his position . To a humanities or science student , the importance of the statement might be the new water project .Learning is therefore subjective and testing and grading generally are not . Using a rigid system to define and evaluate a subjective state is both belittling and a poor evaluation method .Goodman , in fact , argues that “The prestigious universities should abolish grading , and use testing only and entirely for pedagogic purposes as teachers see fit (19 . This solution is no more accurate than standardize testing , but probably equally as fair . As it exists now , grading only indicates how much a student knows , not how they arrived at that knowledge . As such , if a student arrives in a class completely comfortable with the material to be learned , he can pass the tests , write the papers and answer the professor ‘s questions without learning anything new . However , by the traditional grading system he would receive an “A ‘ for the class . The grade is an inaccurate reflection of his learning in that class . On the other hand , if a student comes into a class with no foreknowledge of the subject and learns even 75 percent of the material presents , he has learned much more form the class , but the grades…

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