Cookies and Capacitors

Grades don't matter

Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 11:00AM

My recent revolt against education has people wondering what my grades have become. However, I must explain to them that grades are meaningless. As it stands, a student is able to refuse homework, only take the tests, and still learn all taught material. Homework doesn’t prove one knows information, therefore, neither do grades.

Take, for instance, myself and AP Physics. I don’t complete a single assignment and still manage to earn a B solely with tests. Tests are worth up to ten percent more than the assignments, so acing tests (usually one-hundred percent) gives me a grade of seventy-five percent. The AP grade bump then pushes that seventy-five percent to an eighty-five percent, thus showing a B on my report card. Is this fair to give me an eighty-five percent when I know everything the teacher taught? I certainly don’t think so. Homework is busywork that may be useful to others, but is not to me. I’m not complaining, though, as I’m satisfied with my own knowledge.

Another instance of this happening is in AP Language and Composition. There are two main classes of assignments: class work and major writing assignments. The class work is worth a measly thirty-percent, while major writing assignments are worth seventy. Since I get such good scores on my papers, I don’t need to worry about the pesky busywork. Getting a seventy-percent allows me to receive the AP grade bump to an eighty-percent, thus earning a satisfactorily grade.

Changing the current method would be easy: if school boards would accept a pass/fail grading method, or a method based primarily on mid-term and final exams, students would be tested on whether they know the required material rather than how well they can follow a procedure. There is one flaw in this model: parents, who were brought up on the old system, do not agree with the new model of grading. In essence, parents are holding their children back from the opportunities their children deserve.

I abuse the school’s benefit system to play by the rules administrators set: get good grades. But since I can earn decent grades with doing significantly less work than by using the ‘old fashioned’ method, grades are rendered untrustworthy. If a student, like me, can bypass the old ways of a corrupted system, the method in which students are graded must be changed.