Should College Courses Be Graded Pass/Fail?

1023 WordsSep 18, 20115 Pages
Should College Courses be Graded "Pass/Fail?” This morning my son and I sat for a nice breakfast out on our patio to listen to the birds and enjoy the fresh air. Zack is fourteen years old and just finished his freshman year in high school. I posed a question to him, “What motivates you to get a better grade than a C on your assignments and exams?” Zack explained his motivation comes from trying to achieve an A because that’s the best and he tries hard to get the best grade. I then asked him, “What if your assignments and exams were graded only as a pass or fail, would you just do the minimum work that was required to get by?” His answer actually surprised me. He explained that without the pressure of meeting the grading…show more content…
The University of California at Santa Cruz and Washington’s Evergreen State University attempted a system that deemphasized grading for a more relaxed curriculum. They found that with a few notable exceptions students lacked the motivation and maturity to enhance their educational experience and learned less not more. Innovations such as one- or two-week study periods between the end of classes and the beginning of final examinations, intended to allow students to explore more deeply the issues touched on in their courses that stimulated their intellectual curiosity, produced more beer parties and ski trips than hours in the library (Hanson, page 220). Society also requires graded tests to measure aptitude and competency in specific professions just like the ones used in the military, as ASVAB tests scores identify the occupations that best suit tested abilities. A grading base ensures these students also meet the level required when testing for other graded processes in their professional life. For example, many professions have qualifying tests for promotions, occupations, and other specialized skills and knowledge examinations. Because of these issues it is tough to move to pass/fail criteria that may fail the students level of basic understanding needed when left to their own control. A grading system seems to be a part of society. A pass/fail system is actually in the UMUC system already; it’s called a “C” grade. The greatest way to use
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