The Importance Of Letter Grade In Education

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“Despite our best intentions, grades seem to reflect student compliance more than student learning and engagement” (Vatterott 1). Report cards and letter grades have been around for generations. Many students can relate to ‘hiding’ a bad report card that shows they failed a class. Over the years, there has been a steady decline in education and test scores. There are many different standardized testing that our schools are taking, but one important one is known as PISA. PISA stands for “Programme for International Student Assessment.” This is a test given to 15 year olds, measuring their performance in Math, Reading, and Science. In 2015, 35 industrialized countries participated in this test, and the United States was ranked 31st (Barshay). This decline from previously ranked scores leads us to ask why our scores are dropping. It is clear that education has become something different than it once was. Students are no longer gaining copious amounts of knowledge but working towards a letter grade and losing most of the information after this grade is received. While grades can provide an idea of where students stand and show their growth, they need to be modified. In the education system, receiving letter grades lowers self esteem, provides an inaccurate measure of ability, brings unnecessary stress upon students, and should be changed. Forcing students to work towards a letter grade is proven to cause stress. Denise Clark Pope, in the school of Education, followed high
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