What are we really stressing over? It’s letter grades, not learning.
If we eliminated grades, students could absorb knowledge and grow, without forced competition for a top grade point average.
Grade inflation has devalued grades, so that the A everyone strives to earn is less meaningful.
The competition to be accepted into the most exclusive institutions has caused the student body to lose focus on the goals of high school: pursuit of knowledge and personal growth. Priority has shifted to future aspirations, which has eliminated the engagement in present demands. We have lost sight of the meaning of our education.
We should be self-motivated and pushed by our peers to excel, not for glory or for recognition by an elite university.
The only way to minimize competition would be to eliminate the symbols that seem to direct our work and our thoughts. We should remove any form of evaluative style that relies on percentages or letter grades, and instead shift to thoughtful and constructive written comments.
Although these narrative assessments would be converted to grade point averages for the purpose of applying to colleges and universities, students wouldn’t be driven by these numbers, and instead could focus on the present work and immerse their full consciousness in their studies.
Wildwood School, a progressive private secondary school in Los Angeles, has a similar reporting system. Even Brown University has a pass/fail system. Mastery of material should be the focus of teaching and learning, not grades.