GPA: Grades, Pressure, Anxiety

 

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PHOTO BY MIKE DICOLA
Students discuss academic endeavors.

BY KHUSHBU KAPADIA
Editor in Chief

As soon as the school year begins, students set goals for themselves like obtaining a higher GPA and earning straight A’s. Pressure can set in as students prepare and motivate themselves to perform the best he or she can on exams and assignments.

However, what happens to that continued pressure on students once grades are eliminated entirely?

There are a couple of colleges that adhere to non-traditional grading systems where no letter grades are issued.

According to College Insider, an online college information source, such colleges without a traditional grading system include: Evergreen State College, Union Institute & University, Goddard College, Hampshire College, Antioch University, New College of Florida and Harvey Mudd College, among others.

According to Nora Dennehy, digital media studies with a concentration in TV production at County College of Morris, more colleges and schools should adhere to a non-traditional grading system.

 

“The point of going to college is to gain knowledge about things you’re interested in so you can hopefully go on to a career in that field,” Dennehy said. “Getting a letter grade doesn’t tell a student what they’re doing right or wrong; it just tells them if they did it right or wrong.”

These colleges with non-traditional grading systems focus on motivating students with the pursuit of knowledge rather than a letter grade.

According to Alfie Kohn, an author and lecturer who focuses on topics including education, parenting and behavior, a non-traditional grading system is much better than receiving an A, B, C, D or F.

Kohn performed a study where he analyzed students who are focus on grades compared with students who aren’t focused on grades.

The study produced these results: “Grades tend to diminish students’ interest in whatever they’re learning, grades create a preference for the easiest possible task and grades tend to reduce the quality of students’ thinking.”

Another CCM student also sides with Dennehy in that schools without letter grades are more favorable than schools with letter grades.

“I feel that colleges should definitely get rid of the grading system,” said Brian Weismantel, a journalism major. “It teaches kids that failing is bad when in reality you have to make mistakes in order to learn.”

According to Kohn, instead of receiving a letter grade for a students’ performance, colleges with non-traditional grading systems adapt to alternative approaches to review a student’s performance.

These approaches, according Kohn, include narrative assessments or conferences and qualitative summaries of the students’ performance.

Alternative approaches have been successfully performed in many schools, including elementary, middle and high schools, as well as colleges and other higher-education institutions.

“It’s important not only to realize that such schools exist, but to investigate why they’ve eliminated grades, how they’ve managed to do so and what benefits they have realized,” stated Kohn in his ar

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