students in class raising hand

Dividing students into A, B, C groups is a popular trend. The letter grading system is used in the increasing number of schools. However, far not all academics agree that this format is efficient and objective.

Most parents don’t want to dig deep and make attempts to understand why their children fail. It is convenient for them to get simple symbols signaling that their kids are hard-working or lazy, smart or stupid. It should be understood that this approach is a half-truth and a kind of spectacle, and it is not worth fully relying on it.

In this article, experts from ProPapers have outlined important facts about letter grading which all moms and dads should know.

Letter grading is misleading

What do A and B mean? What young people should know to be called A students? What B students don’t know? It is challenging to understand which criteria educators use to divide learners into categories. In addition, education is a complex process influenced by numerous factors. One symbol is not enough to describe it. Just imagine that your character is labeled with a single letter. Would surrounding people understand whether you are a good or bad person? Of course, no. There are many nuances which should be taken into account.

Teachers don’t like letter grades

Statistics show that most educators would like to use other grading systems. But, unfortunately, teachers are not at power to establish rules.

Letters don’t mean what you think they mean

People often think that letter grades summarize all person’s qualities and capabilities. For example, A means that a person is smart, hard-working, talented, ready to enroll in a college or get a scholarship. In fact, A refers to a certain activity and means that a person has passed a test well, written a good essay, or answered teacher’s questions correctly. A doesn’t mean that a student is good or bad in everything because one may get B or C at the next lesson, and this would not mean that one has become another person.

Educators tend to divide young people into groups based on academic performance. They think: “A students are smart and talented, while F students are lazy and stupid.” This division is similar to the caste system in India. Teachers show favoritism and oppress underperforming learners, create an atmosphere of inequity and discrimination. It is rather difficult to deserve respect if somebody has labeled you as “not smart and capable enough”.

What about C students? Academics use the letter C if young people’s knowledge is average. But, in fact, there is nothing wrong with being average. If we consider statistics, it would become clear that most learners are average, and only a few of them are notably successful or failing. C allows students to relax and think: “Everything is okay with me. I am not a loser.” There is no stimulus to make efforts and move on.

B means that a person shows higher results than average academic standards prescribe, studies better than most of one’s peers. To get A, a student should exceed average indicators by at least two levels. There may be more levels because A is a maximum. This means that a talented sculpting student and Leonardo Da Vinci would both get A. Letter grades are demotivating because A loses the status of an amazing achievement. Good students don’t see space for growth and settle for what they already have.

Each professor may interpret letters in one’s own way. If there are no additional explanations, students wouldn’t even understand what was done wrong and what they have to correct, just believe that low marks are their fate and nothing can be done with this.

Letters block creativity

Because of letter grades, learners are afraid to show creativity and make wrong steps, way too focused on their low status and a poor reputation in a student community. This prevents generating new ideas and overshadows bright prospects.

Academics fail to innovate grading

“Innovating” means replacing letters with numbers (1-4), standards, or using no marks at all. Unfortunately, educators haven’t yet found an ideal formula which may be applied for all assignments and activities. The lack of progress may be explained by the fact that grading systems are innovated by the same bodies which create them. Many problems and mistakes go unnoticed, or academics find it way too laborious to change something.

Just imagine that there is no tax inspection and each company controls its budget single-handedly. Would entrepreneurs have strong stimuli to conclude fair deals and avoid dirty money? The temptation to earn extra by participating in shady businesses is way too strong. Therefore, an external observer is needed.


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