The Effect Schools’ Grading Systems Have on Students

Instead of kids enjoying the schooling process, they are in a desperate search to find the right answers, in fear of failure.

In Dr. Tae’s Ted Talk, “Can skateboarding save our schools,” reveals the negative influences schools have on students’ futures and learning capacity. He explains the impact grades have on student education, as well as finding challenges that slightly pass our limits to encourage learning. Dr. Tae strives to tell his audience to look outside the spectrum of school and explore the knowledge you value. Investigating his Ted Talk, I chose to focus on one topic he discussed, which was the failing school grading system.

From his lesson, I discovered that I too found graded knowledge to change my viewpoint towards education. At a young age, I began my singing and piano lessons. Don’t get me wrong I still participated in these classes, but as I advanced, my love for music gradually went astray. There were constant requirements to attain perfection, and I was pressured to play and sing pieces to my teachers’ standards. Similar to grades, the demands given made me feel that my freedom was restricted and I felt that I was not learning for me, but for my teachers instead. Whenever people asked me if I love music, the first thing that came to mind was “I would appreciate music more if I hadn’t been forced to play songs I didn’t like.” As I look back, I wanted to like music, and I wanted to be good at it, but with so many expectations, my motivation to achieve success depleted completely. In the end, I only participated in these musical talents to please my parents, teachers, and friends, rather than myself. I soon stopped taking pleasure in music realizing it was once something I relied on as entertainment to something I dreaded every Monday and Tuesday evening.

Grades not only lose the interest of many people, but it also loses the value of learning. Grades are used to observe the performance of students, and how much you have mastered the course. To most students, grades are letters, it’s something that somewhat reflects your academic knowledge, but mainly it is something we use to grant us into advanced schools, and for colleges to be amazed at. Over time, as courses become advanced, students find an easier way to achieve an A grade. During this process, they don’t learn the material, but instead they skim through it and use shallow methods to get a high score. They spend their time worrying about what letter they are going to receive rather than figuring out how to actually do the work. Students sacrifice their high school education by chasing a grade in order to get noticed by colleges. However, are students really achieving success? Are they really the students you make them out to be because of their grades? A letter limits so much of students’ learning capabilities, and they become obsessed with these grades because it determines their future entirely.

Instead of kids enjoying the schooling process, they are in a desperate search to find the right answers, in fear of failure. Students will then have less interest in education, and more interest in doing anything to obtain good grades, hinting at cheating. In my observation, letters do not prove a student’s worth. Grades have changed the way many students view knowledge; would they rather learn just to pass the class, or to actually learn something? School has taught us the importance of success, but the schools’ ways of achieving this success is noticeably different from their intention.

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