The simple fact that this question is being debated on an authentically intellectual website is preposterous. While grades are not the only measure of a student’s capabilities, it is definitely the most accurate. Not only do grades show actual comprehension of the subject matter, they also evaluate a student’s willingness to participate in class, their desire to attain understanding of the subject, and the student’s level of maturity.
With that being said, simply looking at a report card cannot give the college an accurate assessment of the studen’t abilities. To truly understand the scholastic aptitude of a student, it is necessary to look at all areas in which the student is being graded. Is the student coming to class regularly? When in class, is the student willing and/or able to participate? Is the student completing homework assignments? How well is the student doing on tests?
Each of these areas of concentration have inherent relationships to emotional and physical traits of the student. If a student rarely attends class, but does well on the tests, it could be an indication that the student finds the class to be remedial. If a student shows up to every class but never turns in assignments, it could show that they want to be involved, but are not responsible enough to work independently. If a student comes to class regulary, participates in class, turns in assignments on time, and does well on the tests, that student should be rewarded with a higher grade than the other students.
If we look at grades from a psychological perspective, they are nothing more than rewards for good behavior. Reward systems are used with nearly every group that is subject to the scrutiny of another group. Dogs are given treats by their masters when they hold their urine until they are outside. Toddlers may get their favorite cookie if they behaved well on a trip to the supermarket. Teenagers are given more freedom as they demonstrate more responsibility. Even adults are rewarded (although not as often as we would like) with raises for working at or above expected levels.
It is the professor’s responsibility to analyze grades throughout semesters (or quarters, depending on how each learning establishment is set up). As is true with any profession, not all professors utilize the tools that they have at their disposal. Each professor will look at their grading system differently. Some will grade on a curve, depending on where he/she feels the class is as a whole intellectually. Some are more rigid about their grading system than they are with their parenting. Neither way of grading is wrong…they are just different.
Learning how to work up to the standards of each individual professor is part of the education tthat you receive in college. It is preparation for a world of employers that all look for different qualities in potential employees. The one quality that every employer looks for is education. The higher the degree attained, the more money that a candidate is likely to start out making.
Where some believe that taking away all grading systems would level the playing field. I believe that eliminating grades is not a way to elevate everyone to a higher level; it brings everyone down to the lowest common denominator, which, of course, is money. Without grades, an employer could only look at the name (and cost) of the university; therefore, the children of the wealthiest parents would be considered the best candidates, regardless of their performance at that school. In my opinion, that would ultimately lead to a caste system that would rival India’s treatment of the “untouchables”.