Education is continuously evolving. Teaching methods change, subjects change, and technology has changed the way students and teachers work. Unfortunately, the grading method used in public schools seems not to be evolving at all.
Teachers are stuck assigning a number to students, determining this way how valid they are. If lucky, you might receive some brief observations related to your work.
Is it possible to accurately represent the work of more than five months with a single grade? I do not think so. There are aspects, such as the effort of a student, that get omitted and eclipsed by his/her mark. This ends up rewarding students who have the capacity of getting good grades even if they put less effort on their subjects, and damaging students who try their best but find more difficulties.
Students need report cards with greater amounts of information, so they can be conscious about their progress.
The level of importance that grades have reached has made them the main focus for most of the students. Learning has become a secondary aspect; students are worried about passing their tests, and some of them are willing to cheat.
The priority of a student should be getting to know as much as possible of the subject they are learning. Instead of that, we memorize the contents we are told to and write all the information we are able to remember during the test, probably forgetting it days after. No analysis of the received information is done, no interpretation of it, can we call this learning?
Students who want to learn if they are not getting a 50% are not a frequent case. We forgot why we are here; we are supposed to be learning, but instead of that, we are fixated on grades above all else.
Learning should be the most emphasized aspect of an education system. If students could have more chances of self-evaluating their work, they would be more concerned about their formation and would care less about an external grade received for it, reducing the cheating and improving the confidence teachers would have on their students during tests.
It is obvious that there are things that are not working in our current marking method, but is it possible to drastically reduce marking and its importance? According to an article published by The Globe and Mail, titled “At an Ontario high school, a mark-less math class is challenging how students engage in learning,” it seems to be. The marking got reduced to a midterm and a final grade, making students anxious at the start because of not knowing their percentages after assignments or tests, but after they got used to it, they started analyzing math concepts in a deeper way, became less stressed and more engaged with their work, and improved their average by 5%.
This might not be a perfect alternative, but it is definitely a healthier way of learning than the current reality for BC students, where students suffer less and learn more.