Grades Do Not Reflect Intelligence

The sports world has seen vast changes within the last few months due to COVID-19. With large corporations such as the NBA and NFL using safety precautions such as only operating their stadiums at limited capacity,
Despite the statewide change to proficiency grading, schools across Oregon continue to focus on grades rather than passing standards, and more importantly, thoroughly learning the material. Because of this focus, many students use inefficient or unethical methods to achieve results.  Students often take basic classes to get an “easy A” or they will use last minute cramming and cheating to receive good grades in more challenging courses. The outcome of this situation is that students are nt gaining any knowledge and are therefore unequipped for jobs and further education.

For years, high GPAs have been heralded as the be-all end-all of successful high school students. Valedictorians and salutatorians are praised at graduation, and some universities set GPA limits of 2.5 or 3.0 and higher. However, these practices have led to a new balance in high schools across America where students find the right combination of easy classes and cheating in more difficult required classes in order to maintain mediocrity while appearing to exceed expectations. These students are rewarded for their laziness, and the negative consequences do not catch up to them until after it is already too late to remedy the situation.

While proficiency grading is a step in the right direction, educators are too wary to stray far from the path that has been laid by their predecessors. However, if students begin to learn comprehensive material rather than continue riding the second-rate wave several generations have coasted on, these educators must reshape the mold. In accordance with these changes, universities need to adjust their criteria for entrance. This way, students will not only receive a better education, but will also have ample opportunity to attend college.

One solution would be to change all courses to a pass or fail system. In order to receive credit for the course, students would be required to pass core standards. Each class would be graded solely on tests. In order for colleges and scholarship committees to sort the ordinary from the extraordinary, students could perhaps pass more than the set amount of standards for each class. For instance, an English student may be required to pass five standards to receive a half a credit. However, if the student were to pass 10 standards, they might receive a mark of distinction that would show a greater effort. In addition, students could attempt to pass more difficult standards to receive greater recognition.

If there is not an immediate change in the way students are assessed, the quality and effectiveness of education in the US will continue to decline. Oregon is the perfect place to start this academic revolution because complete proficiency grading is already an expectation. It is not too much of a stretch to continue on to a completely standards based system. It is not going to be easy to make the transition, but it is necessary if educational growth is to continue in the general population. An uneducated mind is easily swayed and manipulated. If success is the goal, the number one priority needs to be educational growth, no matter how difficult.