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OPINION: Letter grades don't define you

<p>Christian Kinsey</p>

Christian Kinsey

Grades tend to define every student from kindergarten through college. It's a standard we must rethink.

A child who sees a D or F next to their name comes to believe that is who they are. They believe they are dumb. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Those who've known me for the past two years would likely think I fit the traditional "good student" model. I carry a 3.875 grade-point average and have above average standardized test scores. However, I was not always like that. Before I made a change, I had a 1.5 GPA. My grades were mostly Ds and Fs, with the occasional C, but I was the same student then that I am now. I knew I needed to change my ways, and I started completing all of my work and refocused my priorities towards earning nothing less than an A.

The continuous shoveling of standardized testing and computerized aptitude assessments just makes it worse. Kids are convinced that a single letter or a series of numbers can truly define them. I'm here to tell you that that's not true. Grades do not measure your intelligence.

The current system is a simple game of memorization. In many instances, students don't actually learn.

When I took driver's training, I memorized the entire instruction book cover to cover, and I passed with flying colors. A year and a half later, my younger brother is now in driver's training, and I can't recall anything from my experience.

With any system, there are always anomalies, and there are many that argue that our current system is the way to go. Grades help measure what students actually learn, they argue.

I wholeheartedly disagree. While the intent of the grading system was likely positive, it has not stayed that way.

Simply put, this is not the right way to grade students in 2017. At times, it feels as if they want students to conform to a standard learning and assessment styles. The idea of this makes me sick.

To this I say that there is no way a grade can represent the intelligence a student has to offer.

Let's rid ourselves of this letter fixation once and for all.


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