Is My Greatness Determined by a Grade?

Upon my experience, I do I fully agree on the idea of major courses being graded using a pass/ fail method. The reason I believe that my grades in core subjects such as mathematics, English, and science should be graded using a pass/fail grading system is mainly due to the academic rigor that is usually required. During my 11 years in the public education system I have come to realize that everyone, and I mean everyone has different philosophies and tactics to making a successful grade. However, just because these people may succeed in making a superior grade, that does not make them or their work any better than the next person who might be unsuccessful.

I truly believe that there is a never ending source of students who have an amazing academic gift and float through their schoolwork just as gracefully as the uber frazzled wonderkind whose entire life is the basis of school work. Because of this, the idea of the indoctrination of giving someone a letter grade creates an immediate air of; “You are here! You are there! These other students are at the top! And because I feel that you have not executed this assignment correctly you are indeed at the bottom!” Therefore to basically stamp a level of someone’s performance by a letter grade; which during these times preparing for college can prove to be a bit daunting and overrated; especially when it has an omnipotent correlation to my college of choice which is basically my future. I vividly remember the first time I had ever seen an assignment graded as a “0” was on a television show called Fairly Oddparents. Just the thought of such a horrible grade seemed so distant and basically impossible. I truly thought that no one would be as cruel to give someone a stamp of a “0” which basically made it seemed as if they had a complete careless disregard to their work or effort. Then literally a few days later I was burdened with the unjust experience of getting a zero on a pretest for an assignment.

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May I remind you, this is 3rd grade. Oh how dreadful this day was for me. The overloading of emotions and the extraneous idea of getting a zero on an assignment, proved to be just as animated and surreal as expected. I began to slowly feel my cheeks burn with an intense rage. I thought my complexion was turning red and then I remembered quite quickly that I was black.

The massive waterfall tears streamed continuously and they were hot, and they had an incredibly salty taste which I kind of liked. As they went away I sort of missed the sensation and salty tasting tears. Now my cheeks were beginning to become crusted, because the tears had hardened like liquid cement. Fast forward to high school, and the idea of getting a zero is seeming to be nonchalant and carefree to students. This circumstance makes me question the value and essence of letter grades.

I feel that if we would be given a pass/ fail method our intelligence and overall performance academically will not be questioned. With the pass/ fail method I would be able to note whether or not I executed the purpose of an assignment correctly. After I did a little research on schools that have the highest acceptance rate to Ivy league schools, one of the most Ivy accepted schools was St. Anne’s School in New York City. The grading system for these schools is pass/ fail, and a written evaluation of students’ performance. Personally I have never been graded by a pass/ fail system, but I do think it would be cool to.

I just would appreciate a little bit more of an analysis of my performance. Others feel that letter grades are the best choice of a grading system. To that philosophy, I impose the question: How can someone’s performance be determined by a letter? Are there truly only 5 symbols to classify one’s academic talent? Others, including my father; who is a school teacher recently argued that due to the fact that Americans more easily relate to a letter grade, the quality of work that students do and turn in is easily affected. With a letter grading system a student turns in an assignment and they can almost immediately tell the type of grade they would receive. This type of grading is not ideal.

I believe that a pass/ fail method will be a better choice.