The education system is one of the oldest systems in the world. It affects society in all aspects of social, political as well as economic sectors. The need for progress evaluation is the main reason for the introduction of the examination system in education. An examination was the prevailing means of evaluating the progress of students. The modern system of examination provides the ground to evaluate the impact of the instructor on students. This paper discusses benefits and disadvantages of the grading system as well as of the use of the pass or fail criteria during college examinations.
The grading system is more effective than the pass or fail criteria in evaluation of performance of students during examinations.
Importance of the Traditional Stratified Grading System. The stratified grading system challenges students to strive for excellence in their education as well as their professional occupations. The system that applies the use of letters A to F has been used to grade students for ages. Most students say that when this system is used, it motivates them to perform better in their examinations. One of the characteristics of this system of grading is stiff competition between students. This results in that students end up studying harder for their examination. This strive of excellence translates directly to their professional life. This system provides a competent labor force in the market and as a result, alleviates the economy of a country. This reflects well on the economy of India, which is known to have one of the most competitive examination systems in the world. The stratified method of grading students is one of the best criteria that can be used to select the most suitable field of specialization. As much as a student may want to specialize on the subjects he or she finds interesting, the scores in this subject are the best determinants of the suitability of that choice. A student may receive a higher score in a subject of less interest than in the one he finds exiting. The student will be wise to choose a subject according to his ability of performance.
The Negative Influence of the Pass and Fail Criteria. Most institutions are transforming their grading system to the pass or fail criteria and this is taking a toll on the performance of students. This system evaluates if a student have attained a certain level of performance or not. As a result, students end up becoming more relaxed as the effort placed towards academic excellence diminishes. This system of grading fails to reward students according to their level of achievement. All students who score grades of A, B and C receive a pass. Their counterparts who score grades of D and below receive a fail. This demotivates hardworking students and, as a result, many students aim for a minimum performance that will guarantee them a pass. This system of grading could also be deceiving to the student, as employers in the market may need their transcript. Most of the employers are prejudiced about the pass or fail criteria of the student, as it does not give the accurate illustration of the performance of the student. Strengths of the student as well as his weaknesses do not show well and this may deter efforts to improve grades of the students. As a result, a student who scores C’s will remain comfortable with this kind of performance as he will be no different from an A student.
As much as the traditional stratified system of grading is in actual sense one of the best methods applied in examination, it still has certain disadvantages. There are conflicting opinions that claim that the system of grading puts pressure to perform well, which may be uncomfortable for the student. The pressure to high performance has been the major contributor to the high rate of college dropouts in the society. Students drop out of college to avoid the shame and disappointment that is associated with failure in exams. The pressure has also led to a number of suicides among students. The majority of cases involving students cheating in exams result from the pressure to score high grades. The rate of increase of diseases that associated with high pressure is significant. Cases of hypertension, depression as well as mental conditions are on the rise because of pressure to perform well. On the other hand, some stakeholders suggest that the lack of motivation to perform well in the pass or fail system can be substituted with a number of positive effects. Among them is collectiveness and collaboration within the student body. Students work together in this system of grading and this proves to be useful for the creation of a positive society.
The bottom line remains that the traditional stratified system of grading is still superior to the pass or fail system of grading. The competitiveness associated with their grading system provides for an environment of motivated achievement. The pass or fail criteria is accorded with less motivation for high achievement. The traditional system, however, creates negative pressure, while the pass or fail grading system promotes team work.