This is something I wrote for Melissa in 2007 for English 105. hahaha.
When a child steps into his first grade in school or nursery, he/she embarks upon a journey which apparently seems exciting to him/her. As long as this feeling remains intact in his/her mind, the learning happens instantly and like a fluid process. The accurate reason for such productive education is the absence of grading in kindergarten/nursery schools or. Unfortunately, as the students enter the realm of grades and get lost within it, the deterioration of education process starts. Paul Goodman, in his article “A Proposal to Abolish Grading,” introduces facts and logics about why grading system should be abolished as it creates unhealthy competition among students which hampers the actual learning process. He also mentions the problems it creates for both the brighter and the weaker students. From my very own point of view and personal experiences, I have reached the verdict that the abolishment of grading system is not only a modest option but it is an inevitable tool for the damage control of the dilapidated education system of today.
In Bangladesh, there are thousands of examples of students who are bright but their talents are not judged in scale that is required to nurture the power within them, thanks to the traditional grading system. Unfortunately, I have seen my friend “Saad“ go through such a turmoil. In the education system of our country, we are given the choice of selecting Science, Commerce or Arts as our major career paths after the completion of 8th grade. As a tradition, the authoritative parents (another group of villains to the education system) find it prestigious for their wards to take “Science” as their career choice and in order to do that, the student needs to score fireworks in the exams of the 8th grade. My friend, on the other hand, was really good in logic and economics and had no interest in the typical physics, chemistry and mathematics. But due to the constant persuasion of his family, he had to take up a career choice in science. Little, did the parents know that Saad would be kicked out of the school for his failing grades in the scientific subjects the following year. Here, it is evident that the current evaluation system, named “Grading System” can ruin a life, not to mention, misjudging talents. To illustrate the flaw even more, I need to mention that, after being kicked out of school, Saad had a terrible life for one year but then he chose his independent way of a career in “Chartered Accountancy”, where the exams are mostly done in a practical manner. If we look at him today, he is one of the most successful friends I have ever had in my life. If this is does not reflect enough disgrace on the grading system, I do not know what will.
Another very disturbing effect of the grading system is its ability to discriminate the students in different ways and dividing them in different leagues, based on their performances. It creates such an unhealthy environment even in the class rooms, let alone the whole system. With the existence of such a grading system, a certain group of students will be turned into bullies; another group will be thrown out of college and finally, there are those who will ace all the exams but will not get any kind of acceptance in the society. My new friend “Platni” here atNorthSouthUniversitycould not acquire the expected grades and was very demoralized; but there’s a catch! It should be mentionable that he is doing his Computer Engineering Major here at NSU and he is doing ENG 103 now. Lucky for me, I have seen some of his journals and essays, which simply blew me away. And I can assure you, it will enchant any reader take him/her to a trance in a different dimension. But there again, the grading systems are at halt at evaluating the talents. And let me predict the outcome of this whole situation. My friend “Platini” will bag himself a Bachelor in Computer Engineering Degree (Hons.) but will have no interest in the practical field. If only the Grading system would’ve helped him by it being-non-existent, it would be easy for him to find his fine-point of education and his knacks. His mastery in English literature definitely gives out a picture that English literature is the subject which was always his dream but it never happened. So, we see that grades shatter dreams too.
I would exaggerate my argument with an experience of my own. This semester I took five courses and yes, it is the summer semester. No self-conscious human being would do that, but I did. Among all the courses, I wanted to give my utmost attention to English 105, where I found one of the most unique and easy going faculties Besides that, the course outlines of the courses of the English Department attracted me all the time because, good or bad, I enjoy writing. Again, I have no way but to acknowledge the grading system Iin a negative way, obviously) for allocating majority of my marks in the other courses, which are named my core courses. As a result I am not being able to give as much attention and care for the course I really love in contrast to the ones I do not enjoy much. So, it is clear that “Grading System” takes away the student’s freedom of will, and not only the bad wills but their own search for knowledge too.
Finally I would like to mention a name of an article of one of my favorite writers – “Promoth Chouwdhuri,” who wrote numerous books on open minded education systems in Bengali. But one single article of his attracted me the most which was titled “Library.” In his article, he says that if we look at the education system around and the machine that is controlling it, then Library is a far better institution to acquire knowledge and that is where a student gets the freedom for the educational voyage he/she is willing to embark upon.
Now that my own life has shown me how “Grading” abolishes the true definition of education, I find it a necessity to abolish this vile tradition. But, only a fraction of the students cannot make this succeed; similar to every crusade in history, if we walk together, hand-in-hand, if we walk with a common goal, there can be no force in this world that can stop the true enlightening of education. If we tag along with the current custom then the students around the world will be as mechanized robots, as Pink Floyd put it in their lyric – “All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall.”