What is the measure of a student?
If you hate the letter grading system and find it inadequate, take comfort. You’re not alone. It’s not just students who clamor for its abolition, either. In a recent summit of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, several participants voiced out their complaints against the present system. They may be college administrators, but even they understand see that grades fail to fully represent what students learn inside their institutions.
Some colleges have already adopted alternative approaches for student evaluation. Stanford Law School, for example, had voted to replace their letter grading system with awards of honors, pass, restricted credit and no credit. At Yale Law School and UC Berkeley School of Law, they’ve also adopted similar measures.Read more in our blog about "how to sign off an email to a professor"!
The New College of Florida, however, takes it a step further. In their system, “students must work out a contract with a faculty adviser each semester; the contract outlines which courses should be taught and how success will be measured. Professors contribute to a record of the student’s success (without using grades). Dislike of the traditional student transcript is so great that the college doesn’t send them out. Students are in charge of sending out their own records when applying to graduate school.”
Other examples abound. From a political and practical standpoint, it’s difficult to abolish grades all at once. Many students will probably even say "help me with my homework". At the very least, what these sorts of discussion about alternative evaluation systems bring is a sense of possibility. It reminds us that these rules were not written in stone. In time, things will inevitably change, and hopefully we’ll all be better for it.
Not yet rated