Letter grades should not be the central focus of students’ studies

Every student at OHS is familiar with the system of receiving grades as a way of measuring their success in the classroom.

OHS follows the A-F grading scale, “F” being the lowest grade awarded. In order to pass a class, a minimum of a “D” is required. This grading system often produces two effects, neither being necessarily desirable. 

On one side, there are students who do not mind how well they are doing in a class as long as they earn a passing grade and receive their credit hours for graduation. This defeats the purpose of education, as the student hardly comes out of the class any more knowledgeable about the subject material. 

On the flip side, another extreme effect is produced. Students strive to earn that “A” for grade point average purposes – and then rapidly discard the material as soon as the grade is earned. Teachers often refer to this as “spitting back material,” and although the pupil will seem like a much better student when transcripts are observed, they are hardly achieving a more worthy level of success as the aforementioned student.

Criticizing the use of grades may seem crazy, as they are something that nearly all OHS students have known their whole high school career. However, some teachers agree with the notion that grades promote ineffectiveness. 

English teacher and Speech and Debate coach, Mr. Ed Taylor, believes that grades do not promote the kind of learning that classrooms should be producing. When he turns back papers, he is disappointed at students initial reactions.

“Students are more interested in their grade rather than the content of the assignment. They flip to the grade without reading the [teacher’s] comments,” Taylor said.

Although society has been molded into a system in which people must pay attention to the letters rewarded for their work in order to receive important assets, such as college scholarships and a high school diploma, it is important for students to remember their primary goal in attending school – learn and apply the curriculum to life, not just to paper.

No doubt, grades do seem like they are here to stay. To delete them from the school system would leave an open window for chaos in organizing student productivity. With this being said, if individuals applied genuine focus and appreciation to their studies rather than being so attentive to their letter grades, students may be surprised to find that their grades would, in turn, reflect success.