Nine Reasons why Bad Grades Don’t Mean Squat « The War on Bullshit

Nine Reasons why Bad Grades Don’t Mean Squat

by Kavan Wolfe (published on Jul 24)

(or “Why your Teachers/Professors are Full of Shit”)

I bet we’ve all heard this one:

Student: “Why did you give me a C?”

Teacher: “I didn’t give you a C, that’s the grade you earned.”

 

This argument is based on the idea that grading is objective. Supposedly, your grades reflect your performance and are not assigned arbitrarily by the grader. I call bullshit. Objective grading is a myth, a dangerous myth high school and college instructors have been hiding behind for years. Here are 9 reasons grading is subjective, if not entirely arbitrary.

1. Rubrics can’t create the objective from the subjective

Clearly, the grading of research papers, essays, presentations, etc. is predominantly subjective. We can’t even agree what makes for a good presentation, for instance. Some professors will require a slide show while others bemoan DBPPT (Death By PowerPoinT). That said, some idiots actually claim that subjective grading can be made objective through the use of rubrics. A rubric is a set of criteria and standards used to structure the grading process. If you’ve ever had a grade broken down into 20 points for content, 5 points for style, 5 points for bibliography, etc., that was a rubric.

I hate to rain on the educational parade here, but dividing one made up mark into 5 made up marks and adding them up does not make this process objective. How does the grader decide what gets a 4 and what gets a 5? Furthermore, the process of developing the rubric is completely subjective. Why does content get 10 points instead of 9 or 11? Why does bibliography get 5? Why doesn’t originality get points? Why don’t I get points for being poetic? I agree that rubrics help structure grading and might even facilitate discussion of the grades, but anybody who thinks that combining a bunch of subjective grades in a subjective way will magically create an objective grade is delusional.

2. Many test makers write bad “objective questions”

First, “objective” questions like true/false, fill ins, matching, and multiple choice are supposed to have one clear, correct answer because having a question with multiple answers undermines reliability and consistency in test scores. Any student assessment textbook will tell you that (see, for instance, Gronlund (2006) Assessment of Student Achievement , 8 ed. Allyn & Bacon.) That means, no “all of the above,” no “check all that apply,” no decoy answers that are sort of right, no questions worded in the negative and none of that “I and II, I and III or II and III” bullshit. If a scientist tries to measure something, like attitude toward online shopping, with confusing questions, the paper gets rejected, because it biases the results.

3. The test creation process is subjective

But suppose we have a well-trained educator who makes none of these textbook mistakes. Most test are still subjective because they are created through an entirely subjective, ad hoc process. Why 30 questions instead of 29 or 31? Why 50 minutes? Why these thirty questions? Why not different ones? What makes you think this test is better than another? What is the measure of quality for the test? The truth is, most people just make up their exams without anything beyond a superficial rationale, and sometimes not even that. They damn well don’t pretest them to make sure they’re valid (I’ll come back to validity below) and getting the TA to write it doesn’t count because the TA is not representative of the students.

4. Grading scams

Educators have many, many ways to deceive students. Here are two I’ve experienced first hand.

Professor K was quite the piece of work. He would intentionally give exams that no mortal could finish in the time allotted. After the evaluation, marks would be dismally low. Then he would graciously scale the marks so we didn’t all fail. Except he scaled everyone’s mark differently. I started out with a 72% and ended up with 78%. One of my friends went from 71% to 80%. Another guy started with 70% and was scaled to… 70%. How is that possible? He just made up the marks of course. Since everyone started at least 20% below what they deserved, whatever he made up felt like compassion. I call bullshit. It was a scam.

Scam number two is quite the classic. As I was in a business program, I had to take a lot of math-oriented classes. However, business math is pretty easy compared to stats or pure math, so if the instructors gave sensible exams, students would get very high marks. As this is considered unacceptable (what is wrong with these assholes anyway???) they took action. Action 1 was to write trick questions that test the students paranoia alertness rather than knowledge (ex: wording questions in the negative). Action 2 was to give a test so long no one can finish it. Action three was to take off 4 (FOUR!!) marks for every arithmetic error. Thus, marks reflected speed, paranoia and persnicketiness rather than, I don’t know, understanding of the material perhaps?

5. The bull (bell) curve

Some instructors mark on the bell curve, meaning that marks are statistically adjusted to fit a distribution called the normal curve. This does not objectify grades for two reasons. First, the process requires the instructor to provide a mean and standard deviation. If these are determined subjectively (and you can bet your ass that most instructors just make them up or used something prescribed by their department, which was just made up by someone else) then the whole thing is still subjective. More fundamentally, this whole process is based on a deep misunderstanding of statistics. Many measurements can be approximated by the normal distribution, not the other way around. A class’s marks are not an imperfect observation of what should be the normal distribution. The marks are what they are. The normal distribution might or might not approximate that. If it does not, mathematically transforming the grades to match it is meaningless.

6. Grading against a standard

The alternative to grading against the bell curve is grading against “the standard.” I bet you know where this is going. Since there is no objective standard (at least none I’m aware of), “the standard” is just a figment of the instructor’s imagination; thus, not objective.

7. Invalid measures (Lack of construct validity and reliability)

This brings me to my most technical criticism. Scientists have developed a whole body of knowledge surrounding the theory of measurement. Without getting too technical, grades are a kind of measure. They’re supposed to reflect student performance, which is unobservable, in the sense that you can’t just look at it, count it, weigh it, etc. For a measure to be considered acceptable by scientists (i.e., objective), it must satisfy a bunch of criteria, including construct validity, and reliability. The problem with student assessments is, the reliable ones aren’t valid and the valid ones aren’t reliable.

Update (2009-09-01): this research, conducted at the University of Texas, provides convincing evidence that grades are only weakly related to subsequent achievements.)

A reliable measurement is one that produces consistent results in different situations. Multiple choice tests are pretty reliable. It doesn’t matter who grades the test, you usually get the same grade. Essays and projects and presentations are not. If you give the same essay to different markers, you can get wildly different grades.

A measurement exhibits high construct validity when it measures what it’s supposed too. If you’re trying to measure a student’s ability to read Japanese, and you give the student a passage of simple Japanese and ask what it says, that has high construct validity. Presentations, exams, papers, etc. tend to have low validity because they measure too many different things. For instance, a multiple choice trigonometry exam measures not only understanding of trigonometry, but also test anxiety, stress, alertness, ability to guess, ability to use a calculator (or ability to do arithmetic), time management skills, etc. The situation is far worse when you try to measure something like understanding of investment strategies, or, dare I say it, critical thinking.

The bottom line is, a measure must be tested to confirm that it is valid and reliable. Without said test, we have to assume the measures are junk.

8. Too many levels

One of the reasons grades have no reliability is because there are too many levels. If an assignment is graded out of 100%, good luck finding two graders who’ll give it exactly the same mark. And if two graders don’t agree on the grades, the grades are bullshit. Some of these crack heads have even started tacking on decimals (67.24% and the like). If you replace those 100% with, say, three levels: fail, pass, and pass with distinction, you might get a reliability approaching .80 (that is, two graders will agree on 80% of evaluations). Eighty percent is considered the minimum acceptable “inter-rater reliability” in many social sciences.

9. Testing the wrong things

Now even if we could get past all of the above problems, grades are still bogus because most assignments and tests measure all the wrong things. Ever wonder why those brainiacs from college don’t turn out to be the happiest, richest, most successful and powerful people? Ever wonder why Einstein, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and so many more, never finished school, and it never stopped them? It’s because what matters in this world is not just reading comprehension but independent critical thinking; not IQ but emotional intelligence; not memorizing facts you could just look up on Wikipedia, but creativity.

What really matters is not the meticulousness to avoid mistakes, but the courage to try and the tenacity to keep trying, when lesser people would give up.

Grades don’t measure that.

on to part two –>

UPDATE: Why do so many people who read this assume it means I got bad grades? First, this is not about me, it’s about the education system. Second, you’re making a logical fallacy (Ad Hominem) in rejecting the argument based on its source rather than its validity. Third, if you must know, I graduated top of my class in high school and undergrad, had a 4.0 GPA in grad school, and have a PhD from a top-50 university. I’ve been the student and the instructor, and grades look like bullshit from both sides.

Comments Published in
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144 Comments

  1. Mort says:

    Interesting article, but I think I disagree with point 8 since it gives a much higher margin for error.. getting a “pass” intested of “with distinction” is much worse than getting (say) 80% instead of 81%.

  2. Dustbin says:

    Really great article. My grades are released today and it’s well so damn unfair. Getting slacking team mates who did totally nothing.

    Resulting in so many sleepless night working on the final year project alone and to also teach them/explain to them how the developed end product work in hope that they could at least pass during the presentation/evaluation if the evaluators ask some hard questions (after all I’m not so cruel). But at the end of all ur hard work u get a sad grade while they got fantastic grade for the weirdest unbelievable reasons.

    But oh well, trying to fight ur grades usually result in ur grades getting lowered instead. Feel quite fed up. U r right. Grades are unfair. The world is unfair.

  3. pravin benjamin says:

    Hi,
    As I an India(n) let me contribute my 2 cents on this.
    College professors or school teachers be it in USA or India are a bunch
    of losers.
    Do you know a college professsor or school teacher who could have said to have achieved anything ‘great’ in life.
    I know some average guys in my BS Chemistry batch of 1990 who have ended
    as ‘top notch” professors both in USA and India.
    Three years before when I heard about their status my head swirled.
    Were these guys not said to be below the average.
    Here is the irony of it.

    The loser teacher/ professor rates these guys x,y,x as losers academically.
    x,y,z end up as professors.
    Now these x,y.z are going to rate some guys as losers who in turn
    fill up the rest.
    so the cycle goes.

  4. imani says:

    I am happy that some fell the same way my teacher give me that bullshit every time i get my report card. the next paper you should do is what if your teacher lose your paper, and do not give you the right grade. what should you do in how should you do it. Again that is a great paper.

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  6. John Smith says:

    This blog has much validity, and in fact most grading is bullshit. In my experiences with college, I’d say for subjective courses and even math courses, the grades are at least 30% dependent on the professor. You either have a good math teacher or a bad one, he makes easy tests or hard tests. Its all subjective, which is why you need to understand how your professor operates, and then manipulate everything from there. My philosophy teacher just plays Russian Roulette when grading the papers, it’s entirely bullshit, I followed his rubric and grading criteria precisely, and he gave me a D, because he didn’t feel the topics were clear. Others read it and thought it was crystal clear, whose correct? Definitely not the dumb ass teacher who misspelled grammar, and various other words while insulting my grammar. Other teachers I’ve had would have praised the paper.

  7. school is shit says:

    There is this Prof., who never disclosed the weightage of individual course components and eventually played with it favoring few students. Something that required hours of slogging got 2% weightage in the end.

    There is another Prof., who never disclosed a test marks. He is a big deal, no one questioned him, assuming he will be honest, the image he portrays big time. Big subjective retard. A prof can justify his actions, even if he favored another student, because of this privacy shit — i.e., I cannot ask about another student’s grades.

    There is this third Prof., who just repeated questions on one test alone and had a open book component with a question that few brought solutions to or knew where it was vaguely. The ones who tried desperately just lost time and points on the difficult question. The ones who gave up and just copied are securing A’s.

    Lastly, memory type questions, what the heck?

    I hate to be graded by these jerks. As much as these people enforce academic dishonesty policies on students, they better enforce a tiny bit of academic integrity on themselves.

  8. [...] Here is an article to support my argument. Nine Reasons Why Bad Grades Don’t Mean Squat [...]

  9. Smarter than you guys moron!! says:

    I think you guys are just plain dumb!
    Just get on with it and improve!
    Stop being so ignorant and idiotic and posting
    such stupid posts!
    It’ll only make you people look worst than
    how you can be on your report book! Dumbass!!
    What I’ve read about on this website is what I
    call a total bullshit! You people are full of shit
    and understands nothing! All you people know is
    go on and on bladdering and complaining how your
    dumbness got you the shameful grades! Sometimes
    just have to go the extra mile to earn it people!
    Get serious and stop whining!

  10. Reality says:

    Dear anonymous posters,
    Stop using ad hominems to make yourself feel better or to attempt to demean the post. If you don’t like this post, then form an argument to counter act the reasoning used or don’t post. Making assumptions about the writer of the post and insulting them shows your ignorance. I can understand that if you got good grades in school you want to believe that it was because you earned those grades and worked hard for them and I agree that I have worked for my grades, but I also agree with the poster that most of my grades were subjectively given to me. I had to get into the head of the individual professor and write what they wanted me to say and suck up to them. I don’t deserve higher grades than someone who decided to write a legitimate argument against the professor’s opinion. If you can’t be honest with yourself and admit that grades are mostly subjective in many subjects, then you are a weak person that lies to themself, because you can’t handle the truth.
    Sincerely,
    Reality

  11. The posie says:

    I don’t really care if grades are subjective or not. An answer to all this problem, is to choose a mayor and a career that you really like, do some research on your professors, take easy classes that you enjoy and get a high GPA. Life is too short, don’t waste you time begging your professors to give you a good grade when they don’t want to. That’s why we are individuals, and not equals, people have different abilities and strengths. If you can’t be a doctor, or a lawyer, because the courses are really tough, choose something else. There’s so many options like IR, politics, humanities, history, art, engineering, etc. It’s better to life life without a grudge on past professors, than a life full of melancholy.
    Think about it guys!

  12. Rob says:

    HAHA! This idiot is just whining becuz he got bad grades. He probably hated school too. That’s why he proably working at mcdonalds right now and this is blog for whing about how much his life sucks becuz he got good grades.

    Thankfully public education rewarded me well with good grades. Becuz I did my best in school and I liked it. Now I have a good job becuz I got a degre and a 4.0 gpa to go along with it.
    Remember, good grades meen your smart!!!!1

  13. Doody Head says:

    At above: Stop bashing other people when you know nothing about them. How do you know he works in McDonalds? Stop assuming he has bad grades. If you can assume he has bad grades, I can assume you have bad grades and that you are just trying to make yourself feel better by lying about how you have a 4.0 GPA.

    On a sidenote: Nice grammar. -.-

  14. Terry says:

    [Posted by Rob]“HAHA! This idiot is just whining becuz he got bad grades. He probably hated school too. That’s why he proably working at mcdonalds right now and this is blog for whing about how much his life sucks becuz he got good grades.

    Thankfully public education rewarded me well with good grades. Becuz I did my best in school and I liked it. Now I have a good job becuz I got a degre and a 4.0 gpa to go along with it.
    Remember, good grades meen your smart!!!!1″

    Your not really in a position to judge anybody on there intellect seeing as you still need to complete elementary school.

    And grades DON’T mean everything.

    I’m a very dedicated programmer and my GPA is barely a 2.5 to 3.0 mainly because I spend most of my time programming instead of doing my homework or studying for a test.

    I find it somewhat useless to learn about things that I will never use in my lifetime.

    For example… Why do I need to learn about the various wars and conflict that happened decades ago when I know for a fact its irrelevant to the profession I want to pursue?

  15. Marla says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve always thought what you said, but it was so nice to have it validated by what you wrote. You’re right to call the bullshit. The psychological damage and stress that grades cause should make us angry. Someone telling us that our intelligence is defined by a letter from A to F is bullshit and we shouldn’t tolerate it.
    So thanks again. It was nice to hear a clear voice.

  16. daniel pimentel says:

    well, sometimes it does matter.like when you are a doctor……..hhuummm.how was i supposed to cut this guy right now?oh, yeah i member now!!!

    yeah, some people dont know perseverence, because it is not taught in school.

  17. Alexandrine Henry says:

    Well said and to hear it from a “great” student really brings it home. Thanks for your humility and honesty. I’ve always been an “average” student and it’s been a self esteem crusher for me all my life. Great GPA’s don’t reflect what is really needed to succeed in life – tenacity and determination. I had a friend who ALWAYS got near perfect grades and scored high on her SAT’s. Well, I was very jealous because she got into a better college than me. Well she never finished her degree. I barely got into a state school but I graduated. I did poorly the 1st 2 years but did fairly well in my major during the last 2 years. Of course, my overall GPA is very poor. I’ve done well as a paraprofessional and I’m not done. I’ve started graduate school and may complete a PhD one day. I plan to publish a book and more. It’s just that average grades do create obstacles for me not because I’m stupid but because the grading system is inaccurate. I’ve finally figured out the game. Thanks for sharing.

  18. professor death says:

    Stop complaining and crying. Unless you are ready to offer an alternative, the education system we do have is better than the current alternative; a lack of education.
    let us know when yo are ready to be constructive rather than destructive. your teachers were right; you will never amount to anything.

  19. brian says:

    jo jo!!?? you make this world what it is my bro!! feels good to know you cant change anything dosent it? he brings out logic and you rain down lack of understanding. i would love to meet you jo jo. so i could help find ur way of making a better world? please oh please reply.

  20. Angry Student says:

    The only tests that are objective are sciences and mathematics.

    Short answer tests in English, Economics, and Government are all subjective.

    When I can spend 8 hours writing a program that calculates economic price elasticities and receive an 85, while another group spends 30 minutes preparing a stupid skit or poem, and gets a 95, I don’t call bullshit, I confirm bullshit.

  21. n says:

    i like your site and what you’re all about. not something you haven’t heard before i bet but i thought adding one more to the ‘voice of the masses’ would make it so much more..massive.
    and you made me happier. thanks

  22. Aims says:

    I just kinda glanced through this, and as Im currently studying statistical analysis the bell curve (5) grabbed my attention so I read it. In regards to “5. The bull (bell) curve,” the mean in a normal distribution is the average in this case, and the standard deviation would be the difference between the mean and the median in this case. Its fairly simple. And much like any other data the mean would be the average, and the median could easily be taken to be the standard deviation as it is the deviation away from the average/mean. And you forgot to talk about variance, although it isn’t needed in the production of a normal distribution curve using statistical analysis modeling it is important to talk about.

  23. Zambam says:

    School isn’t about the grades it’s to educate you and help you get a good job. Grades are just updates about how you are learning.

  24. ATHLETE says:

    In reason 3 test should be spelt as tests

  25. Domino014 says:

    I know what you mean. I had one instructor mark off points because I used a synonym. i.e. the answer was jaguar and I wrote preying feline. Being in school has made me so paranoid of plagiarizing another’s work that I go to great lengths to regurgitate the meaning via synonyms, metaphors, and the like. People tend to say I’m creative but I also get misinterpreted. Needless to say, my instructor still cannot get my name right. I’ll just give her a synonym.

  26. b says:

    I have bad grades.

    I would like to make excuse that I have bad grades because the education system sucks the way they shape your thought process (forcing you to be a cookie-cutting, non-risk taking, mistake paranoid person).

    I particularly don’t like the way my math teachers teach. All through out school, I arrive at the right answer many times, but they always subtract points if I don’t do a problems they way the like it. I guess that’s the bullshit your talking about.

    Oh yeah, and if too many students get good grades, the teachers makes us do some assignments designed to make us fail.

    And if too many students fail, the teachers makes us do some assignments designed to make you succeed.

  27. APPRECIATIVE says:

    Thank you so much for putting the time and effort in writing this. I was in the midst of a break down concerning why on earth I’m getting such average grades for back-breaking work! I spend hours upon hours, weekdays and weekends without seeing friends or doing anything of leisure, while the people next to me who spend the entire weekend drinking and throwing up on themselves and spend half the amount of time and effort on the same project gets the same grade as me or better! I sacrifice so much and get so little in return.

    Again, thanks so much for this. I was so close to finding a gun and aiming it at my head. The education system sucks, especially for college, its expensive, and can kill the spirit and creativity of a human being.

    For the idiots who are posting negative/disrespectful comments…what is the point? You must also lack in areas of your life (Ugly? Abused? Friendless? Bullied, perhaps?) Take your damaged self someplace else to act out.

  28. [...] 9 reasons why grades don’t mean squat. And a webcomic which roughly captures my reaction. [...]

  29. jonathan says:

    bad grades do mean doom in many disciplines. want to work at mckinsey and co.? you better be at the top of the class. period. so, you isolate yourself without poor marks. there is no way around it.

  30. jonathan says:

    i meant, you isolate yourself WITH bad marks, not WITHOUT.

  31. peteacher56 says:

    I am physical education teacher. I came across your article and I must say I agree with the content and message it provides. Basically, in terms of testing and assessment, tests/assessments should measure what they are suppose to be measuring. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sadly, especially at the College level, although their are many brilliant professors out there that are quite knowledgeable in the subject matter they teach, they themselves have never went through a teacher education program. Some professors really don’t have the best strategies for teaching material to students and assessing them on that same material.

    Many times, a great number of professors will rely upon poorly written multiple choice tests to use as evidence of how students are learning the material in their courses. To make matters worse, some of these professors will make 60% or higher of your final grade in the class on how well you scored on your course exams.

    For those interested, I would suggest looking at this website:

    http://www.youblisher.com/p/9375-Multiple-Choice-Tests-Thinking-Handcuffs/

    No Partial Credit

    “Even if a student has some knowledge of a question, they receive no credit for knowing that information if they select the wrong answer. Free response questions may allow a test taker to demonstrate their understanding of a subject and receive partial credit. Even carefully constructed exams that reflect very detailed curriculums can be used to improperly assess students. If an exam was created to carefully reflect a certain curriculum, you might see only one question that covers a specific outcome. What if the student did in fact understand that outcome but for any number of reasons, they get the question wrong? That means that this test would report that the student understood nothing of that concept-which most likely would be wholly misleading and untrue. How often can a teacher honestly report that a student understands nothing?”

    This passage is quite critical. From when I was in college, this is the error I seen many college professors commit over and over again. It was bad enough my classmates and I had to memorize so much useless information to get where we wanted to go in our chosen professions because of the way many professors relied upon multiple choice testing for their assessment practices, but they also struggled to write quality tests that actually reflected a clear correct answer included with the dis- tractor questions. So many mis-leading questions among answers choices A, B, C, and D where quite often, two of the answer choice where correct, but one answer was just a little more correct in the eyes of the professor. And, you got no partial credit for being partial right. Therefore, you might have understood some of the material (maybe even in the whole concept/question) but because how it was phrased in the answer choices if you selected the wrong answer the teacher was looking for, you get the whole multiple choice question wrong.

    A learning experience I have learned from college is if I ever give any multiple choice test (and arguably we don’t do a lot of this cognitive assessing in a gym) I give very careful consideration to the question being constructed.

    Just my 2 cents in one area among many areas where education has a number of flaws and problems.

  32. Barock says:

    Actually I was mad about a grade given to me this last week in my graduate studies and do not think I am biased.

    I am writing for any body in the future to use such honest information for research or alert themselves.
    This is gradute study program and I was on the op notch until final project paper out of 70 I scored 69 and final project was out of 30 and I prepared my paper and submiited two days before dead line.

    Relaxed I did not log in back until begining of next week which is end of semester. When I log in to check I found email says I did not get your final paper I was shocked and went to submiited documents and it was there and resumitted the paper again and I explained the professor that there might be error on system…she did not answer me five days and kkep on emailing her. Finally she said she do not give me any credit because I did not submit the paper.

    I was mad like crazy because I know I have done the asignment and submiited it and the professor was just an evil bastard not to reconsider the grade..

    Now my whole point is I am certain and I am 100% sure that I was right but there are lots of so called professors who are focused to bitch on every thing and want to make you look bad..do not always think all professors are intellectuals it is just like whn you go downton and hop in a taxi if Taxi driver knows you are guest to a town they just rip you off..professors are scams like taxi drivers if they find a little hole they prefer to dig in to the negative than build some one positively….and do not make a mistke this is common in University professors….they are bunch of bastards with out common sense who just have the degree caled PhD or Profeesorship.

    I have been in teaching for 10 years in College I spend 16-18 hours talking to students to make sure I am in same page with them rather than jusge them on one time grading and my students were my all time best friends…I still have the feeling of friendship untill now more than the money I earned teaching…

    All professors are not same, teaching is also about making others understand the subject not grading them A….F. Education in America is one of the worst systems..every thing is sold in market…why even go to school now a days….Especially the online schools please watch out…not worth it to put your hard earned cash on online schools…it is so joke.

  33. Russell says:

    interesting. I understand that the current testing system is flawed but how does an educator know a student has learned the material? There has to be some way to measure that and test are, in my opinion, the easiest way for an educator to measure both themselves and the student.

  34. In Hoc Signo Vinces says:

    Just to put my 10 cents in… I really appreciate the work of Mr. Wolfe – this article was articulated and substantiated very well and made several excellent points. Reality check ladies and gents, the U.S. education system is going down the tube – something is severely wrong with it. My belief is that it needs to catch up to the “information processing speed” of the modern student. Kids are bored in classrooms because the systems are ancient; it worked back in the day because technology was limited. But to go back to the points made in this article, to say grades are NOT arbitrary or objective is completely illogical for many reasons articulated in this piece. It all makes sense and I applaud your work Mr. Wolfe.

    And as a side note, I love how a few of those who commented negatively on this article, a certain “Smarter than you guys moron!!” for example, is quick to express how intelligent he is and how all you have to do is “Stop being so ignorant and idiotic and posting such stupid posts! It’ll only make you people look worst than how you can be on your report book! Dumbass!!” Cheers to this guy for explicitly making several glaringly obvious grammatical errors and using extensive colorful language to express his disapproval/dismissal of this article – can’t help but think how this guy clearly is a product of good grades in America. Follow the rubrics and you’ll be smart like “Smarter than you guys moron!!” (By the way, even his username is grammatically incorrect).

    Cheers!

    An American Political Science Student
    Ivy League, NJ

  35. Most people who believe grades don’t matter had poor grades themselves. Should have studies harder in college guys!

  36. [...] post is a response to content from TheWarOnBullshit.com To go check out the original page click here, or to go see a copy of the article on my blog (in case the original isnt there or WHATEVER) click [...]

  37. Ashley says:

    Despite being a straight A student, I agree with a lot of these. This isn’t for just people with bad grades. This is a war on the corrupt grading system itself.
    I was never a fan of the grading curve that some teachers believe is more “fair”. It may lift some grades but it pulls down others. I also despise those teachers who get a kick out of failing half the class. I’ve had teachers who put half-correct answers on the test to deliberately trick students. I especially agree with the point that essays, projects, and presentations are subjective. Even with a rubric, they will never be objective. Other than for English, Communications and similar classes in which essays and subjective grading seem to be required, I avoid teachers who base their grading system solely on subjective assignments.

  38. [...] Noten sind subjektiv. Ich kann nicht zeichnen. Wer sagt das? Am Ende ist das nur die Meinung meiner Zeichnungslehrerin. Vor ein paar hundert Jahren hat man behauptet dass das, was wir heute als «Meisterwerk» bezeichnen, absolut Scheisse war. Vielleicht wird das mit meinen Zeichnungen auch so sein (haha). Und Mathe? Mathe ist genauso subjektiv. Wer überlegt sich die Fragen? Wieso wird etwas abgefragt, während eine andere Art von Konstruktion weggelassen wird? Wieso nimmt Herr Wampfler genau diese Frage in den Interpretationsaufsatz und nicht eine andere? (Ich bin nicht gegen Tests, solange sie nicht bewertet werden und mir helfen, mich zu verbessern!) [...]

  39. Fariani Nisha says:

    today, i gave my perspective work and got a very bad grades. you know, i’ve been work on it all the time and all i got is about B-!

    the teacher gave me that fuckin grade bcz just a lil fault! that was unfair!!!

    unfair!!

    my friend gave the teacher a very strange and bullshit work was got an A-!! hell yeah!!

    fuck you

  40. Cary Xiao says:

    Not only are grades arbitrary, they are also detrimental to the learning process of students. The late Peter Scholtes demonstrated that reward and incentive programs are harmful when used to encourage studying. His point is illustrated by an anecdote:

    “My friend Dave from Indianapolis was upset. His daughter Emily had been a good student, an avid reader … that is until Pizza Hut got into the reward business. It seems Pizza Hut provided teachers with coupons for free pizzas to be awarded to a student when he or she had completed a book. Dave’s daughter started reading shorter and less challenging books or just skimmed longer books, so she could get more coupons.
    Meanwhile, Emily’s classmates also started reading more books. Even those who were not readers started reading. The books they read were short and simple, but at least these kids were reading something. The students who, like Emily, were avid readers, switched their reading preference to short, simple books. Eventually, however, Pizza Hut’s reading-for-pizzas campaign ended; and so did the reading … all reading … by those who used to be avid readers of challenging books as well as by those who didn’t read.
    “What my wife and I unwittingly allowed Pizza Hut to do,” said Dave, “was substitute their external motivation for our daughter’s internal motivation. They replaced her reason for reading and then eventually removed their substitute reason.” With pizza coupons no longer available, the kids in the class felt that there was no longer a reason to read.
    This story — a true incident — demonstrates the fallacy of all incentive programs. Research on rewards, merit and incentive pay programs, etc., shows them to be ineffective and — as in Emily’s case — even harmful.”

    Just like pizza, grades are an incentive to study hard rather than a simple perk. My classmates do not study to have fun and to learn something useful, but to mash on a handsome cover for their fluffy college applications. Grades encroach on the joy of learning and must be eliminated from the U.S. Education System before it causes further harm.

    To my opponents for this “debate”… Do realize that you are on enemy turf and anything stupid you say will weaken your case.

  41. AHT says:

    I’ve got one good reason why they do matter – a good job.

  42. [...] better after bad grade,’ probably one of the most pitiful phrases nerds have ever Googled). Here’s the article I read – inversely related to this particular situation because Italian exams don’t [...]

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