By Sri L., 4th Grade
Grades are wired into our world. We hear/see letter grades in, art, movies, music, songs, and poetry. According to a website called debate.org 42% of people say we should keep grades because people are used to them and know what they mean. 58% of people say no we should not have grades in elementary school because they stress out the students. I have considered both sides of the issue, and I say we should have grades because they are easy for parents to comprehend, they are faster to assign, and they motivate the students.
Many people say grades are counterproductive since they don’t explain anything and provide the wrong motivation. They say they don’t provide enough information about what the student is doing well. Also, they say children should learn for the sake of learning, not just to get a better grade. All students ever want to do is dream on about getting an A and won’t pay attention. Many say it motivates them in the wrong direction.
I believe these opinions are not true. Grades explain the advice the teacher wants to say. An A has a meaning just like an apple has a meaning. It is not necessary for the teacher to write out everything is right when she can simply write an A+. And also when the children want to get an A they focus and try to achieve their goal. It motivates them in the right direction because it actually works. As long as the child tries to get an A nothing can stop them from focusing.
Grades benefit parents since they are easy for them to comprehend. It takes parents less time to understand grades than to read all the teacher wrote. When you look at grades they talk to the parents. They say this is how your child is doing. It is much easier than the teachers writing it all out. The grade just tells the parents if the students met the expected outcomes by their teacher. I interviewed some parents in my community, and they are all in favor of grades. Rajita said, “Grades are good since they help students understand whether or not they are doing good in school academically.” Hema says, “They are good since they don’t cause the students to know their errors until they look for what they did wrong. Instead of having the teacher circle and fix everything, the students have to learn to find their errors and fix them.”
My next reason why we should keep grades, is it is more efficient for teachers to grade with a letter grade instead of comments. Imagine yourself as a teacher having a stack of papers on your desk trying to write comments for every page. Whew! That would take forever to grade, but it would be faster and more efficient if we kept grades because it is where you just write a letter representing the advice. Teachers don’t want to spend all their time grading. Teachers at Challenge school say we should keep grades in elementary school. Shannon Cross says, “If we teachers spend all our time writing comments out then we won’t be able to write out any more comments, and our hands will hurt for a long time, but on the other hand, grades are faster and quicker for us to use since we just write down the letter to represent the grade.” Pam Casner, Sarah Higuchi, David Beck, Rose Mary Blakeslee, and ten others agree with Mrs. Cross in the benefits of assigning grades.
Almost every kid in America when they are in elementary school talk about grades (letter grades). My entire class including me were excited about getting an A. If kids did not get grades, then they would not be motivated. In my life grades have helped me compete against others and my friends. Here is an example: In my old school, which was Aspen Crossings elementary school, I never used to grow. I had always wanted to know what percentage and what grade I got, but instead all I got was these comments which explained nothing to me for two years. When I got into Challenge school my life changed dramatically. They used grades and percentage where I started to learn and thrive. I was like an eagle soaring high from my nest. Competition is created by grades, so it causes the kids to concentrate more. I also interviewed some students, and this is what they say. Utkarsh Mandavilli says, “Grades help me and my friends compete against each other to get better grades. When we compete, we do our entire best.”
Grades are helpful because they are easy for parents to understand, they are more efficient for teachers, and they help create motivation through competition between students. Grades help our community to grow. Although people say they are meaningless and provide the wrong type of motivation, grades are effective, and they are meaningful.