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A Response to Steven Vogel’s “Grades and Money”

opinionated Essay
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831 words
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In “Grades and Money,” Steven Vogel makes it clear that he is disappointed and frustrated with what grades have become. He believes that grades have become commoditized and that students’ grades suffer because of their relation with money. Vogel also believes that students no longer take any risk with their education. I agree with Vogel that grades are being equated to money by students, that students’ work suffers because of grades, and that students no longer take risks in their educational process.
To begin with, I agree with Vogel that grades are being equated to money by many students. Vogel claims that because students see this way, they do things for the entirely wrong reason! Vogel writes, “The relationship between me and the students is really an exchange relationship: they provide me with work of a certain quality and I reward it—pay for it—by giving them credit...” (391). I can relate to what Vogel is saying here seeing as I too am a student. Being a student it sometimes feels like the work I turn in is a product, and in a sense the instructor is quality control. Taking a class is supposedly to place students into a learning environment, but instead it feels like it’s a business sometimes. The atmosphere usually makes me want do as little work as possible to get a decent or passing grade. Vogel then writes, “Students expect that their grade will indicate the amount of time they have put into their course, as if they were hourly workers…” (391). Vogel relates students’ time to that of hourly pay proportionate to the amount of time put into the class. As Vogel sees grades being equated to money by students, many students essentially think that the related class content is work, which in turn, they get paid for. This does...

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...ragile product, and what we perceive that’s associated with it can seriously affect the process of learning as a whole. Students need to ask themselves what they are actually learning and why! Students need to understand what a letter grade means to them financially and educationally. Students need to approach grades without fear of a letter, or the fear that their scholarship gets taken away. Students should be learning for the right reasons for the biggest educational benefit. As soon as students stop following their dreams and passions because of an A, B, C, D, or F, is a very sad day; one that I hope to honestly never see, and I hope students see it the same way as well.

Works Cited

Vogel, Steven. “Grades and Money.” Reading and Writing in the Academic Community. Eds.
Mary Lynch Kennedy and Hadley M. Smith. Custom ed. Boston: Pearson, 2013. 389-
92. Print.

In this essay, the author

  • Agrees with steven vogel that grades are being equated to money by students, that students' work suffers because of grades, and that they no longer take risks in their educational process.
  • Agrees with vogel that grades are being equated to money by many students.
  • Agrees with vogel that students' work suffers because of grades close to money.
  • Opines that learning should be an experience about trying something new or an already vested interest in something and making the most of it.
  • Opines that learning is a fragile product, and what we perceive that’s associated with it can seriously affect the process of learning.
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