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Do Grades Accurately Measure A Students’ Achievement?

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The United States grading system for K-12 public schools are used as a measurement for student achievement levels, determining how much a student has learned based on a letter grade. Grades are typically measured a variety of ways, most commonly by way of: tests, participation, homework, quizzes, papers, presentations and group projects. Since grades reflect a variety of ways to measure a student, grades should be an accurate representation of what a student learns. This may seem the case; however, these components do not adequately measure a student’s capabilities.
I plan to argue that the current grading system fails to meet the criteria of a meaningful indicator of student achievement. In order to accurately measure a student’s achievement, a system should include a motivation for learning, a reliable way of assessing what a student has learned, and must take into account a student’s academic abilities. The current grading system falls short of meeting these criteria. While there are many reasons that the educational system uses the current grading system, I would have to argue that the grading system is not an accurate means of student achievement because it does not match to my criteria.
In order to accurately measure a student’s academic achievement, each student has to be reliably and fairly assessed. The grading system fails this because some students experience test anxiety, which negatively affects their performance, making them earn a bad grade. Grading therefore is likely to inaccurately reflect the abilities of students who experience test anxiety. Spencer J. Salend states that “Students with test anxiety experience high levels of stress, nervousness, and apprehension during testing and evaluative situations that s...

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... K-12 public schooling institution. We certainly do need methods to assess a student’s academic achievement; the grading system, however, fails to measure students’ work accurately and instead becomes the sole focus of learning. Students often believe that the grades they receive reflect what they have learned, but as shown this is not always the case.

Works Cited

Catalano, Tammy, Megan Gross, Jennifer Kurth, Stephanie Lovinger. “Grading Students with
Significant Disabilities in Inclusive Settings: Teacher Perspectives.” Journal of the International Association of Special Education 13.1 (2012): 41-57. ERIC. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.
Kohn, Alfie. “The Case against Grades.” Educational Leadership 69.3 Nov. 2011: 28-33. ERIC.
Web. 30 Mar. 2014.
Salend, Spencer J. “Addressing Test Anxiety. Teaching Exceptional Children 44.2 Dec. 2011:
58-68. ERIC. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.
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