The issues of grading systems and policies is a hot topic that continues to be debated over in higher education. Many argue that maintaining the traditional grading system is the cause of grade inflation. A 1992 study conducted by the American Association of College Registrar and Admissions Offices (AACRAO) has indicated the grade inflation continues to be a problem in higher education. Because of this grade inflation, it’s hard to tell good and poor work in academics. In response to this growing problem many schools have decided to reexamine their grading systems. However, their are always those who believe traditional is the way to go…or in this case, the way to stay.

It was interesting to find that most people who supported the traditional grading system were actually parents. The Baltimore Sun included an article, by Mary Maushard, that explained how some parents felt towards implementing new grading systems. “By doing away with letter grades, you would be penalizing the achievers,” Micki MacCumbee, who has two children, told a committee studying the philosophy and future of letter grades. “If you are worried about self-esteem of students who do not achieve, you are not going to improve their self-esteem or grades by protecting them from seeing their shortcomings and failures,” she said. “Failures are sometimes the seed of future success.”

Many people like to keep things the traditional way but it is important to be informed and keep an open mind about the new changes that are going on, especially if it has to do with education. Schools are catching on and aiming to design a system to evaluate students progress in useful ways and the old A through F system, has lost some credibility in recent years…maybe it’s time to find something new. Of course, looking at it from the opposite point of view, parents have every reason to get agitated over grades: it can seem as if a student’s whole future is riding on them. The problem is, “Students are commonly driven to learn not for the sake of learning; but instead, are motivated by the almighty grade.” By eliminating the traditional grading scale, we can help eliminate that problem. After all, times are changing so it only makes sense that the education system and grading system change as well.

Nancy Coronado