Grades hinder student desire

Grades hinder student desire

Alec Santaularia, web editor

Anything involving school in today’s society relates to grades in some way. “How are your grades?” “What grade did you get?” “Did you get a good grade?” The grades a student receives dictate how smart they appear to be and their performance in a class.

In today’s education system, teachers tie a grade to every assignment, regardless of whether it is busy work or the final exam. But why does every assignment have to be taken for a grade? What says that a student must do an assignment for a grade instead of simply doing the assignment to learn the material? Although attaching grades to assignments may not seem like a bad thing, it is actually detrimental to a student’s learning habits.

The educational system has conditioned students to use grades as motivation to learn. Teachers argue that the purpose of doing so is to motivate the students to do the work and to learn. They feel that without the incentive of a grade, the students wouldn’t desire to learn on their own.

However, in a widely accepted theory put forth by the American Psychological Association, it is shown that students are naturally motivated to learn and experience new things. Teachers, instead of attempting to motivate students through grades, should instead be putting emphasis on students’ natural desire to learn and should create an environment that nurtures that desire. This will increase students’ understanding of the material and will allow them to create personal interests in the material, causing it to become more meaningful to them.

The theory also discusses the impact of using grades as motivation in school; it reached the conclusion that by conditioning students to learn for the reward of a grade, teachers are taking away the students’ natural desire to learn. This then translates to students losing their sense of self-determination to learn new things and to create interests in material that they are exposed to both inside and outside of the school environment.

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