1 Impact of Current Grading

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Typically, at the end of a semester, everything comes down to the final grade in a course and one question – does the student need to retake the class? This mindset to school plays a significant role in how students approach learning. The following sections will discuss our experiences on the impact of the current grading systemWe will first look at the current grading the education system, then the impact of the current grading system on students, then finally, the notion of the Game of School.  

One: Current grading in the education system 

The cornerstone of traditional academics is “grading.” The process follows a sequence of steps laid out above. First, the instructor of the class lectures about the course material to the students in a synchronous, asynchronous, or flipped classroom delivery. Students must then perform assessments as a measurement of learning and receive a grade. As a result of performing the assessments, we give a higher priority on obtaining the grade rather than learning the material.

Two: Impact of grades on students

From a young age, we are taught that high grades equal competence. When we receive good grades, it makes us feel competent; when we receive poor grades, it makes us feel incompetent.

There can be a high value of grades, however, it creates a stressful learning environment for students. Positive stress is motivating and exciting; negative stress causes anxiety and can create a fear of negative consequences. A study semester can be busy with 5 or 6 classes, each with multiple assignments and tests that need juggling. Student performance is measured by the grading system and for many students, negative stress can result when there is not enough time to get everything done. This results is students finding ways to mitigate negative stress while still earning a passing grade, thus; the ‘Game of School’.

Three: The Game of School

The Game of School is derived from the grading system where students try to mitigate negative stress. It means that students will do whatever is necessary to get the grade with the least amount of effort. It is about winning instead of learning, and the big reward is graduating. The following figure describes learning the game, the rules of the game and how to beat the game.  


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Online Learning: A Student Perspective Copyright © by Madicyn Anderson, Trevor Winchester, Aidan Burns, Rana Kilani, Collin Campbell, Steven Shilmoon, Sawyer King, Lakshdeep Singh, and Dave Cormier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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