Essay About Failing Grades

Originally published in Sunstar Davao.

Every year, around March, many parents all over the Philippines get extremely anxious and nervous. What is this time of the year? It’s report card distribution day! Of course, there are a few who look forward to this day. They are mostly those who can’t wait to take photos of their children’s report cards and post them on Facebook.

The silent majority, however, comfort themselves by saying “grades aren’t really that important” and things like that. The apparent hypocrisy of that remark, however, will be sorely tested if their usually-average or summa (sabit) kid suddenly gets high marks — guess who’s going to be posting photos of the report card on Facebook? The reverse also holds true. Very few parents will remark that “grades aren’t really that important” when their kids get failing marks and have to take summer classes or worse, repeat the entire year, or change schools.

It is funny how our emotions, and even our judgment of our children and others, are ruled by a bunch of numbers. When I was a teacher, there was no day I probably hated more than the day I had to submit my students’ final grades. I hated it because it was such a cold and impersonal assessment that said very little about the student. I hated the way grades could instill false confidence and pride. I hated the way grades could cause unnecessary despair, harsh judgments, physical abuse, and even suicide. I hated the way grades cause people to wrongly use it as an indicator of future success in one’s career or life in general. By now, we have thousands of anecdotes of successful people to know that their grades in school have little bearing on future accomplishments.

Do you know how the grading system began? One of the earliest documented records of grading was in the late 1700’s, at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, by a tutor in Cambridge University named William Farish.

He probably got the idea of grading students from the way factories exercised quality control for their products. A shoe factory, for example, would pronounce a shoe as “up to grade” if it was good enough to be sold in the market. In the same way, a student was judged by a singular mark which pronounced him up to standard to move on to the next level. At that time, this was revolutionary because it allowed Farish to “process” a large number of students at any given time. This rapidly caught on with other teachers because it provided a shorthand and impersonal method of evaluating students. A teacher could grade a student even if he didn’t know anything beyond his name and ID number. In short, the grading system paved the way for the mass production of education, which was probably a good thing for that particular era. But it is now high time we reviewed this method of evaluation because we have already shifted from the Industrial Age to the Information Age.

Education in the Industrial Age was mostly memory-based. You memorized facts and procedures. In this respect, grades work. Getting a grade of 98 on a test means you have memorized 98% of the facts correctly.

The landscape today has changed drastically as tons of information is available freely at the flick of a finger. Education today, supposedly places great emphasis on creativity, and interdisciplinary connections. However, I say “supposedly” because the grading system is still largely based on how well one has memorized the material or the procedure, or in the case of essay questions, how well one’s answers conform to the teacher’s opinion.

In short, we are emphasizing 21st century values but are using 18th century tools to evaluate those values. Clearly, there is a mismatch, and even teachers feel this difficulty but find it very hard to break free and still retain their jobs. But how does one grade creativity? How does one grade effort? How does one grade resourcefulness? How does one grade the ability to learn?

So a teacher in a traditional system is forced to go back to quantifiable and objectifiable measures of grading, and thus lose a lot of richness and depth of material and methodology that could have been possible if grades were not a hindrance.

Andy Uyboco is a businessman, trainer and speaker. How would you grade this article? Send me your thoughts at

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The center of this is all about “Gate Pass”. The gate pass module is a brief one but an important module which keeps the record of all those entering or leaving the gates of the school. The school gate pass is picked up by a student to the office, gate pass is use to get his/her self home without any questioned. The gate pass slip authorized

the student to leave school. It will allow children to leave as long as the gate pass slip is fully signed by the school personnel and has a valid reason. Student use gate pass for some important matter or maybe they are ill but some students use</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">CHAPTER III: METHODOLOGY</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Introduction:<br /> The main concept of this study is to know the importance of gate pass in school or of any institution as a whole for the safety and welfare of the students, the staff and employees. This research is also conducted in order to determine the numbers of students who are getting a gate pass and what security measure implemented to enhance the gate pass system is more suitable to student.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">A. Research Design:<br /> In this study we use descriptive method to determine the actual numbers of students getting gate pass, the reason of getting such pass, the advantage and disadvantage of having this kind of method for the welfare and well being of the student’s for descriptive survey method is involves in collecting numerical data to answer questions concerning present status through student interview or first hand observation.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">B. Locale of the study:<br /> To get the average number of students who are getting gate pass, our group conducted a research and asked question within the school premises of our school, School of Our Lady of Atocha (SOLA) located at Brgy. Magsaysay, Alicia, Isabela for the calendar year 2012- 2013 inclusive.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">C. Data Gathering Procedure<br /> Introduction:<br /> Positive result on the descriptive survey method on gate pass policy among students in School of Our Lady of Atocha (SOLA) can be achieved thru a good and precise data gathering procedure. It is a must to come up with good &amp; effective implementation to come up good result. This can be realized with the able participation of both the parents and students as to determine it’s reason to ask for the insurance of gate pass are valid or invalid for the good and welfare of both the students, staff and employee.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">C1. Questionnaire:<br /> 1. What are the common reasons of the students of sola we are getting gate pass? 2. Who is is/are usually getting a gatepass?</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">3. Is gate pass helpful to the students? In what way?</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">4. Why do students of SOLA getting gate pass?</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">5. Are you aware of the proper way of getting gate pass?</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">6. How often do you get a gate pass?</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Always     Sometimes     Never</p>

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