The Lakeland Mirror

Karalee Manis, Managing Editor

A big part of me wants to argue that grades shouldn’t be important and that they are just arbitrary letters; that they’re a racket and pointless. I want to say that we should do away with the system, and part of me thinks there is some reason to that argument.

Sure, they don’t always reflect a person’s true knowledge base, but are they still relevant?

Here’s why grades are important: because it’s the current system.

We can want to fight the power and change the way things are all we want, but we are going to get nowhere if we don’t play a little ball along the way.

As confusing or arbitrary as grades may seem, whether it is because they are given for an art class or because, how do you accurately measure one student’s improvement versus another’s when it’s not exam-based?

The reality we have to deal with at the moment is that we are in a grade-based structure, from elementary school on up, and to rebel against this, no matter how well intentioned, only hurts oneself.

Like it or not, grades are how the current educational system measures student competency.

But they have other uses, too. Grades are important for scholarships, for financial aid, especially for post-grad education and sometimes even for future employment.

If you want to advance your education beyond your undergrad degree, your grades will be important, more so than test scores or how intelligent you know yourself to be in spite of your letter grades.

Again, you have to succeed within the system if you want to have any hope of escaping it or of changing anything.

But grades are more than just a measure of how much potential aid money or success you are worth.

They also represent, for some of us, the dedication we have devoted to our studies; the respect we have for the subject, the discipline.

I know students who never read the assigned books or study for tests. Some of them can get by like that and are satisfied. If that’s how they choose to go through college, that’s their choice. It’s not mine.

My grades are a reflection of my diligence and, in part because I want to go to graduate school, I work hard to keep them up.

You’ve got to play the game if you want win, and acceptance to grad school, for me, is winning.

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