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A Proposal To Abolish Grading Essay

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In the essay, "A Proposal to Abolish Grading", Paul Goodman writes that tests in schools are mostly a hindrance to the actual value of education that students receive. He explains that tests are good, but should be used for " pedagogic purposes as teachers see fit"(Barnett 16). The idea of this is a great concept, but I do not believe that it is a feasible one.

Goodman opens his essay with somewhat a challenge for a group of Ivy League schools to do away with testing, and the results will be drastic based on how the student studies. Goodman realizes that testing itself is inevitable and makes a good comment stating that after school how graduate schools and corporations would know whom to choose or hire (Barnett 16).

A good point Goodman does do is that he tries to answer any common questions in his essay that the reader might have. He even gives the reader a small history lesson on testing in the past. This is a good example that he uses to show the reader what testing was originally used for to compare to what testing is used for now. Goodman states that testing in the past was used for acceptance purposes. It was given to people to see if they were ready to be accepted by their peers. The problem I have with this is that it is not applicable to today's society. That is outdated. We test today to see if a person is either qualified to do a particular task, or to see if the person has learned what has been taught (Barnett 16).

Goodman writes that the people who would object to his idea would be the students and the students" parents. As a student I would have to agree with that statement. If I would have gone to school and know that there would be no tests, and that only I was responsible for what I would have learned, then I believe I would not have made it very far. Also my parents were always on my case about studying for tests.

A good thing that Goodman does in his essay is that he does give reasons to keep testing and ways to improve testing. He does not just complain about the problem he has, but he offers solutions along with it. He writes that if the only reason for testing is to point out weakness then it is not helpful to the student. He says that the student will try compensating for being struck down by the grading, by a mean of "faking, bulling, or even cheating"(Barnett 17).

Goodman says that if you have to make the student believe that he or she is testing for no other reason than just placement, then that student should seek to his or her level. This is a good thought, but I believe it would be a hard task to convince a student that the grade on the test has no affect on the student in that class, but the test is just to see what the student needs to work on. I know that if I were given tests that have no value then I would not take the test as serious as I would if the test had consequences or rewards (Barnett 17).

In his next paragraph Goodman looks down on teachers who threaten students with grades. He says that this does more harm than good. I do not know about other  Harmening 3 schools or teachers, but the only time that teachers threatened students with grades was merely for behavior reasons such as: disrupting class might end up with everyone getting extra homework for a grade or perhaps a quiz, and the other example is if a teacher suspected that the students were not reading their assignments then the teacher would threaten us with a quiz the next day. This did not harm us in any way; instead it shaped us up to do our work.

Goodman ends his essay with some good thoughts. He is sympathetic to those students who do not test well. He says that it is not fair for a student who is earnestly studying and trying to do well and receive an F. He ends with the statement, "A good teacher can recognize the situation, but the computer wreaks its will"(Barnett 18).

Goodman had a well thought out essay. It was complete with the problem he has with the grading system. He tried to answer questions that the reader might have, and he also offered solutions to this problem. Overall he has a valid argument; it is just not a feasible plan of action to get rid of the grading system.

Bibliography:

  • Work Cited Barnet, Sylvan, and Hugo Bedau Critical Thinking Reading and Writing: A Brief Guide to Argument. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin's, 2002

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