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Students in higher education are now addicted to knowing whether or not a course will be assessed before enrolling in it. According to Reddan (2013, p.225), students in colleges in the United States and other areas of the world are becoming more strategic in their study habits, since they do not learn for the sake of studying. Students are increasingly focused on what they will earn at the conclusion of the course in terms of a higher project grade or a higher degree. Taking a course without assessment is a depressing experience for students in higher education institutions. Reddan (2013, p.225) states that in colleges where students are not provided with feedback, they tend to reduce their efforts. Therefore, feedback and motivation in assessment tasks in colleges are connected, and they have a significant influence on the performance of students in the grading process.
Coll and Zegwaard (2011, p.54) argues that the professional development of students in colleges in America is influenced by the grading systems that are present in the higher education institution. In America, there exist grade scale and pass-fail scale systems which are the primary assessment tools in colleges. The main objective of these grading systems is to measure the achievements of the students towards set learning objectives. There have existed discussions on the use of grades for learning in the context of higher education. Coll and Zegwaard (2011) researched on the use of grade scale and pass-fail basis in the outcomes of students. The study confirmed that feedback on performance in learning has a significant influence on the students and it is important that it must reflect the genuine achievements of the learners. The grade scale achieves this outcome as it provides more information on the student’s performance than the pass-fail scale.
According to Reddan (2013, p.226), the ungraded scale promotes mediocrity in the learning process as the higher performing students do not get their achievements reported correctly. Grading is an important tool in ensuring motivation of college students. Therefore, educators need to employ the grade scale as college students under this system achieve more academically than colleagues under the pass-fail system. The work performance of students should be graded using percentages or letter grades to ensure they realize the benefits that can be derived from a thoughtful and well-constructed grading scheme. Reddan (2013, p.230) writes that a grade scale produces positive effects on the sense of achievement, motivation, and overall enjoyment of the course of college students.
In higher education, a grade scale assessment system is important as it enhances group cohesion through healthy competition. Reddan (2013, p.230) argues that a grade scale system is important for college students as it promotes individual learning and also motivates the weak students to increase their efforts in performance. Therefore, America colleges and other higher education institutions should adopt a grade scale system as it increases the efforts of the students to prepare for their future careers as this system focuses on developing skills. However, a grade scale system can have some undesired results as it causes excessive competition between the students. Furthermore, the students may become focused on the results rather than the learning process.
In conclusion, a grade scale system offers more opportunities to college students in America and throughout the world. Educators should make decisions to grade their students based on these benefits to be gained. The advantages of adopting a grade scale far outweigh the disadvantages, and it would be worthwhile to rank college courses rather than use a pass-fail assessment system.
Coll, Richard K, and Karsten Zegwaard. International Handbook for Cooperative and Work-Integrated Education: International Perspectives of Theory, Research, and Practice. Lowell, Mass: World Association for Cooperative Education, 2011. Print.
Reddan, G. "To Grade or Not to Grade: Student Perceptions of the Effects of Grading a Course in Work-Integrated Learning." Asia-pacific Journal of Cooperative Education. 14.4 (2013): 223-232. Print
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