Should Grades Be Eliminated?

September 27, 2017
NICOLAS MCCOMBER—GETTY IMAGES

Some schools are giving letter grades an F. In their place, students will get detailed progress reports.

Critics argue that grades don’t say much about which skills a student has mastered. That C in math could mean you’re struggling with division. It might also mean you turn in your homework late.

The teacher’s comments give more information. They can describe which skills a student needs to work on and those at which he or she excels.

But not everyone likes the idea of grade-free report cards. Some parents don’t want the change. They know an A is good and an F is bad. Teacher comments are not so simple. There’s also another problem. How will students show proof of their achievements?

TFK Kid Reporters share their opinions on which system makes more sense.

YES

Benje Choucroun, 12

Corte Madera, California

Grades are outdated. The letters and numbers on report cards send the wrong message. They turn school into a game. The goal becomes getting As and Bs. Instead, students should try to understand difficult concepts. What’s more, a bad grade can hurt your confidence. And it doesn’t help you figure out how to improve. Rather than focus on grades, students should pay close attention to the teacher’s comments. They will guide students in the steps to take to improve. Think about this: Grades have been around for more than a hundred years. Isn’t it time to try something new?

NO

Gabrielle Hurd, 10

St. Louis, Missouri

Grades let parents track their kid’s progress in school. A parent can see the improvement from a C in math on an early report card to a B on the last one. A grade of C lets parents know their child needs extra support. An A, on the other hand, shows skill. Without grades, parents would have to rely on teacher comments to determine how their child is doing. The comments might not be as easy to understand as a grade. There’s another complication. Let’s say your child wants to apply to a middle school or high school that wants top grades. Teacher comments may help. But the school may still need to see grades on a report card as an added guarantee.