4.0 grading system puts limitations on learning

Austin Loukas

Carly Yamrus, Opinion Editor

Is a 4.0 really a perfect score? In some classes, assigning a perfect score to students’ work gives them the idea that their work is flawless and does not need improvement.

A lot of people here at Wilkes have a similar goal, and that is to obtain  a certain GPA. Preferably a high one. We spend our semesters striving for that 4.0; a perfect score. But is a 4.0 really a perfect score?

Well it really depends on what you are measuring. The knowledge in testing can be either objective, which is unbiased, factual information, or subjective, which can be analytical and interpretive. A 4.0 in a calculus class is far different from a 4.0 in a creative writing class.  In calculus, you either got the answer right or you got it wrong. In the writing class though, there is always room for improvement.

In my first year English course I received multiple 4.0’s on papers that I believed were far from flawless. So here is where I pull out the double-edged sword. Of course I want a 4.0. Why? Because we need a high GPA to succeed in future endeavors. But did I deserve a 4.0? I don’t think I did. I wanted my papers to be better. I would rather be a good writer with a C than an average writer with an A.

We are cheating our students by telling them that they are turning in perfect work when they have ample amounts of room to expand their ideas and improve their abilities. There is simply too much emphasis placed on getting that “perfect” score.

When we focus so hard on such an impractical grading system we lose sight of the real goal of higher education, which is to learn and understand new ideas and to practice until we get it right.

I have found myself on many occasions cramming in last-minute fragments of information for a test, and then completely forgetting what I had learned after I was done. That 4.0 will mean nothing to me when I am out of school and need to apply the information I learned to real-life scenarios. So much information, so little time.

We are sponges. Always absorbing information and then getting it squeezed out of us so we can absorb more. A vicious cycle, really.

I suppose the number grades are really only there as an incentive to try. Not everyone is self -motivated enough to want to learn information for the sake of knowing.

So which is more effective: infiltrating our brains with a vast amount of information that we have a nominal understanding of, or focusing on only a moderate amount of topics that we have more time to become familiar with? A 4.0 to me doesn’t necessarily mean you know the information.

I really do believe that too much emphasis is placed on the grade. A 4.0 seems to me like a period at the end of a sentence. Once its reached, we’re done. Finished. Don’t have to learn anymore. But really there is no end to our knowledge and understanding.

There is always room for improvement. We should continue to further develop our skills and go beyond our set definition of what is “perfect.”