Originally, the grading scale was introduced in America as a way for teachers to evaluate their students’ work and progress. All over the world, educational systems adhered to either the pass/fail or grade scale as a measurement of their students’ knowledge. A characteristic of any evaluation method involves maximum objectivity to avoid grading bias and ensure equal opportunities for all students. Furthermore, each grade must accurately describe the level of each student in a subject, reflecting their progress over a period of time. Hence, the grade scale would provide a more accurate assessment of students’ knowledge, due to the wide range of marks it provides.
The pass/fail scale would make students feel more stressed about completing assignments or passing a class, adding extra time to their hectic routines. The various exams and school assignments demonstrate the students’ progress in classes, playing a crucial role in the development of their career paths. Therefore, having only one opportunity to move forward in one’s educational life severely limits one’s ability to prove themselves. Since instances of subjective markings also exist, it is important that a student benefits from a precise grade. The pass/fail system of grading, unfortunately, only serves as a vague representation of what a student is capable of.
Moreover, teachers might prefer the grade scale to the pass/fail system because it simplifies the grading process. As mentioned previously, certain subjects almost always include subjective feedback and evaluation. Having more than two options of either a pass or fail provides additional support for the assessment process. Apart from that, educators can utilize the grade system to create specific criteria for their assignments, once again reducing the marking process to clear steps.
The relevancy of the grade scale can be illustrated through its usage worldwide. With grades in the United States being given in an alphabetical standard, the grades are still considered to be equivalent in other countries. For example, in Australian schools and colleges, the grades are not justified as numerical numbers or singular alphabets, but through words. “High Distinction” is an A+, “Distinction” is an A, “Credit” is a B, “Pass” is a C, “Conditional or Compensatory Pass” is a D, and “F” is Fail. In China, two types of grading scales are prominent, from 0 to 100 and 2 to 5. Despite how different countries use alphabets or numbers to grade students’ progress, they all rely on a graded scale as opposed to a pass/fail system.
However, the pass/fail scale can also be advantageous for particular assignments. In that way, students will not be unmotivated if their received grade is below what they had expected. If a subject does not require excessive studying, a simple pass/fail mark will be enough to allow students to go on further. Teachers might appreciate the straightforwardness of this system, without having to contemplate between multiple mark options.
Still, it would be unfair to choose a general grading method for American colleges solely for its simplicity. To produce their best work with determination, students must be given valid feedback. This feedback partially includes a specific grade, not just a pass/fail option. Otherwise, the students will not learn as much as they will attempt to pass a class. The grade scale also allows for more structured assessment formats.
To conclude, the grading scale rules out to be the most efficient way to keep up with students’ progress on work and class. This scale allows students to have more range in being successful as opposed to a pass/fail scale. Although in some classes the pass/fail seems to be the most beneficial for the teacher, it does not allow students to demonstrate their full potential and improve.