While I was reading the University newspaper a few days ago, I came across an interesting idea: the pass/fail grading system. This system is used in several nations, and seems to me that it would be quite a good idea to implement in the United States.
Here’s how it works: if your score on an assignment is greater than a certain value (usually fifty or sixty percent), then you get a mark of “pass.” Otherwise, you get a “fail.” Under this system, all the pressure of and concern about numerical grades is lifted.
Now, perhaps twenty-five or fifty years ago, this system would not have differed much in its social impact from the numerical grading system already in place. But we are living in the age of obsessiveness, and I’ve watched many of my personal friends go through torturous times thinking and obsessing about these numbers that “determined their futures.” I don’t think it’s a particularly good idea to pre-burn-out America’s students, and cause them to fear and despise grading periods. All that does is make our education issues even worse.
And people wonder why Americans are lagging academically. (More on this later).