Panacea for our Grading System

Do CGPA in colleges and Grades in Schools do more harm than good to students? Are CGPA and Grades the best benchmark to compare the individual knowledge base? Do CGPA and Grades actually project the chances of a students’ success in his/her job?

A HR head of an IT MNC remarked “Our markings are performance based rather activity based hence, not the best criteria to judge a student’s potential and criteria.

A comment on CGPA system goes like this “I think the CGPA system has some disadvantages also. I read it somewhere that in IITs and other institutes(Engg.) where CGP system is used , people recognise each other only by their CGPs. One of my friends (IITD student) told me that they form interest groups, project groups even friends only with the people of nearly the same CGP. Now if it was a problem with him or the complete IIT, I don’t know….

But, what are the alternatives one has to make a judgment on a student’s caliber and the related success rate? One needs to identify that the present system of grading is a performance based system where a student’s performance across a set of exams is tested. However, a student with good knowledge base and less of presentation skills mars his/her performance in the grading system. An ideal system should be test of students’ involvement in activities related to learning which makes the learning system more holistic.

An activity based grading system needs to be supported by an individualized curriculum wherein the student identifies the area of interest where he requires himself to be tested. In contrast to the present system, the area of interest identified by the student would be more driven by real interest rather than one decided by the society or based on job prospects. Presently, students’ areas of interests are shaped by society or family which is ultimately designed by the job prospects. In such a situation, the real interest is a backburner hence again the system of grading shall fail.

To name a few some of the policies that can followed in such a grading system are:-

  • Not giving zeroes for incomplete or missed work. Giving importance to the methodology employed to approach the problem rather than to result obtained thereby giving more importance to the underlying concepts.
  • Replacing a more recent score with an old one when the new score represents mastery of the same standard.
  • Using trend data rather than percentage to determine summative grades.
  • Separating academic from non-academic grades.

Apart from implementing the system, teachers and the authority needs to educate about the need of such a system to the society and the families of the students. Without proper change in the attitude of the society towards education system (education as a means to employment to education as a means to explore one) the proposed system of grading will be a mere theory.