ERIC Number: ED049704
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1971-Feb-4
The Positive Functions of Grades.
Feldmesser, Robert A.
There has been a great deal of controversy about the value of grades and much of it has been negative. Yet grades perform several valuable functions. They provide the student with a sense of how good his general performance has been and can help him decide whether or not to continue in certain subject areas or, in the larger context, whether to continue with his education. Where grading is required, the instructor is under some pressure to develop reasonable criteria, and the reporting requirement restrains the instructor from making evaluations that merely reflect his ideological or punitive inclinations - he could be called upon to justify his grades. Since grades are important, the student is forced to take the evaluation of his work seriously. In this respect grades can be motivators to achievement. Some of the criticism of grades is unwarranted: i.e., that they rely on extrinsic rewards, that they do not predict later success, that they foster competitive attitudes, and that low grades discourage students from further study in the subject. The excessive anxiety that grades may arouse can be countered by limitations on the uses made of the grade record. The issue over whether grades are valid measures of academic performance can be dealt with by giving faculty members training in making educational evaluations. (AF)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC.
Note: Paper presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, February 4, 1971