Grades vs. Learning

Table of Content

Although grades and learning usually walk hand in hand with one another, they are two totally different topics. Grades are a part of the whole learning process but learning is not just based off of grades. Students have to be able to fully comprehend what they are learning. The technical or professional type of education does not let this type of learning become possible. The liberal arts college education is the preeminent type of education in our society today. In order for a person to become well-rounded, get a decent job, turn out to be a better citizen as a whole, and develop a sense of moral character, the liberal arts college education is the best route to go. The liberal arts college education is the best way to make learning possible as well as continuing a grading system using A-F as grades.

Through this liberal education process, students are learning more; this helps expand their sense of character. Students become well rounded because they are being opened up to a little bit of everything that is going on in the world. If people are opened up to many different topics, they may decide to lean toward a different major in the long run. This will ultimately get them the ideal job that they have always been looking for. Students need their minds expanded as much as they possibly can be. Through the liberal arts education, the students are not being completely closed minded about other ideas and topics that are floating around in the world. Instead, they can use what they have learned and apply this information to real world situations that they may encounter in the future. According to “A UW-Green Bay Education,” “The University approaches the liberal arts ideal-and aspires to transform rather than to merely teach students-with a strategy that recognizes understanding that is deep, complete and effective requires from multiple perspectives”(6). This proves how better off a student is with a liberal education.

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Another key idea of the liberal education is the sense of a student that is striving to become a better citizen as a whole. In order to become a better citizen, a person needs to be well aware of what is going on in the world. Connecting what a student learns is directly related to life. “Students, faculty and staff connect learning to life, every day, through research, internships, paid employment, and volunteer involvement in the community”(A UW-Green Bay Education 6). Everyone at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay experiences a great environment around them because of this idea of serving the country by being a better citizen. Another plus side of being a better citizen is through all this background knowledge of what is going on in the whole world. Citizens are more in tune and have better judgment when it comes to electing a governor or a president because they are well educated in all these areas. Experiencing a liberal education is a key part of a students’ life when it comes to making imperative decisions.

When applying for a job, the most prepared that someone can ever be is by receiving a liberal arts education, being able to get the best grades possible, being extremely motivated, and to have other job screening tests for each individual job. Schroeder also states, “The best preparation for that employment situation, they say, is probably a formal liberal arts education combined with skill and specialty development through internships, work, or other nonacademic experiences” (1). Employees will be able to deal with any situation thrown at them since they have endured such a varied background of knowledge through the years of schooling. “Students who have studied in the liberal arts will be uniquely suited to meet these looming challenges because of their having developed a familiarity with a wide variety of ideas in both science and culture”(1).

A survey was designed by the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce(EQW) and conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census in 1994. They found out that there were three principle findings. “Establishments that use school measures-grades, teacher recommendations, and the reputation of an applicant’s school-to screen job applicants have smaller proportions of employees with less than one year of tenure”(“Weighing the Benefits: Incentives for Connecting Schools and Employers” 1). William Cronon also suggested some superior qualities by how someone can tell if another person is liberally educated. Some examples include: “they can write clearly and persuasively, they practice humility, tolerance, and self-criticism, and they nurture and empower the people around them” (Harrington 50).

Mandrell and I are on the same page when it comes to having grades based off a grading system of A-F for maximum learning. Students are so much more motivated when they know what specific grade they are receiving in the class. It pushes them to receive that “A” and by pushing themselves harder, they are in fact learning the material, whether they know that or not. Another positive idea that comes along with having the A-F grading scale is that it promotes self-discipline for most students. Everyone wants to receive good grades, whether it is for them to get into a better college or grad school or to please their parents. Receiving good grades eventually leads up to trying to work at a well paying job and being satisfied with all that the individual has accomplished. Mandrell states, “Learning must somehow be linked to a product. That product must be measured or graded to gauge the worth of the product according to the merit it deserves” (439).

If there were not any grades at all, there would be even more lazy people then there already are today. Without any motivation, like a grade, students would not do anything for the class. Students need some sort of incentive to be striving for in the end. Personally, if grades did not count I would not even bother coming to half of my classes. I need to be pushed to complete my work and through this force, my learning ability is definitely increased. “Eliminating grades entirely would require too sudden a shift in our society” (Farber 443). It just wouldn’t be a healthy state to put a student into. I agree with Farber on this point that he makes, but not on when he says, “Grades have prevented us from growing up” (441). Grades help us grow up and give us some sort of guidelines to follow in order to be successful in life.

Farber states, “Furthermore, on a campus where there is enormous resistance to abolishing grades, one could put forth a fairly good half-way compromise-the Credit system- which is from my point of view, worth trying even though it falls short of what should be the real goal: no grades at all” (443). Without grades, things would be way more chaotic and it would force students to not even focus on trying to be able to learn anything. They would just get the bare minimum done while still receiving the credit for the class. A student is not receiving the total amount of learning that they should be.

Grades are just as important as a well developed person who is in tune with the rest of the world. The top priority is not necessarily grades of a student when it comes time to hiring someone. Personality goes a long way and being able to carry yourself and explain certain views to customers or guests is a huge part of the working world today. “Three out of every four employers reported that neither grades, teacher recommendations, nor the reputation of the school attended provided useful information on a job applicant’s suitability for employment”(Shanker 1). This above statement contradicts what I believe and I disagree on how this information is not useful.

Grades are definitely a good source to look at though because obviously if the job is between two people and one specific person has a 4.0 and an awesome personality and another person has a 3.5 and a just as fun personality, the employer will pick the best out of the bunch. Grades are an important part of finding someone to do a decent job, as well as each company having personality tests or other little tasks they could have an applicant complete. If the employer was a certain type of employee working for them it is extremely necessary for the employer to have the employee go through some of their own tests to make sure this is exactly what they are looking for.

My liberal arts view of education helps a person go farther in society today. They are more knowledgeable in general in a variety of areas. They are more aware of current situations that are going on in the world and this also helps when they get a random situation thrown at them that they do not normally go about everyday. They can interpret what to do in those types of situations. Society is much better off with people who know exactly what they are talking about and can make important decisions with having all the knowledge necessary to make them. I would much rather have someone who is in charge of a very important job, like a doctor or the president, who knows about outside information, rather than just their specific area of work. With this outside information and textbook information, trusting this individual comes a lot easier.

Learning will get you far in life, but someone will get the farthest in life as long as they receive a liberal arts education, this includes: being well-rounded, have self-fulfillment, become a better citizen of the world, having moral development, and getting the good grades that everyone wants. Mandrell makes it clear that having a specific grading system helps motivate students more and they do not become lazy in the long run. They will obtain those dream jobs that they have always wanted and will pursue a road of happiness.

Works Cited

Farber, Jerry. “A Young Person’s Guide to the Grading System.” Reading and Writing in the Academic Community. 3RD ed. Eds. Nancy L. Kennedy and Hadley M. Smith. Upper, NJ:PPH, 2006. 441-444.

Harrington, Katharine L. “To Seek a Newer World.” Liberal Education 89.2 (2003): 46-52.

Mandrell, Liz. “Zen and the Art of Grade Motivation.” Reading and Writing in the Academic Community. 3RD ed. Eds. Nancy L. Kennedy and Hadley M. Smith. Upper, NJ:PPH, 2006. 434-440.

Schroeder, Ken. “Jobs and the Liberal Arts.” The Education Digest 71.8 (2006): 1-2.

“A UW-Green Bay Education.” Undergraduate Catalog. UW-Green Bay. 2006.6-7.

“Weighing the Benefits:Incentives for Connecting Schools and Employers.” Change 28 (1996): 1-4.

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Grades vs. Learning. (2017, Dec 01). Retrieved from

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