Do Grades As Incentives Work?
The article, written by Barry Schwartz and Ken Sharpe, offers a counter-argument against the positive supposition that links work excellence and quantity to the application of right incentives. Educational grading is used as the main premise in the publication. In the introduction, the writers identify a common opinion among school instructors in that grades act as a positive impetus for students towards the achievement of higher ratings in learning. Positive comments, rewards in terms of gifts and scholarships, and the inclusion of penalties tend to enforce the required optimistic behavior in students. The subsequent incentives have proven to be credible instruments towards the enhancement of learners’ grades as evidenced by the various studies conducted with regard to the same. In fact, scholars have argued that harsh grading systems tend to propel students into serious studying habits and consequently a realization of higher accomplishments in school work.
Schwartz and Sharpe do not refute the ability of grades in enhancing academic performance but rather question whether any form of learning takes place within such an arrangement. A notable inhibitor in grade-oriented schedules is that students tend to focus on attainments in form of superior grades as opposed to comprehension and information retention, the major evidences of learning. As a result of this, students are incapable of applying the given knowledge in attaining solutions in various situations. This observation is supported by Lewis in an 1885 study that equates grade-oriented schooling to empty scores that dampen the authentic objectives of learning. As learners focus on the grade, they tend to unhealthy practices like cheating in academic assessments with the highest dread attached to it being caught by an examiner and not the consequences that are caused by lack of learning. Additional unconstructive practices include offering monetary inducements to other students in return for worked out assignments, and the internet resource for the acquisition of academic materials that are plagiarized to fit the student’s requirements.
Students who focus on grades also tend to opt for easy academic subjects that guarantee good grades as opposed to those mandated foe personal development in terms of career objectives. Therefore, learners are discouraged to select courses that are ranked as difficult without any form of thought towards it. Alternatively, such individuals tend to select courses depending on the lecturer, with a high preference for instructors that award high grades. Average and low scoring learners are depressed by their low grades in a manner that effectuates pessimistic tendencies in learning where the students stop studying as their minds get accustomed to the same disheartening expectations in every instance. Schwartz and Sharpe conclude on a hypothesized situation as to the results that would be noted in instances that would either abolish learning grades or offer a homogeneous grade to all students. The lack of pressure would have detrimental impacts notably in the sense that a majority of the students having been imparted with the rule of attainments will ignore studies.
Low performing learners will relax and refrain from industrious learning for better grades while high performing students will feel cheated and under graded thereby putting an end to their studies. In conclusion, the article notes that grading acts as an impetus towards personal learning in terms of grade achievement yet this should not be equated to learning as students adapt unconstructive behaviors in a realization of the same. Therefore, to overcome this limitation, lecturers should appraise whether a student has acquired a comprehension of the same through creation of other assessment procedures, which is referred to as feedback-oriented learning.