Grades vs. Marks

Which is better, grades or marks? A chicken and egg question did you say? Not so much related, but definitely as difficult to answer.
They say doing away with marks does away with stress, does away with the academic pressure students face. So now, the infamous rat-race has bleak chances of survival. The common complaint ,”He got just one mark more than me and got through to that prestigious college…” will no longer be heard. No more innocent lives lost because of some ridiculous cut-off marks. How wonderful.
Awarding grades throughout the year to the student,they further say, takes care of the last-minute-before -exams-stress and eases pressure from the students’ minds. It does sound logical. An illness or an accident or some such unprecedented, unavoidable circumstance will not take away your chances of scoring good grades if you have been studying consistently throughout the year. But, wait a minute….what if you are one of those not so rare intelligent souls who would like to enjoy throughout the year educating themselves as it were, with lessons not so academic, and just at the last moment hit the well-trodden road with steely determination to finish the race at par with all the Chaturs of the world? My sympathies for you my friend.

I am sadly aware of the powers invested to that demi-god called Teacher who wields her Grade Register ominously before your eyes everytime you are about to slip out of the clutches of Academic Righteousness to experience the normal pleasures of life. You must follow the dictum or be accursed with the lowliest grade imaginable. Surely our well-meaning educationists did not bargain for such a year-long stress-factor!
The “Off with Exams” war-cry was hailed as a much-needed decision by many, including some intellectually-challenged individuals like yours truly. Now that the grading system has changed the lives of our children, we suddenly realise that just a landmark decision or a change in a system will not work wonders. It
will take a long time to bring about actual change as what finally matters is the teacher-student relationship and how much education has been imparted and absorbed by the pair.
Stress will only cease when our children will learn how to handle their emotions in a mature manner and be responsible for their own actions. The teacher, their guide, can only help them to learn how to best handle situations in life, which, irrespective of grades or marks, can wreak havoc or become a lesson in life, whatever they allow it to be.

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~ by annapurna das on January 31, 2010.

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