If there is one thing that many people struggled with at some point in school, it’s maintaining good grades all the time. The A-to-F scale has been criticized for being an inaccurate measure of academic excellence and now it’s being phased out in some schools.
According to NPR, some colleges and universities in the United States are experimenting with eliminating grades in order to help new students adapt to college life. The idea behind abandoning the traditional grading system is that getting rid of grades will reduce the pressure on students to perform well and encourage them to focus more on learning and exploration.
This particular approach is designed to be useful for those who are among the first in their families to attend college or university, as well as those who did not have the same level of preparation for higher education as most people. The goal of this new practice is to make the transition between high school and college easier.
Jody Greene, special adviser to the provost for educational equity and academic success at University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) said, "Grades are not a representation of student learning, as hard as it is for us to break the mindset that if the student got an A it means they learned … if a student already knew the material before taking the class and got that A, they didn't learn anything …”
Grades have also been a huge part of college students’ stress levels. The number of college students with one or more mental health issues has gone up double since 2013, according to a study. Serena Ramirez, a UCSC freshman said, “A lot of the time I'm just so stressed in the class that I can barely focus… Now you're an adult, you're by yourself, you're responsible for your grades. The additional stress of grades just sort of undermines the whole learning."
Universities are beginning to understand the importance of learning the material taught in classes as opposed to prioritizing the effort towards achieving high grade point averages. Campuses like the University of Pittsburgh and Missouri State University are all implementing the new norm of rewarding satisfactory work without a letter grade in hopes that the information passed onto students through courses is being absorbed rather than memorized for a good GPA.