The Airasian School System

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The American school system is dependent on grades. However, has one ever stopped to question why? Peter Airasian, a measurement expert, explains that educators use grades primarily for administrative purposes and to give students feedback about their progress and achievement. Yet such a system directly contradicts the intended purpose and instead fosters an environment of compliance and shortcuts. Students become so concerned with achieving the highest possible grade they disregard learning and resort to alternative methods of obtaining it. Such an ineffective system directly contradicts the Romantic ideals set in place in the mid-1800s. One ideal stressed by many authors of the time was the importance of individualism and not conforming to …show more content…

In today’s world grades are highly esteemed in the sense that those who obtain the highest grades are normally praised and are allowed to continue their education. This diminishes creativity and intrinsic motivation of the students, as it demonstrates the same idea of telling a painter what and how to paint. In return, school becomes a place of tests and conformity rather than learning and expression. Dylan William, British educationalist and professor of Educational Assessment at the University of London, in his book Education Leadership exposes the true impact of letter grades. He states, “When students receive both scores and comments, the first thing they look at is their score, and the second thing they look at is, someone else 's score. Being compared with others triggers a concern for preserving well-being at the expense of growth" (Williams 34). Students become so wrapped up in achieving the highest score and competing with classmates they forget the purpose of school, to learn. When people want to learn they use their imagination and develop new and creative ways of viewing problems. The ability to imagine things pervades our entire existence. It influences everything, including thought and creation, and leads to elaborate theories, dreams, and inventions in any profession. This can best be seen during America’s Romantic period, which emphasized individuality and not following in the path of others. Therefore, it can be assumed that many Romantic authors would disapprove of the current grading system followed by Oshkosh West. An example is Henry David Thoreau, who in his essay collection, “Walden”, expresses his opinion of nonconformity. He states, “I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success

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