Why do letter grades exist

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In summary, the conversation discusses the use of letter grades in the education system and the issue of standardization. While some argue that letter grades are not accurate and can vary from place to place, others believe that they serve the purpose of defining where students are at. The conversation also touches on the idea of using a scale of 100 points instead of letter grades. However, it is noted that different class levels can also affect grades and there is no perfect system for standardizing grades.
  • #1

ShawnD

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As mentioned in this thread, letter grades are not standardized. People can't even be compared with letter grades, so what's the point of such a system?
 
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  • #2
I always thought letter grades were dumbass ideas. If they're not accurate and fluctuate in ranges from place to place what's the point? :confused:
 
  • #3
Well the fluctuating grades are not the real problem. You could have an emensly hard class with a 15% deviation per grade and the work put in for a B (which would be at the least, a 70% or a C in any other class) would not be equivalent to B effort in a 10% deviation class.

If you could say... gauge real world effort, its kind of like this. Let's say you put in 500 'work' points in this scale we create. Let's say that 500 is worth a B in a normal 10% deviation class. Let's say you have a hard as heck class though. In that hard class, its appropriate to re-define grades because 500 work points may only be worth a 70%! Thus, you would make a 70% worth a B so that the letter grades on your transcript match up with the work you do. Whether this is used correctly in practice is a very case-by-case problem.
 
  • #4
Grades exist to define where people are at. It is really the duty of the teacher to decided how difficult it is to get a certain grade. Just because you may need a 95 for an A in one class, and an 85 for an A in another class does not mean that one is easier than the other. Meaning that, imo, an A is an A regardless of whether you needed a 97, or a 78, to receive it.
 
  • #5
For me, i prefer if they make a scale of 100 points to the grades, instead of 4 letters...

I am almost goin back home, since i am almost losing my scholarship. And this becuase of two letter grades where i got EXACTLY on the border to pass tothe next letter, while in terms of numbers, it apears much nicer, much more nicer. [WTF? getting B+ and losing 0.5 point per credit in that class just by losing ONE POINT from 450 and gettin in the border of two letters, i am hanging myself soon... :bugeye: ]
 
  • #6
ShawnD said:
As mentioned in this thread, letter grades are not standardized. People can't even be compared with letter grades, so what's the point of such a system?
The letter grades are standardized within a school system which is usually at least an entire city and really don't seem to vary much across the country. Private schools are usually a bit tougher. My older daughter went to school in 5 different states (GA, NY, IL, PA & KS) and no noticeable difference. I really don't see a problem with it.
 
  • #7
Evo said:
My older daughter went to school in 5 different states (GA, NY, IL, PA & KS)
Good grief! Wouldn't anybody keep her? I thought it was the younger one that was Evil. :tongue:
 
  • #8
Moses said:
For me, i prefer if they make a scale of 100 points to the grades, instead of 4 letters...

I am almost goin back home, since i am almost losing my scholarship. And this becuase of two letter grades where i got EXACTLY on the border to pass tothe next letter, while in terms of numbers, it apears much nicer, much more nicer. [WTF? getting B+ and losing 0.5 point per credit in that class just by losing ONE POINT from 450 and gettin in the border of two letters, i am hanging myself soon... :bugeye: ]

Well yah that sucks but i think it normalizes itself out. I think you'd probably get as much 81%'s as 79%'s so it kinda equilizes. What i hate is how different class levels affect your grade. LIke this one girl who was one of the magna cum laude (or whichevers the absolute top) had 1 AP class and a few honor classes and the rest were regular high school classes. She gets 4.32 while this one guy i know who took... i think about 20 AP classes and the rest were honor classes (except a few regular high school level classes you have to take and he got a single B and got 4.31
 
  • #9
There is no way to standardize grades across different teachers, subjects and schools, so letters are as good as any other. All it really does is roughly sort students out into general categories.
 

1. Why do schools use letter grades?

Letter grades are used in schools as a way to evaluate and communicate a student's academic performance. They provide a standardized and easy-to-understand system for teachers, students, and parents to track progress and identify areas for improvement.

2. What is the purpose of letter grades?

The main purpose of letter grades is to measure a student's understanding and mastery of the material being taught. This helps teachers and schools to gauge the effectiveness of their instruction and identify students who may need extra support.

3. How are letter grades determined?

Letter grades are typically determined based on a combination of factors, such as test scores, class participation, homework, and projects. Each school or teacher may have their own specific grading criteria, but the overall goal is to accurately reflect a student's performance in the class.

4. Why are letter grades important?

Letter grades are important because they provide a measure of a student's academic progress and can help to motivate and guide them towards improvement. They are also often used as a factor in college admissions and can have an impact on a student's future opportunities.

5. Are letter grades an effective way to evaluate students?

There is some debate about the effectiveness of letter grades as a form of evaluation. While they can provide a general overview of a student's performance, they may not accurately reflect their true understanding and can be influenced by external factors such as test anxiety. Some educators argue for alternative forms of assessment that focus on a student's growth and development rather than a letter grade.

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