Grading systems vary from one person to another as well as within different organizations. A pass in one institution may be a fail in another depending on the amount of marks required to get to either of the levels. This means that two students with the same marks may be having different grades. This further implies that one student might be disadvantaged over the other depending on the marks used as a grading reference. Following this argument, it is clear that grading system is one of the policies that need a thorough streamlining in most institutions of higher learning. This would help to reduce the disparities experienced when students are graded using different systems.
The Scope of Different Grading Systems
Universities formulate the principles guiding the grading systems. Their main purpose is to gauge student’s performance depending on the total marks scored. However, some tutors and lecturers decide to apply different grading systems depending on the magnitude of the exam. It is also applicable in distinguishing different subjects whereby science subjects have a lower grading system than the humanities subjects. The main purpose of this is to create equality given that sciences are considered to be more challenging than humanities.
Effectiveness and Implementation
This policy is considered effective by the university management since it brings equality between sciences and humanities. It forms an instrument used to narrow the variation between the performers and non-performers. However, they leave many students lamenting arguing that all subjects are equal, and each subject is challenging in its own capacity. On the other hand, grading systems ensure that there is a standard curve in the performance of exams. This is reflected in situations where an exam is cheap, and students score high marks. In this regard, the grading system regulates the curve given that there should be a set number of students with a pass, average and below average respectively. This may have a negative perspective in case the grading system is lowered in a situation where the students have performed poorly. This is because it may disadvantage students whose grading system was raised over those whose was lowered. Consequently, the whole issue of different grading systems may receive both negative and positive criticism in equal measure. At the same time, those favored by lowering the grading system would be victims of a raised system tomorrow.
Members Affected and Perception
The grading system affects all students within the institution since exams are unavoidable. Following this, every student becomes a victim of a raised or a lowered grading system at one time or the other. In most cases, a variation in grading systems may be across departments or within one department. As stated earlier, lowered grading systems are usually applied in science departments while raised systems are applied in humanities departments. However, the two systems may be applied within one department by different professors depending on the performance. Where students perform well, the professors concerned raise the marks required to attain certain grades while poor performance will have the marks lowered.
The whole policy of different grading systems is perceived differently by different individuals. For the science students, they support it without any reservation but humanity students totally oppose it. Some people claim that some university professors may lower the grading systems to favor their students. In such a situation, students with very low marks would find themselves with high grades. This would disadvantage a student who scores highly, and the grading system is not altered in his or her favor. It is, therefore, clear that an understanding on the grading system is relative. It depends on who is advantaged and who is disadvantaged. However, there should be a harmonization of the grading system so as to ensure fairness and equity.
Not much has been done on the issue of the grading system at the universities. Some institutions perceive this to be a difficult problem to address as no method would be totally perfect. Science professors argue in favor of their departments defending their lowered grading systems. On the other hand, humanity lecturers push for equality claiming that all subjects are equal. There are also instances where professors impose their own grading systems to favor their subjects.
The best solution would be having common exam software with a harmonized grading system. The professors would only be required to key in the marks and the software would award the grade depending on the marks scored. This would ensure that professors would not have the power to manipulate the grades awarded. This would consequently ensure equality among all students regardless of the departments they belong to.
The only institutional body that has the power to change or abolish this policy is the administration. It is because all policies put in place must be affirmed by the highest authority. This is made possible given that orders flow downwards, and any order from the highest authority would be respected and adhered to. The institution administration has the power to weigh various proposals available and select the best adjustment or policy change.
Proposal on the Action to Be Taken
This proposal is addressed to the university management on the issue of different grading systems being used by the professors.
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It is evident that the university uses different grading systems to different students. It is common between science and humanities departments as well as among lecturers when the performance regulation is vital. However, the use of different grading systems is an advantage to some people while others become victims. It creates lamentation among students who do not benefit from it while those favored give it a full support. Lowering marks to favor science students may make them lazy since the grading mark is low. There should the same pass mark which would encourage students from all departments to work hard in the same measure. This may also create a mentality that some subjects are inferior to others. In my view, all subjects are equal and should be graded equally. In addition, different grading systems may tempt some lecturers to lower the grading system to some of the students who perform poorly.
There are several evidences supporting that there are different grading systems and that those who apply them are motivated by different reasons. According to Maslow, different grading systems demoralize students who work hard given that lowering of marks only favors those with low marks. Although it considers a large number of those with low marks, it ignores a few who score exemplary marks. Several grading systems put some departments in superior classes than others especially sciences and humanities. Marks noted that lowering marks for the low scorers encourages them to be lazy while it may make the high scorers drop. Therefore, all these scholars are for the idea that there should be a standardized system to be used in grading all subjects regardless of the marks scored.
The Action Plan
Considering all the information stated above, there should be a harmonized grading system. Before this is set in place, it is good to note that all subjects are equal without considering whether they are sciences or humanities. At the same time, the grading system should be fair to both the high and low scorers. The university management should also bear in mind that a flexible grading system may be manipulated by some professors to favor some students.
Considering all these points, it is evident that there should be a rigid exam grading system with software that is free from human manipulation. The work of the professors would be to key in marks after marking. This software should be preset so that it awards grades depending on the marks scored. It should also be such that no one can alter the marks and grades once the grading process is finished. Such software should not recognize science or humanities subjects and should treat all genders equally. This is the only mechanism that can bring fairness within the learning institutions.
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Apart from that, there should be secondary examiners who cross check whether the marks keyed in are the actual marks scored by the students. This is contributed by the fact that some professors may be tempted to key in higher marks than the ones scored to some students. This may be driven by several factors such as gender issues and family ties.
University professors use different grading systems while grading the students. Though ill motives may not drive this, it may have many disadvantages. These include the perception that some subjects are inferior to others while favoring students with low marks. It may also tempt some lecturers to award good grades where low marks have been attained which may disadvantage those who score high marks. Gender issues may also arise where females may be favored by the system over the males. With all these factors and reasons, it is clear that the university professors should use the same grading system.