Contrary to the belief of Arthur Lean, author of the article The Farce Called Grading, students are naturally, stupid dolts who must somehow be coerced, cajoled, persuaded, threatened, strong-armed into learning. Those few however, who are not, can go to college where an honor code is in place, such as New College of USF or Harvey Mudd, and the farce called grading will be of no encumbrance to the individual. The rest of the students need a system by which academic achievement can be measured. After observing many a high school student, it is apparent that without a system of scholastic comparison very few would strive to learn.
What motivation would there be to read that extra page or two the night before the big examination? In the world of grading, the extra page could mean 20 points on a physics test. In the unrealistic world of Lean, however, that one page which could result in the absolute epiphany of the reader, could mean nothing, save the written reports of descriptive comments dependability, intelligence, and honesty. Arthur Lean claims that it would be more beneficial to an employer to have written reports regarding certain character traits of job seekers.
This, he states, is more helpful to the employer than say, a B-plus in college algebra. This idea is altogether untrue. Working as a computer technician, I was informed by my employer that the most advantageous part of my application was my advanced level of high school classes and standardized math test scores. Letters of recommendation were disregarded in his statement. In short, any job that requires high levels of thought and logic can be matched with individuals who present high test scores.
Any Microsoft employer would quickly argue that evidence of strong computer programming (i. e. rades, original written programming code, previous jobs) are better indicators of expected performance than written letters of characteristic traits, or history of parent-teacher conferences. Arthur Lean is wrong in believing that grades are poor indicators of academic achievement. There is no scenario to support his view that grading is unfavorable to students, except for different professors issuing different grades. However, he failed to mention that grade curves in college classes do well to take care of this problem. Also, Lean easily slanders our process of student comparison, but gives no reasonable alternatives to grading.