It’s very competitive to get in a top ranking university in China. The admission is only based on one examination (college entrance examination), and there is only one chance to take the examination every year. If you cannot get a good score, you have to be back to high school and wait another year. It’s so cruel and you will never want to fail the exam. There are lots of debates about college admission in China because it seems not reasonable to make decisions based on one examination. But it is how it works now. Based on this situation, grading system is so popular and almost every middle school and high school use the grading and ranking system to evaluate students’ academic achievements.
I have very complicated feeling for grading. When I was in high school, every students received a tiny piece of note after midterm and final exams. On the note showed the score and ranking of each subject in the class and the whole grade. And the school asked us to show the note to parents and got them sign the note. I always feel extremely anxious before I got the score ranking note. If I got a nice ranking, it would be very encouraging since the hard work got the gains. But if it is not very satisfying score, I always had a lot of emotions aroused. For one thing, it’s disappointing because it proved a poor performance to some extent. Secondly, there was pressure from my parents. Moreover, everyone is worried about the college entrance examination and want to be completely prepared for it. Overall, I am not big fun of this kind of assessment method. But I cannot say I hate it because it could help me know how I was doing for each subject and make a specific goal for next time.
I must say some learning process is not fun at all. Especially for the subject which there are right answers for every questions. Then the teachers need to score the homework and exams. But what happened to the subject which there are no correct or wrong answers? “Learning scientists confirm that it is relatively simple to test for subject matter content recall and difficult to assess independent critical thinking and creativity.” As illustrated in Marilyn M. Lombardi’s article. I used to be reluctant to accept the scores on thesis about history or culture topic. Because there are no correct viewpoint. I do not think the teacher or anyone has the right to say it is good or not.
Grading system improve the performance for some people in some subject. On the other hand, it also reduce the motivation for those who cannot adapt to the system. It is like a giant monster which is chasing after me. Sometimes it makes me want to study and work harder to gain a better ranking. But sometimes it makes the whole thing so scary. For the teachers, I would suggest use it carefully and deferentially.