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In: Business and Management

Submitted By Ishaque
Words 3396
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5. Introduction
The idea of the topic came into my mind from the conversations I have regularly with my NSU mates. The topic is undoubtedly the most common issue among the NSU students. It is mostly driven by the complex grading policy that NSU follows, which is none other than the conflict between grade and learning. Students face dilemma while giving priority to learning over grades and I expect them to end up giving more priority to grades.
Now, the question is why I have been so pessimistic about their will to learn. I have been studying in NSU for nearly two and a half years and till now, all the conversations I heard is related to grades.
Before taking a course, students ask about the most liberal faculty who takes the course. Do they follow books or slides? Do they take make up exams? Do they curve the grades? I mean the word learning is all that is missing. Nobody feels the anticipation of doing something new in a course. Nobody is thrilled to learn something new or to explore themselves. All that matters is doing the course with least possible effort and a liberal faculty who gives good grades.
From the beginning of my life at NSU, I have been wondering why grades and learning cannot go side by side. Why do students have to face dilemmas between them? It has to be the complex grading policy of NSU which does not let students have enough space to think about what they learn and keep them busy fighting to get good grades.
Students never get to come out of the dilemma even after fighting hard for grades. What keeps them chasing is whether their grades acts as a mirror of what they have learnt so far or not. If they fail to keep the knowledge after doing the courses, their grades would barely carry any value in future.
So, grades and learning does act as a dilemma among the students and I want to study the reasons and outcomes of the dilemma in depth.

6. Background
The tradition of giving grades has started to make life easier for the students. The grades were supposed to reduce the competition among the students, as they were expected not to fight for the first and second position and work hard to get good grades only. But, for several reasons it turned the other way. The students started getting more and more addicted to get grades that they gave up learning.
Grade refers to the modern way of learning, that is, questions are more objective which needs, to the point answers with little or no explanation. For the very reason, students prefer to go through slides and avoid reading books, where they can find only the important points. But, with the help of slides they can only ensure good grades. If they really want to gain knowledge books are the only way to get them. Moreover, as students are coping up with the idea of getting grades, the grading policies are getting more and more complex, making the students worry more and more about grades.
The days when grades were not awarded, life was comparatively easier. People were more depended on books than now and were happy with whatever good they achieved with the hard works they spent studying. They used to talk more about their studies with their friends and less about the scores they want to achieve.
The early ways of studying might not be appropriate in today’s world and extra things should be added to keep the students updated with modern technologies. But, the grades are not a good idea to evolve. It makes students less hard working and makes them think about grades only. The thirst of learning something new dies eventually as they learn as much as they need to get good grades.
Therefore, for the sake of learning an alternative way of judging students is required.

7. Areas of research
My research has altogether three main areas, which include, ‘The types of faculties the students prefer to take’, ‘does grading policies affect learning’ and, ‘can grade and learning go side by side’. I have presented these three parts in the survey in the form of questions. The first question asks, ‘at the end of semesters is it the way faculties teach or, the way they grade matters to you?’ Almost more than 95% of the students answered grade or both, which was expected. I do expect students to choose faculties who give good grades rather than teaching effectively. The second question involved, ‘do you think a less complex grading policy would boost your interest to learn more?’ I have received positive answers from around 80% of the students. This is also what I expected from them. A less complex grading policy is supposed to make students more interested to learn something new. The last question was, ‘do you think, grades and learning can go side by side?’ Here I expected most of the students to give negative answers. But, more than 85% of the students gave positive answers. According to the students grades and learning can go side by side, which does not go with my expectation.

8. Hypothesis
I do expect students of NSU to have the problem regarding grades and learning and they are expected to lean more towards grades. As I can find students talking more about grades in their conversations and little or almost nothing about what they learn, I think students’ minds are ruled by the grades they receive. I expect, students do not intend to utilize what they learn and are more concerned to get a respectable job with the help of grades. I also think their relations with their teachers are more depended on the grades they receive and less on the way they teach.

9. Methodology
For the primary data, I have prepared a questionnaire which involves altogether ten questions, in which some requires reason. The questions are related to my topic, ‘Dilemma of NSU students regarding grade and learning’ and I tried to uphold why there is a clash between grade and learning. Then I surveyed around 23 students from NSU, who are especially from BBA department and one or two from others. I tried to cover all types of students ranging from very good to average to make the survey results fair enough and encouraged them to write reasons for their answers so that they take the survey seriously.
For my secondary data, I mostly took the help of online sources. The sources include articles from online magazines and researches done by writers and teachers. I have collected four such online sources and all of them are related to grade and learning and uphold the drawbacks of grades or how grading policies affect learning. I have also included a movie as my secondary source which speaks about the impact complex grading policies have on students and how it affects the will to learn. Altogether I have collected five secondary sources to help me complete my research.

10. Primary data presentation and analysis
10. A. Expectation from a course 1. Do you take courses you find interesting or easy going?

This graph deals with the anticipation of the students while taking a course. Do they expect the course to be interesting or easy going? Here, horizontal axis shows, interesting or easy going and vertical axis shows, number of students. From the graph, we can see 13 students prefer easy going courses, whereas only 6 students prefer interesting ones. Here, as per survey analysis, it is found that almost more than 66% of the students prefer easy going ones. The survey result is within my expectation that the students would prefer easy going courses to get good grades. According to the survey analysis, students do not take courses they find interesting anymore due to complex grading policy of NSU.

2. Do you bother about who takes the courses?

This graph relates to whether the students bother about who takes a course before taking a course or not. Here, horizontal axis shows, yes or no, where vertical axis shows, number of students. According to the survey analysis they do bother about who takes the course, as 16 students said yes and only 5 students said no. More than 76% students agree that it is important to know the faculty who takes the course. Therefore, they are more concerned about their possibility to get good grades other than the will to learn something new.

3. How much do you bother to re-advise after taking a course?

The graph refers to how much the students actually think about re-advising before taking a course, if the course they are expecting to take is not easy going or if they do not get faculties of their choice. Here, horizontal axis shows, much or less, where vertical axis shows, number of students. The result of the surveys is surprisingly close with 10 students saying much and 9 students saying less. Only a bit more than 52% think much about re-advising if the course or the faculties does not suit them. So, the result is still within my expectation that more of the students bother about re-advising to get good grades.

10. B. Judging a faculty 1. Do you prefer easy going faculties?

This graph refers to whether the students prefer easy going faculties to avoid learning much and get their desirable grades without much effort. Here horizontal axis shows ‘yes or no’ answers, where vertical axis shows number of students. The survey result supports my expectation strongly that students do take easy going faculties to get better grades, showing that 20 students saying yes and only 2 students saying no, that is, more than 90% students agree with my claim.

2. Do you want your faculties to follow text books or slides?

This graph relates to, whether students prefer books to learn more and more, or they want to rely on slides to avoid more learning and get easy grades by memorizing slide points. Here, horizontal axis shows books and slides, where vertical axis shows number of students. 5 students said books and 15 students said slides. That is, 75% of the students have to say that they depend more on slides than on books. This supports my expectation that more students depend on slides to get easy grades.

3. At the end of the semester, is it the way they teach or, the way they grade that matters to you?

This graph relates to, whether students bother more about the way faculties teach or they are more concerned about the grades they receive at the end of the semesters. Horizontal axis shows grades, teach, and both, where vertical axis shows number of students. As per survey result, 6 students prefer grades, 1 student is concerned about teaching and 13 students prefer both teaching efficiencies and good grading. It shows that, 95% of the students prefer grade or both and only 5% prefer mainly teaching. It goes with my expectation that students are more concerned about their teacher’s grading other than teaching.

10. C. Expectation from studies 1. Do you know what to expect from the courses you have done?

The graph relates to whether the students know where the courses are actually leading them to or they are happy with the grades they receive. Here, horizontal axis shows ‘yes or no’ answers and vertical axis shows number of students. 17 students have to say yes, whereas only 3 students say no. 85% of the students have to say that they know where the courses are leading them to, which is against my expectation.

2. Do you think your grades would reflect your knowledge when you enter the job market? The graph shows whether students think their grades would reflect their knowledge in future or not. Here, horizontal axis shows, yes or no, and vertical axis shows number of students. As per survey result, 13 students said yes and 7 students said no. With around 65% of the students saying yes, it is against my expectation. I expected grades would not reflect knowledge as getting good grades require to the point studies, whereas gaining knowledge requires studying the whole thing.

10. D. Grade vs. learning, your thought 1. Do you think a less complex grading policy would boost your interest to learn more?

The graph tells us whether student would be more willing to learn if grading policies were less complex. Here, horizontal axis shows, yes or no and vertical axis shows number of students. 16 students said yes and 4 students said no. With 80% of the students saying yes it would help them want to study more if grading policies were less complex, the survey result supports my expectation.

2. Do you think, grades and learning can go side by side?

The graph shows whether students think grades and learning can go side by side. Here, horizontal axis shows, yes or no and vertical axis shows number of students. 18 students say yes and 3 students say no. With more than 85% of the students saying yes, it is against my expectation. I expected grades refer to knowing only some specific things in a course, but learning requires knowing the course in depth.

11. Secondary Data Presentation & Analysis
Online articles: * Kohn , A . (2011,November) . Educational Leadership [Supplement material] . The Case Against Grades . Retrieved from
In this online article, the writer Alfie Kohn, focused on the drawbacks of grades. He included how grades reduce student’s will to learn. He also included other’s views on how the pressure from grades reduces the will to learn. According to him, grades act as an intrinsic motivation, which help student to motivate to get grades only. Students no more try to study hard and search for sources that consist to the point answers to their academic questions to get good grades. The writer also included that students tend to think more about success than learning as they fight for grades. But, what they forget is knowledge is the actual key to success. * Kohn , A . (1999,March) . High School Magazine [Supplement material] . From Degrading to De-grading . Retrieved from
In this online article, the writer Alfie Kohn said about how grades affect the mentality on students, by doing experiment with students. He also said grades rather act as a de-motivational factor when a student wants to learn something new. According to his experiments, students are losing interest in studying because they give more priority to grades; students no more prefer to do challenging tasks which would boost their knowledge; students no more want to think deeply about a matter which would take their capabilities to another level. Therefore, students are leaning more towards grades than learning as they are compromising their capabilities to get good grades. * Ellis , J . (2009,March) . [Supplement material] . Do Grades Do Any Good? . Retrieved from
Here, the writer Jessica Ellie, wrote about how grades changes the minds of students and parents. Grades at a very young stage make parents and students think that grades are the most important thing. Parents do not bother about what their children learn from the school and is fully dependant on grades. The writer showed the side effects of relying completely on those grades, which are nothing but letters. According to her, grades affect the behavior of students. Students become less attracted to what they learn and choose to do easier tasks which do not involve deep thinking. Moreover, students tend to forget what they learn. This is a common factor of students nowadays. They do not remember what they have learnt, a year before. This is because; their mind was already pre-occupied to get a good grade and their learning were just stairs to achieve them. * Schwartz , Z . (2013,March) . The Globe and Mail [Supplement material] . High School Grade Inflation Balloon Ready to Pop . Retrieved from In this article, the writer talked about ever increasing grade boundaries and still a lot ending up getting an A. In the earlier days, grade boundaries were not so much high and yet the rate of getting good results was less. So, the question arises with the method followed to grade and does the knowledge and grades go side by side. In the world of today, studies have become grade oriented. Students deal more with objective type questions, which include mostly MCQs. As a result they take easier sources to memorize them, such as referred books and slides. Students do not take extra pressure involving higher risks of studying more than is needed. They take shortcuts and end up getting good grades with least possible effort.
Motion picture: * Hirani.R (Director) . (2004) . 3 Idiots [motion picture] . Available from Vinod Chopra Poductions , Mumbai , MI
In this famous Indian movie, the negative side effects of grades are shown very effectively. The movie tells about the pressure felt by the students for getting grades. It also shows that grades and learning cannot go side by side. A student’s mind pre-occupied with grade related worries can never focus on learning something new. This movie was highly appreciated by the audience as it involved true picture of today’s world. Nowadays, almost all the universities follow strict grading policies which do not let the students think something out of the boundary. Student’s power to create something new is no more appreciated highly as grades are taken as the only method to judge them. As a result, students no more get to explore themselves by thinking something out of the boundary, which is truly necessary for their future. The movie upholds all those issues by means of comedy and emotions.

12. Limitations
My project had three major limitations from my point of view. Firstly, my research was based on a questionnaire that mostly consist ‘yes or no’ answers. I wish I could add some questions that had more options to determine the views of the students in a more realistic way. Secondly, my research was fully based on students of NSU. I could add the views of teachers and parents, to determine their concern about the effect grades have on learning. And lastly, I think, if I had more time to work in this project, I could give an alternative solution to the issue. The alternative solution might had involved new way of grading or change in teaching methods, but to determine that, I need to study more on the topic.

13. Conclusion
From the survey analysis, it can be concluded that the students of NSU are actually concerned more about grades than learning. The secondary sources also support the affects of grades on learning. I do believe that there has to be an alternative solution to this problem. Either the grading method has to be eliminated or, a way has to be found where both grades and learning can go side by side, that is grades do reflect the true knowledge of a student. I do look forward for a solution to this problem; the solution which would encourage students to discover the thrill to learn something new and stop wasting their time worrying about grades. I hope somebody to take my research further and find that solution to the problem regarding grade and learning. In order to find that solution, the views of teachers are highly recommended beside students.

14. References * Kohn , A . (2011,November) . Educational Leadership [Supplement material] . The Case Against Grades . Retrieved from * Kohn , A . (1999,March) . High School Magazine [Supplement material] . From Degrading to De-grading . Retrieved from * Ellis , J . (2009,March) . [Supplement material] . Do Grades Do Any Good? . Retrieved from * Schwartz , Z . (2013,March) . The Globe and Mail [Supplement material] . High School Grade Inflation Balloon Ready to Pop . Retrieved from * Hirani.R (Director) . (2004) . 3 Idiots [motion picture] . Available from Vinod Chopra Poductions , Mumbai , MI

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