Grades or growth?
As one of the most influential figures of American education, Benjamin Franklin, said, “Tell me and I will forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I will learn.” The foundation of education in American was built upon learning and receiving a better life. Grades were originally formed around the 1940s for overgrown schools that needed a way of measuring the students’ success. While it may have been successful for a time, the grade systems at most universities need an update.
Brown University, an Ivy League school in Rhode Island, addressed this issue and reformed its grading system. At Brown, students are given the option of A, B, C, no credit, or are given a pass/fail option. The idea behind this is that students will engage in opportunities such as internships, personal projects, or research studies and leave them with more practical skills and a broader portfolio. In 2018-2019, Brown had one of the highest graduation rates at 95.5% As a student at BYU, I have often caught myself playing the grade game; I work for hours on a tedious assignment purely based on the extrinsic motivation of an A. Grades do motivate students and provide feedback for success, but there is often no evidence of retained or applied knowledge in a 93.9%. A pass/fail grading system could be the answer to raise BYU’s infamously low graduation rate.
The long walk
As I walk from my car to my apartment on-campus, my frozen food cooks in the sun and is ready to be eaten by the time I get there. It is a miracle if I can even make it grocery shopping, as I have become hesitant to give up my parking spot. I live in fear, planning my activities around the idea of whether or not I will be able to find a parking space in my assigned, overcrowded lot. As much as I love walking, it becomes taxing when wearing a backpack and having arms loaded with groceries, the only things stopping them from falling are the cartons of milk and eggs in my hands. The walk is long enough that my arms and hands are marked with deep, red indents from my bags, looking like I came from a fighting match.
BYU encourages students that live on-campus to leave their cars at home. However, even though that would be ideal, it is just not realistic because many students are far from home. Although the city of Provo has a free bus system, it becomes unmanageable with student schedules and time frames. Buses only stop at so many places and to walk to my destination after that is an inconvenience. With such a wonderful and diverse campus, BYU should accommodate its parking to the size of the on-campus housing community. I await the day I can plan whatever errands and activities I want without having to think about parking.