The Advantages of a Pass/Fail Grading System

A pass/fail grading system is one in which the student receives either a passing grade or a failing grade rather than a more accurate ranking of success. Any student that does work above a failing level–defined by either the school or the instructor–will pass the class.

This type of grading system has been shown to have several advantages. Less Stress Students in a traditional grading system often feel stress to do exceptionally well on tests, papers and other assignments. When they receive only a pass or fail grade, they do not have to worry about a grade point average, which causes less perceived stress, according to a study by the Mayo Clinic.

Improved Mood Less stress means that students under a pass/fail system have an improved mood. However, the study shows that this is only a slight difference from students under traditional grading systems. Group Cohesion Under a pass/fail system, students do not see other students as competition. Competition among students–especially in cases where students are graded on a curve based on other students’ performance–makes students less likely to work together.

In a pass/fail system, students can freely work with other students. More Academic Risks Some students will avoid classes that they may not excel in because they are afraid that a bad grade will negatively affect their grade point average. Under a pass/fail system, students feel safer trying new things and may be more willing to take academic risks. Fairness While some subjects, such as math and science, have objective grading systems, others are more subjective.



There is no standard way to judge an art project or an English paper, for example. Under a pass/fail system students know that if they complete the work in a satisfactory manner, they can pass the class. The Disadvantages of School Without Grades

Many students may complain about grades, but despite different experiments in alternative and non-traditional schools, one thing is always necessary for ensuring progress in school: A reliable and standardized grading system. Most agree that grades should be a required part of any successful education system, and many factors demonstrate the disadvantages of not implementing grades in school. Inability to Track your Progress Grades usually reflect how you are faring in your studies.

Low grades may discourage you, yet at the same time they can propel you to put more effort in studies. Higher grades give satisfaction and are a good sign that you are progressing well and should keep it up that way. Without grades, you would have little idea about the ups and downs in your studies and would have no standardized way of gauging your results compared to others.

No Recognized and Objective Achievements If you receive a good grade, you may want to brag about it. The good grade is an objective reward for hard work because it directly reflects the efforts that you have put in your studies. Your parents or relatives can check your report cards and statements to ensure that you are making the best out of your education. Without grades, you would have nothing to show when it comes to your progress and successful endeavors, and nobody would find out about your failings.

Lack of Motivation and Competitiveness Since grades show your progress and good grades are something you can be proud of, they also increase your motivation and competitiveness. Good grades are reinforced positively by your surroundings and make you work hard for them because of their esteemed value and importance. In addition, you will benefit from a little healthy competition with your friends and siblings to see who gets the highest grades.

Yet take away the incentives of grades, and you will lack the motivation, competitiveness and even desire to excel. Measures for Success and Evaluation Whether it is at school, college or work, you will have to face evaluation. It is a necessary part of the process of separating the “wheat from the chaff,” whether you are applying for university admission or companies. By being evaluated in the school setting, you can learn to enhance your performance skills and prepare to provide successful results in your future professional life.