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Iím now going to recite the ABCs to everyone. A, B, C, D, F...whoops. Allow me to start over. A, B, C, D, F...Aaargh! I canít seem to stop this! Oh, wait a minute, I was reciting the schoolís grading system. Never mind about that ABC bit!

The grading system, with all of its single letters, is the nation's standard for grading students. 'A' stands for the highest grade, while an 'F' is the lowest grade. Though this system works for most teachers and students, I think it could be improved.

Why mess with the old system? Well, first of all, let's take a look at the United States' education level. Overall, the US's students don't do as well as kids from other countries around the world. Many people have speculated at why this is, ranging from theories that include such factors as the length of the school week, the length of the school day itself, the teaching methods, and even the clothing kids wear to school. While many of these theories have valid points in them, I think I have located the real problem. And that is the grading system.

Think of back to before you were in grade school. You probably heard of grades that relatives or friends got, such as As, Bs, and Ds. You also probably heard of people getting Fs. As you were hearing these more and more often at the same time you were learning the alphabet, you could see a pattern forming. An A was the highest grade you could receive and it was the first letter of the alphabet. The letter F, however, was the lowest grade you could get, but it wasn't the last letter of the alphabet by a longshot! Plus, where was the letter E? Was it a bad letter? Irrelevant to the alphabet? Was it really between the D

and the F?

So once you got thoroughly confused as you were little, your teacher had to go through the whole ordeal of teaching you the alphabet, as well as the grading system. Eventually you understood it, but she probably had to explain to the class many times how the grading system worked and how the alphabet fit into it. So you see, our grading system is actually messing with the minds of America's youth!

Also notice how the grading scale has changed. Back in the 70s and early 80s, getting a C was respectable since it was the 'average' grade. Now in the 90s, if you're getting Cs in classes, the teachers and parents are all over you to get it pulled up to at least a B, if not an A. In my opinion, the A has gone the way of the Russian Ruble; devalued!

Plus, take a look at what we give High School and College students for grades. Most of those schools use Grade Point Averages (GPAs) . In this system, an A usually equals a 4, a B equals a 3, C equals 2, and so on. The problem here is nobody wants to have a grade of "4." How about a grade of "1?" Don't most people want to be number "1," not number "4?"

So how could we fix some of these problems with our current grading system? Let me introduce you to a new kind of grading, which I unimaginably call Karl's Gradin' System. First of all, it consists of six separate grades, which are all letters of the alphabet. It stresses people to learn the whole alphabet instead of just the letters A-F, since it grades in this order: A, F, K, P, U, Z. In case you didn't notice, each of these letters are all five letters from the previous


For the high schools and colleges, we could also use a GPA where an A = 1.0, an F= 6.0, K = 11.0, and so on. It'll help everyone remember how many letters there are in the alphabet, as well as letting smart kids say, "I'm number 1," while not-so-smart kids can say, "I got an 18 for a grade...that's how many holes are in a golf course! ...Wait, that should be 'on' a golf course, right?"

Even after reading my article, you may still be wondering why I would even think about changing an established system, such as the grading scale, so much. You have to see it from a very different perspective to really think about changing. You have to ask yourself the question, "Even though something's gone on for a long time, is it really the best thing?"

Questions? Thoughts? Concerns? Dinner and a movie? Contact us.
Karl Becker, the author of all these articles, uses New Tricks for his writings.

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... Iím now going to recite the ABCs to everyone. ...

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