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Survey - Grades and Motivation

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My topic for the TOK IA Controversial Topic is Grades – do they promote or undermine learning?, and I want some other (intelligent) students' opinions. State what you think about grades with how they pertain to motivating you to do better and learn more. USA students preferred, but anyone can give their opinion.

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It depends on the person...some people are really self-motivated and getting a bad mark motivates them to try harder and study more for the next time. People that aren't self-motivated will just be depressed by their bad mark and give up, thinking that there's no point in trying anymore since they didn't get a good grade.

For me, personally, grades don't promote learning...especially in IB, since all you have to do is memorize everything in the syllabus and regurgitate it. I've always had a really good memory so I've been lucky in that even if I don't truly understand a concept, I can memorize it and still do well...I believe that my memory is the main reason why I'm doing well in IB :\. I'm still a hard worker, do all my homework, etc., but IB is only looking for ONE specific answer..so basically students just look at past exams and memorize the answers to a certain type of question instead of really learning it. This is one of the major cons of IB, imo.

Anyways, I'm not sure if I really answered your question haha :coffee: , my apologies.

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I think grades can both hurt and help a student. grades help keep the student in check of how they are doing. they also keep the teacher informed as to who is doing what and how they are doing on a certain subject. This knowledge allows the teacher to go more in depth on some of the more confusing subjects. however, a teacher could record grades but not actually make them count. I don't know if you know what i mean but it would get rid of the pressure of keeping a grade high but still allow for students to get the help they need. I guess it all depends on the person. some people are more motivated while others become discouraged and quit altogether.

SPREAD WORLD PEACE*** (no matter how naive that sounds)

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Ok when I say this I sound like a crazy person... and I probably am, but grades drive every single moment of my life. I figured out the whole GPA thing way long ago and I know I have to get A's. I have sat in so many classes that are worth nothing, but I need that A in so bad to look good for college. I get up in the morning and don't skip school so I can make the best grades. I lose sleep over getting the perfect paper. I take extra classes outside of school so colleges can see that I am ready for college work and can do 'A' work. I'm just praying its all worth it when I start applying I need the scholarships.

This is my brain on grades :blum: . I have given up so much to do IB and all that other crap to do well in school and look good for colleges.

For your IA you need to know that its not just the grades that drive you its everything with it..... Its your parents not yelling and grounding you for a B in spanish.... its being able to tell your friends you got all A's.... its the hope of making it to your dream school that drags you out of bed at 5:18.... maybe you should consider changing your topic to appealing to colleges and you could title it PICK ME ......please

Mr Bartels pokes fun at this strive for good grades he says that you life is full of numbers and letters. when you are born you are given a social security number and then you are in 11th grades you have all A's which gives you a 4.5 GPA when you take the SAT you get a 1290 and you are going to go to UVA for $36,000 and you are going to join a soroitity DZA then you get a job and get paid more money and you have three kids and then you die

There is a point in your life where you have to decide whats more important school or having a life... I picked school and IDK if it was the right choice I have missed out on so much... parties, dates, movies, dance classes...

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Ok when I say this I sound like a crazy person... and I probably am, but grades drive every single moment of my life. I figured out the whole GPA thing way long ago and I know I have to get A's. I have sat in so many classes that are worth nothing, but I need that A in so bad to look good for college. I get up in the morning and don't skip school so I can make the best grades. I lose sleep over getting the perfect paper. I take extra classes outside of school so colleges can see that I am ready for college work and can do 'A' work. I'm just praying its all worth it when I start applying I need the scholarships.

This is my brain on grades :blum: . I have given up so much to do IB and all that other crap to do well in school and look good for colleges.

For your IA you need to know that its not just the grades that drive you its everything with it..... Its your parents not yelling and grounding you for a B in spanish.... its being able to tell your friends you got all A's.... its the hope of making it to your dream school that drags you out of bed at 5:18.... maybe you should consider changing your topic to appealing to colleges and you could title it PICK ME ......please

Mr Bartels pokes fun at this strive for good grades he says that you life is full of numbers and letters. when you are born you are given a social security number and then you are in 11th grades you have all A's which gives you a 4.5 GPA when you take the SAT you get a 1290 and you are going to go to UVA for $36,000 and you are going to join a soroitity DZA then you get a job and get paid more money and you have three kids and then you die

There is a point in your life where you have to decide whats more important school or having a life... I picked school and IDK if it was the right choice I have missed out on so much... parties, dates, movies, dance classes...

:0 Wow...it's unhealthy to focus so much on school though, for both your health AND sanity. I go on dates with my bf, go to parties, have girl's nights out to movies, etc but still do well in school. It's good to have a balance of life and school or you'll burn out really quickly (trust me, I've seen it happen).

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Well I can tell you that I have never been grounded (not that, that being grounded as punishment is all that common in Australia), but I have gotten many many Bs, some Cs, and two Ds (lol, for my EE in the beginning, I ended up getting an A, and for my first TOK essay, but I also ended up getting an A). Your life doesn't end if you don't get into the uni/course you want to, I didn't and I am kind of glad because I have been able to think about whether I really want to do it. Just like my friend (half american/half australian in that order somehow even though she has lived in Australia most of her life) dreamed of Yale, but she didn't get in, however she has realised that she is probably better off at Melbourne Uni. Enjoy doing something other than school once in awhile as inthemaking said. inthemaking also mentioned burning out, one of my friends burnt-out about a month before the exams, and she got a lower score than she should have. (However my sister worked like a crazy thing for the whole of her final year and didn't burn-out)

Oh, on the original question, grades from my teachers never really motivated me, because I new my own potential, so they didn't promote or hinder my learning. It is my own desire for knowledge which motivates my learning.

Edited by Bandev

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Grades drive American schools. You have to be top of you class or your f***ed. Grades drive me every day. I need get As cause im 28 out of a class of 400 and I need to be top 5%.

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to me grades are important. they are important to get into a good uni for me. i need thm also to get good schlarships. i am also a very competive person by nature, so it is a way that can compete with other students in a positve way. i can see how it could hurt students, but i like them over all. i need something to stive for and for me right now it is the As so i can get more money for uni.

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grades are impoirtant to measure hwo well students are doing in school as in in a number form, but they undermine from a students ability to really comprehend what they are learning as they tend to memorize in the end which isnt very beneficial in the end. But it can serve as motivation because why else would students bother studying, if they will not be graded or anything? i guess grades should serve as motivation but to an extent, for example tests are not the best way to see whether a student understood or not because not everyone functions well under the stress of tests (ME!! =P) Another point is if you do not use grades what will you use to see how a student is doing? maybe they could take tests and everything but its either pass or fail... not with actual numbers, as many students tend to get very grade-oriented and do not care about anything else except for raising their grade even the tiniest bit, like from a 92.3 (which would count as an A-) to a 93 (A) just so it can be written that they got an A not an A-...

i hope this helps!! n tell us how it goes in the end, what is your conclusion and all =D

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I wouldn't say that I am an "intelligent" person...but here goes. :hug:

For me, grades have been a big part of my life. I didn't always get straight As (nor do I now, sadly), but so much importance is placed upon that little report at the end of a term...I think that that can get very unhealthy, as it's not such a big deal, especially in the earlier years when you're usually just passing time in class anyway. However, that is how the system works...but I think that people need to maintain a balance. A test mark is not everything, chances are you'll forget about it in a year (and a year is probably pushing it). I think that a lot of parents and students need to realise that grades are not EVERYTHING. Sure, they're indicative of some things, but they're not the most important thing. If your house burnt down and you were a straight A student--what would matter to you more? Marks don't define what a person is, there are countless examples of people who have become rich/famous/whatever/happy without even graduating from high school.

And grades in your last year, especially, are not that important. Besides things like internal marks & your exam results, marks are just put through for administrative reasons. A person should rely on themselves and their own belief in their abilities, rather than some piece of paper from school.

I think that the "system" places too much information on building society in terms of numbers and letters...Grades should not be the most important thing in a person's life. Ever. They should, of course, be given due consideration, if you're and IB student...but that should be put in perspective. A bad mark in something is not the end of the world.

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Guest Lily Bean

I agree that grade is definitely not everything and your life isn't over if you dont get that perfect grade. Honestly it's something I think you really have to know and tell yourself as an IB student. You will not get straight 7 through out your 2 years of IB. I dare you to find someone who got all 7s on all their report card for the whole 2 years of IB. It is impossible. That does not mean you can't get that 45, plenty of people have shown 45 is achievable, but that also means if you don't get the 45, it doesn't mean you are any less a person than that 45 candidate. What I'm trying to say is in IB you have to at some point tell yourself that it's ok if your grades aren't perfect, if you get a 4, a 5 every once in a while, heck even if you flunk a test every once in a while. As I've said before, grade isn't the only thing about IB, it's the experience and what you can get out of it.

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Guest dragonb111

In my opinion, good grades promote learning. It "inspires" me to keep working. Especially if I have straight-A's. That inspires me to try to keep it that way.

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Ha, what a coincidence. A teacher was just commenting the other day about how he believed that all students would work hard if everyone automatically got an A.

This comment's been driving me crazy, especially because he's the one that screws up my GPA with unweighted classes and a lot of other nonsense that I won't get into. ...ANYWAY.

So his theory, I believe, is stupid. If I was not being rewarded in any way for my work, I would not do those pointless essays for my history class as long as I understand the subject. I consider myself a motivated student... in that I truly do ENJOY learning things. However, I would slack off in my classes if I didn't get grades from it, there needs to be a motivation of SOME SORT to keep a person working.

But my other thought, and it sort of conflicts, is that, during the summer, I made myself re-read the first half of my American History Text Book, because I didn't learn much from my class this year. I won't ever get a class grade from this studying. It will, however, benefit me on my IB exam... which is a grade, but just much further in advance.

Contradicting THIS though, is the fact that a good grade on my IB exam doesn't really matter in my life. All my uni offers will be unconditional, as i live in the US. They'll see that I'm in IB, and that I have good class grades

So I am working for a grade, but not one that matters at all.

I have no idea HOW this figures into your question (and I'm too tired to think it through). But I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and needed a place to organize my thoughts. I saw the thread, and well, I figured it was a perfect place.

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First, this topic is excellent. It really gets at the core of what theory of knowledge is all about.

I think grades and testing are probably one of the worst measurements of 'having knowledge'. How often have you finished a test/exam and suddenly the answer to that question you were struggling with pops into your head? While this evidence is anecdotal at best, it does indicate that tests are by no means a perfect measurement of 'having knowledge'. I personally believe that by substituting an arbitrary symbol for the value of actually having knowledge is insulting to the infinite value of learning - learning for the sake of learning. Instead this has been replaced by getting a grade to please yourself, your parents, your teachers etc. which I believe is just plain sad.

While it's true that grades can motivate, it's pretty sad that they do. We are beyond the point of needing to compete in order to survive, so of course let's invent something new to compete for: grades and prestige. I realize that I'm just rambling now, but imagine academia without grades, without pressure to be the best. It would be far more relaxed and only people who want to learn would hang around. You wouldn't have people studying business or medicine just because their parents want them to (to the same degree) as there would be no incentive because you would not be 'rewarded' with a letter or number for your performance. The pursuit of the knowledge would be its own reward.

btw, I'm half-Danish/American since you preferred US surveyees you can count me as half of one if you must ;) .

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First off, I gave this presentation like three months ago, so no more answering of the question is necessary for my sake, but it is an interesting discussion and by all means should continue.

The thought the pops into my head when reading blindpet's post is that if only the students that are motivate went to school and actually learned then where would society be. We can all say "yeah sure, I would study if I didn't have to", but I know that a lot of us (me included) wouldn't study near as much or even at all. Take me for example - I would skip most English because it tends to bore me and I would barely pay attention in history. This means at the very least I would be less educated when I graduated and a less productive member of society because my writing and knowledge of history/lit would be worse that it is with studying.

Now take the person that doesn't care at all but does everything because his parents make him have good grades. Say that he then goes to college and finds out that he really enjoys ancient egyptian studies or whatever. Now he goes off and makes the greatest discovery since the pyramids. Where would this guy be if school had no motivation? Probably another unproductive member of society like millions of other people. You get what I mean?

I know this goes away from my original question, but it doesn't matter like I stated before.

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Tyro, I believe there's a fallacy in your reasoning. You are claiming that your knowledge of history/lit makes you a productive member of society. While this may be true, I think it mostly depends on how you will use this knowledge that has been forced down your throat in the future to contribute to society. Beyond teaching history or having an intellectual discussion about a work of literature, I see little possibility for it making you a 'productive' member of society ;) because you were forced to learn this stuff you obviously don't care for.

On the other hand, I do agree with your second comment. I do believe that good things can come out of forcing people to do things they don't want to do. But honestly, that is what the first 8 years of schooling are for. You show the youth what is out there in the world of knowledge and then they find their passion and pursue it. Therefore it is more a matter of making a proper 'platter', if you will, so that students can find what they love easily without being forced to study crap s/he has no use for or desire to know. See what I mean?

btw, I expect you got a good grade Tyro, care to share?

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My US Hist teacher last year used to say that grades don't matter. All that matters is that you learn and gain knowledge, which drove me crazy because no one did well in her class because she didn't know how to teach.

I think grades and testing are probably one of the worst measurements of 'having knowledge'. How often have you finished a test/exam and suddenly the answer to that question you were struggling with pops into your head? While this evidence is anecdotal at best, it does indicate that tests are by no means a perfect measurement of 'having knowledge'. I personally believe that by substituting an arbitrary symbol for the value of actually having knowledge is insulting to the infinite value of learning - learning for the sake of learning. Instead this has been replaced by getting a grade to please yourself, your parents, your teachers etc. which I believe is just plain sad.

that happens to me ALL the time. I hate not knowing the answer to a question on a test and remembering as soon as I turn it in.

I'm the kind of person that doesn't really care about grades. My parents don't, either. If I get a grade that is lower than my usual, I'll be upset for not doing my best. But I get over it within the next hour. If I get an A... hooray? not really. I can get an A without understanding a subject fully. Besides, there's more to life than school. When you start working, they won't care if you got an A or a B in a class as long as you have enough skills to do your job correctly. It's NOT about the grades, it's about how hard you work to get what you want.

Because my school is one of the few that offers IB in the area, my school gets people from many other cities just because of IB, leading it to be VERY competitive when it comes to grades. I try to ignore the competition, but it's hard sometimes.

By the way, even though I'm Brazilian, I have been in the US for the past 5 years, where I started IB.

Edited by cereja

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i think my grades depend on my motavations, if i'm not motavated, then i won't give 100% nd i will end up getting a bad mark, but i am very self motavaited ;)

i believ that if one does have motavatuion, they will go the extra mile or do a better job on projects, assignment, etc and this may result in better grades

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blindpet - Your comments are true and most of the time I wonder why I am still studying history and lit when I'm 99.9% sure I'm going to go into a technology/science field. As for the second comment I was going off of the thought that all years of school would be without grades.

As for my mark, I wish I knew - my teacher never told us, but if you have to ask me I think I did very well. Thanks to a lot of help from you guys.

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i say that they are a motivation, because i've thought about it, and if the grades don't matter, then why bother? why study for test? if employers don't look at the results, then we don't have to worry about what our reports say.

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