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Rebuttal Argument - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Class 13 April 2013 The Flaws of the American Educational Grading System Is the American grading system ineffective in measuring learning progress? In “An Open Letter to College Admissions Committees” Andrew Knight, a physics teacher who resigned from Loudoun County Public School, persuades college admissions’ committees to stop using grades in their assessment process…
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Rebuttal Argument
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Download file to see previous pages His work demands attention because the U.S. grading system receives criticism on a permanent basis due to problems of high school graduates who lack the competencies required to be successful in college and occupations. Knight’s claims are flawed because of the following reasons: he has a biased example, from which he bases hasty generalizations; he commits the ad hominem fallacy, when he judges students as generally self-entitled; and he uses the grading system as a red herring to the fundamental issue of the education system, which is raising student motivation and learning. Knight argues that the grading system is flawed because, based on his experience, since self-entitled students manage to get high grades with minimal effort, grades are no longer objective and accurate measures of competence. He exemplifies students, who choose easy teachers, or those who give high grades, though he focuses on students and their parents, who harass teachers to give these students higher grades because of self-entitlement. Self-entitlement means that because they passed exams and completed requirements, they feel that they deserve at least a B grade. Finally, Knight proposes comprehensive exams that have depth and breadth as a better measure of subject competencies. He states that the results of these exams should replace high school grades in college assessment processes and outcomes. Though Knight touches on some of the limitations of the grading system in his school, he has a biased sample, from which he bases hasty generalizations. His experiences with self-entitled students come from his own limited class interactions. Yet, he states categorically that this problem affects the entire country: “While I can only speak to grading practices at my school, I suspect that these concerns are endemic throughout high schools nationwide” (Knight). Though his experience somehow proves that grades are false indicators of competency for his class, he cannot say that his students represent the majority of American students. Because his sampling is biased, he cannot make the hasty generalization that grades are no longer objective and accurate measures of competence. Some students, who work hard for their grades and have learned competencies, are exceptions to his hasty generalizations. Aside from biased sampling and hasty generalization, Knight commits the ad hominem fallacy when he judges students as generally self-entitled, so their grades do not measure their competencies. He approaches the problem with the grading system from the assumption that self-entitled students have made it an unreliable performance measurement. He suggests that these students are cheaters and lazy in learning class materials; thus, their grades do not reflect their mastery of their subjects. He does not consider that several self-entitled students may actually have mastered their courses, but their levels do not fit the grades that they are demanding for. Some self-entitled students may have motivation problems only, not learning deficits. Finally, Knight uses the grading system as a red herring to the fundamental issue of the education system, which is raising student motivation toward learning. He blames self-entitled students, including the idea of self-entitled American culture, for poor learning among high school students. He does not co ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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