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Is basing our traditional education system strictly on grading ruining our creativity?

One of my professors actually received an education at a University that did not support a traditional grading system and he said that it was the best education he had ever received. My question is if the traditional school systems and the use of grading teaches us that if we make mistakes you will be penalized, do you think that by switching to another type of education system we could eliminate the our fear of making mistakes while still promoting a creative learning environment?


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  • Feb 11 2013: Rote learning doesn't demand creativity. But rote learning is ridiculous. Is knowing your multiplication tables a self-contained end, or does it empower you to manage your finances and create new technologies etc.?

    Education does two things. It allows you to be an industrial cog in the economy (no creativity needed), and it allows you to innovate. Each are a different type of education. Grading promotes rote learning and industrial drones (I speak negatively of it, but it is a necessary function for many people that would rather be cogs). You're asking this question because you're more the innovator type.

    So I submit an educational system where instead of letting teachers provide arbitrary number grades, let the market grade you. For example, the market doesn't care what your grades in school were, they're only interested in what you can provide for them. So imagine a system where the market is your feedback and resume builder (instead of test grades and GPA). Imagine going to an employer and showing them you have success marketing X amount of products in X amount of industries and generating X amount of dollars of revenue. Wouldn't your learning be so much more creative and valuable than if you had been graded on your understanding of theory?
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      Feb 11 2013: I think critical thinking and creative thinking are part of problem solving and thus need to be a focus of everyone's education, regardless of specific career/job ambitions.

      There is no one for whom rote learning is adequate, which is why, I believe, the focus has shifted so far from rote learning now in schools.

      I don't see that grading necessarily promotes rote learning. Ashley is at university, where she presumably writes thoughtful papers, which are likely not done by rote, as originality of thesis and argument is something professors tend to value and reward- or at least is at all the universities with which I am intimately familiar. Even in mathematics and science classes at university, problem solving may well require some ingenuity rather than a simple application of obvious algorithms with new numbers in them.

      I think the main negative effect of college grading is not that you will get better grades if you are a rote learner but rather that grades cause students stress (particularly as they often ride on what happens in two two hour intervals within a whole term) and in some cases may discourage students from taking as challenging coursework as they otherwise might, depending on how wedded to the highest possible grades a student is.

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