It has occurred to me that giving letter grades to students in school is a form of rating some better than others that has nothing to do with whether they are successful or not. If the lowest passing grade is a D-, then a student who gets that grade will still pass, just as much as one who gets an A+. So why bother with such grades at all?
I would propose instead that all students be allowed only TWO levels of achievement: P (pass) or F (fail) and that in order to pass, they must score an average of at least 90% on tests in a certain subject, the average being calculated at the end of a school year instead of every six weeks.
Another reform I would make would be to stop graduating students from high school after they complete 12th grade. Instead, I think the various levels in school should be:
Elementary school: Level I through Level V (I’m using Roman numerals for the various levels),
Middle school: Level VI though X,
High school: Level XI though Level XV.
with “college” or “university” levels eliminated because they will be integrated with the high school levels.
For example, in math, basic arithmetic could be Levels I and II, algebra could be Level III or IV, and calculus could be Level X or XI. Similar designations would be made for other subjects.
A student who fails a level would be forced in the next year to retake the course(s) he failed, without exception. Thus if he was at Level II, he would remain at that level until he passes all his Level II courses. Thus, there might be children well past puberty that would still be in elementary school. Students who have finished elementary school but not yet reached middle school may leave school, though their job prospects would be limited. The same is true for students that have finished middle school but not yet reached high school.
ROTE LEARNING MUST BE BANNED! Instead, children of all ages should be expected to express creativity and critical thinking by writing the answers to their tests in essay form, not merely marking “true” or “false” to a question or answering a multiple choice question in which it is possible to get the right answer by accident or by cheating! By causing children to take controversial positions and defend them before their peers, they may soon learn that many things they assumed were absolutely true from their parents and others are not necessarily so.