One method of assessing the knowledge of a student or a test-taker as well as determining the effectiveness of instruction is known as a pass/fail grading system. In this grading method, the teacher or test center assigns a minimum number of points to be answered correctly or the weight of the correct answers as against the wrong ones to determine if a student or test-taker passes or fails the exam. This grading system is already being used by licensure examinations boards and public schools but still it still has its advantages and disadvantages.
List of Pros of Pass Fail Grading System
1. More Focus.
Without having to reach a certain score or aim for a higher percentage while taking the exam, a student can concentrate more on answering test questions and increase the possibility of passing the exam. This not only lets a student be more focused on the test but also reduces stress on the person taking the test.
2. Class Harmony.
A pass/fail grading system means that students need not compete with each other for grades. Consequently, students will be more motivated to work together as a group instead of existing as competitors.
3. Less Work for Educators.
Proponents of a pass/fail grading system claim that this alternative grading system allows educators more time to work on other equally important things than just checking test papers since grading this type of exams does not require much time and in some cases, like in licensure exams, computers are used to analyze and evaluate the scores.
List of Cons of Pass Fail Grading System
1. Promotes Laziness.
Critics of this grading system argue that not having to oblige students to reach a certain percentage in order to pass and not have to worry about a grade point system. This can, in turn, make them lazier if not more derelict to focus on the course or subject because there is a higher probability to pass. Moreover, this can also be biased against students who are assessed using the grade point system since they need to study harder in order to pass.
Some opponents of the pass/fail grading system posit that questions in this type of system are more general which might not be sufficient and accurate to assess whether students have enough knowledge and skills on certain subjects.
3. Less Specific Assessment.
Marks or grades are significant in providing both students and parents some feedback on the overall performance and knowledge of students. With grade point average, grades are expressed in numbers with their corresponding grade equivalent while a pass/fail grading system only provide two results to choose from. This will not be able to point out what the weakness and strengths of the students are.
The pass/fail grading system is already one of the most popular types of grading system and has been used by public schools and testing centers. This is an indicator that it is effective and has advantages. However, it also comes with several setbacks. The best option, perhaps, is to apply this grading system depending on the course taken or type of assessment needed. If no specific grades are required, this can be a good option.