College professor links grades to ‘oppressive capitalism’: Here’s how

College professor links grades to ‘oppressive capitalism’: Here’s how


DAVID: SHOULD WE BE ABOLISHING GRADES IN SCHOOL? PROFESSOR RICHARD WOLF SAYS YES, WE SHOULD. WHY? BECAUSE GRADES PROMOTE MERITOCRACY AND UPHOLDS CAPITALISM. IN AN ARTICLE, WOLF ARGUES GRADING HAS LITTLE PAY OFF FOR STUDENTS. HE JOINS US NOW. HOW DOES REMOVING GRADES HELP BETTER PREPARE STUDENTS FOR THE REAL WHICH IS RIGHT NOW A CAPITALIST WORLD?>>I THINK MOST EMPLOYERS KNOW AS MOST STUDENTS DO THAT EACH PERSON HAS UNIQUE, HAS WAYS OF LEARNING, THINKING AND CONTRIBUTING. GIVING THEM A SINGLE GRADE B AT THE END OF A SEMESTER LIKE YOU’VE HAD A PIECE OF WRITTEN WORK DOESN’T GET AT ANY OF THAT. IT IS A BAD INDEX. EMPLOYERS HAVE DISCOVERED LIKE ALL OF US HAVE DISCOVERED OVER THE YEARS THAT HIRING PEOPLE ON THAT BASIS IS A VERY MIXED BAG BUT THEY HAVEN’T DRAWN THE CONCLUSION IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE CAPABILITIES OF A PERSON ARE, YOU HAVE TO SPEND SOME TIME, YOU HAVE TO SPEND SOME EFFORT, YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOME INTERACTIONS WITH THE PERSON TO SEE WHAT THEIR SKILLS ARE, NOT TO GIVE THEM SOME LITTLE EXERCISE AND THROW A LETTER AT THEM. IT’S A SHORT CUT THAT DOES NOT WORK.>>I DON’T DOYCE — I DON’T DISAGREE WITH WHAT YOU JUST SAID. LET’S FACE IT, GRADES ARE A MOTIVATIONAL FACTOR FOR KIDS. IF I CAME HOME WITH A D OR F, I WOULD GET BEATEN BY MY DAD. DON’T YOU THINK GETTING RID OF GRADES WILL DEMOTIVATE AT LEAST SOME KIDS?>>NO, BECAUSE I THINK WHAT HAS HAPPENED OVER THE YEARS IS PEOPLE ACT TO GET THE GRADE. THEY PLEASE THE TEACHER. THEY REPEAT THE TEACHER. THEY MIMIC THE TEACHER. THEY HAVE DEVELOPED STRATEGIES BECAUSE WE’RE SMART AS PEOPLE TO GET THAT GRADE, WHICH IS A VERY DIFFERENT EXERCISE FROM LEARNING WHAT HAS TO BE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF AND THE TOPIC YOU’RE STUDYING.>>IT SEEMED TO ME HERE –>>THERE’S ONE THING, YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT MATH OR THINGS THAT ARE CONCRETE SCIENCES, I MEAN THERE’S A RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWER. YOU KNOW, SO WITH RESPECT TO GRADES FOR THOSE KINDS OF THINGS, YOU WOULDN’T BE OPPOSED TO THAT, WOULD YOU?>>I WOULD. ALBERT EINSTEIN TOLD THE FAMOUS STORY, HE GOT VERY BAD GRADES. WHAT DID IT PROVE? HE WASN’T THE KIND OF STUDENT WHO DID WHAT THE TEACHER WANTED. BUT IF THE TIME HAD BEEN TAKEN AND THE EFFORT HAD BEEN TAKEN WITH HIM AS WITH THE REST OF US, THEY WOULD HAVE DISCOVERED THAT A GENIUS IN THERE, MAYBE THINKS ABOUT IT IN A DIFFERENT WAY, MAYBE HAS A PARTICULAR APPROACH. THOSE THINGS HAVE TO BE FOUND IF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE AS CONTRIBUTING TO SOCIETY AS THEY WANT TO BE AND THAT SOCIETY WANTS ITS PEOPLE TO BE. IT’S SELF-DESTRUCTIVE TO DO THE SHORT CUT OF THE GRADE SYSTEM THAT WE HAVE COME TO RELY ON.>>I NEED TO PICK YOU UP ON THAT BECAUSE INSTEAD OF THE SHORT CUT OF THE GRADE, I PRESUME YOU WOULD EXPECT THE PROFESSOR OR THE TEACHER TO GIVE A LENGTHY EVALUATION OF THE PERSON. CORRECT?>>UH-HUH.>>OR THERE WILL HAVE TO BE SOMETHING AT THE END OF THE SEMESTER WHICH WOULD SHOW THE QUALITY OF THE WORK. WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS THAT PROFESSOR CAN DO THAT BUT HE CAN’T TRANSLATE THAT INTO A GRADE, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT MOST EMPLOYERS DEPEND ON A SINGLE LETTER GRADE TO ASSESS A CANDIDATE BECAUSE I CAN GUARANTEE YOU AS SOMEONE WHO HAS HIRED PEOPLE IN THE PAST, THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENS.>>NO, THE GRADE IS PART OF WHAT THE STORY IS THAT –>>EXACTLY. IT IS PART OF THE STORY.>>BUT MORE AND MORE OBJECTIVE EFFORTS HAVE BEEN RELYING ON A SCORE OR A GRADE, IN NUMBER TERMS OR LETTER TERMS, SO THE EASY CHEAP KIND OF WAY OF GOING IS TO GO WITH THAT GRADE, RATHER THAN TO DO THE HARD WORK, WHICH IF YOU BELIEVE IN EDUCATION, I’M A PROFESSOR, SO I DO, IT’S SOMETHING THAT REQUIRES A LOT OF EFFORT AND INTENSITY AND TIME –>>TEACHERS ARE PUTTING IN EXACTLY THAT EFFORT TO COME UP WITH THE SINGLE GRADE. MY ONLY POINT IS IF IN FACT YOU’RE A TALENTED TEACHER AND YOU ASSESS ALL THESE DIFFERENT THINGS THAT GOES INTO A STUDENT’S WORK, YOU CAN STILL ASCRIBE A GRADE TO THAT AT ANY RATE.>>LOOK, I’M SORRY IF I’M GOING TO A DOCTOR, I NEED TO GET HELP WITH A DOCTOR, I’M INTERESTED TO GOING TO SOMEBODY WHO WENT TO A GREAT SCHOOL AND GOT A’S, NOT B PLUSES, I WILL NOT LET HIM DO SURGERY ON ME. WHEN I TALK TO MY KIDS, WHEN THEY WENT TO SCHOOL, I TOLD THEM REACH FOR STARS, DON’T REACH FOR MEDIOCRITY. IT SEEMS TO ME NOT HAVING GRADES, YOU PUT YOURSELF IN WITH EVERYBODY ELSE. IN THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA YOU NEED A 4.0 TO GET IN RIGHT NOW. KIDS ARE STRIVING TO BE GREAT. WHEN THEY BECOME GREAT, THEY GET MUCH MORE MONEY WHEN THEY GO OUT INTO THE REAL WORLD. SO I DON’T KNOW WHERE THIS IS COMING FROM. I RESPECT ALL PROFESSORS, BUT FOR ME, STRIVING FOR GREATNESS IS WHAT MAKES THIS COUNTRY GREAT OR ANY OTHER COUNTRY GREAT OUT THERE. AND GRADES ARE PART OF THE SYSTEM.>>RIGHT, GRADES ARE PART OF THE SYSTEM, AND THAT’S THE PROBLEM. THE STRIVING YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT FOR GREATNESS I BELIEVE IN. THAT’S WHY I WANT A BETTER AND A RICHER EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM. STRIVING FOR GRADES IS NOT THE SAME THING AS STRIVING FOR GREATNESS. IF YOU RELY ON THE PERSON WHO GOT THE HIGH GRADES AND WENT TO THE FANCY SCHOOLS, YOU’RE MAKING PRECISELY THE DEPENDENCE ON SOMETHING THAT ISN’T A GOOD MEASURE OF WHAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF AND HOW MUCH GENIUS YOU WANT TO BE THERE WHEN YOU HAVE A SURGERY OR YOU DO ANYTHING.>>I THOUGHT THIS WAS GOING TO GO DOWN LIKE THE GUY WHO SHOWS UP AT THE BIKER BAR AND TIPS OVER ALL THE BIKES AND EVERYBODY COMES OUT ANGRY. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT SEEMS DESIGNED FOR THIS GROUP TO HATE. I’M NOT HEARING — LIZ, GO ON THE ATTACK HERE. DAVID: ONE THING I DO WANT TO SAY, PROFESSOR, YOU SAY THE GRADES ARE CAPITALISM IN ACTION.>>RIGHT. DAVID: AS IF THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH CAPITALISM IN ACTION. OF COURSE YOU HAVE A SOCIALIST POINT OF VIEW. BUT I WENT BACK AND LOOKED AT THE EDUCATION SYSTEMS OF A LOT OF SOCIALIST NATIONS, INCLUDING THE OLD SOVIET UNION, THEY HAD A FIVE POINT GRADE SYSTEM, A VERY STRICT, MUCH MORE RIGID THAN THE SYSTEM WE HAVE. HERE IN AMERICA, YOU CAN CHOOSE, IF YOU DON’T WANT GRADES, YOU CAN GO TO HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE OR SOMEPLACE LIKE THAT. IF YOU DO, YOU GO TO — WHAT’S WRONG WITH CHOICE? WE HAVE CHOICE IN THE UNITED STATES. ISN’T THAT A GOOD THING?>>I LOVE THE EXAMPLE. THE SOVIET UNION, EASTERN EUROPE, THEY DID STRICT GRADING. DAVID: ABSOLUTELY.>>THAT’S WHY I’M AGAINST IT. DAVID: MY POINT IS INCENTIVES MATTER HERE. INCENTIVES MATTER EVEN IN COMMUNIST COUNTRIES.>>INCENTIVES MATTER EVERYWHERE, BUT WHAT GRADES HAVE TO DO WITH THEM IS THE QUESTION AT ISSUE. LET ME ADDRESS WHY IT’S IMPORTANT. DAVID: QUICKLY.>>IF YOU DON’T HAVE A JOB, IF A JOB YOU HAVE IS HATEFUL, EITHER YOU BLAME THE SYSTEM THAT DOESN’T PROVIDE THE GOOD FIT BETWEEN WHAT THE SOCIETY NEEDS AND WHAT THE PERSON CAN DO AND WANT, OR YOU DON’T. IN OUR SOCIETY WE PUT PEOPLE OUT OF WORK, WE GIVE THEM A BAD JOB, AND THEN THEY BLAME THEMSELVES — DAVID: OR THEY HAVE A BAD JOB THAT BECOMES A BETTER JOB BECAUSE THE JOB SITUATION IS SO GOOD. GARY, I HEAR YOU WANT TO GET IN.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

100 Comments

  1. I missed the introduction where this prof is identified a hard core marxist which he is! If marks aren't reliable let's ask the non merit based school system that passes students without merit!

  2. Anyone that uses the word Communism, Socialism or Marxism in their comment will get a thumbs up from me 👍🏾

  3. I wonder if the professor feels similarly about his salary. Which is a measure of meritocracy and capitalism? Only a few students would do any academic work for no reward. There was a saying in the Soviet Union that said, " They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work."

  4. Thank God he didn't say share our grades. Lol. Imagine you are an A student have to share it with an F student so he can pass? Oh joy! 🤷‍♂️🙄 No thanks professor. I don't want anybody piggy back off of me no matter how much of a saint you "think" you are.

  5. These non grade, grades at school is what causes these people who think they are entitled. Entitled to pass when they failed to learn what is being taught. So we get a bunch of of kids who can not add, or read. They get a job, then do want they
    want to do instead of what they are told to do. Then get fired, battling brilliance.

  6. As an adjunct faculty, it depends on the type of class. How do u grade writing that encourages experimentation without punishing them if the experiment fails? What’s the best way to encourage experimentation?

  7. Students who really want to learn and earn successful careers after school want a grading system. Albert Einstein should have been given excellerated honors classes and independent study. Grades help students to excel in any chosen field! This has NOTHING to do with capitalism but the opportunity to excel for ALL students! This professor is exhibiting a coloring book and safe space leftist version of mediocrity of thought. Our nation and the world relies on brilliant and creative souls thinking outside the box. The quest for mediocrity just keeps everyone else behind.

  8. Maybe Professor Wolff should come up with a method of evaluating his students and then present it to Bulls & Bears instead of criticizing the current method.

  9. This "professor" actually cited an old wives tale/ urban myth to prove his point. Einstein never failed math. The reason for this rumor was a misunderstanding about the grading system , which was reversed midway through his schooling. He consistently graded at the top of his class.
    See story below about how that rumor got started:
    In 1935, a rabbi in Princeton showed him a clipping of the Ripley's column with the headline "Greatest living mathematician failed in mathematics." Einstein laughed. "I never failed in mathematics," he replied, correctly. "Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus." In primary school, he was at the top of his class and "far above the school requirements" in math. By age 12, his sister recalled, "he already had a predilection for solving complicated problems in applied arithmetic," and he decided to see if he could jump ahead by learning geometry and algebra on his own. His parents bought him the textbooks in advance so that he could master them over summer vacation. Not only did he learn the proofs in the books, he also tackled the new theories by trying to prove them on his own. He even came up on his own with a way to prove the Pythagorean theory.

  10. Then how the hell would you know whether a student is doing bad or good.
    At least America keeps grades private to the child and the parents.
    Asian countries reveal people's grades in public for all the world to see and it creates the real psychological pain for certain people.

  11. BS taking the grade out, takes out the desire to do better. If a student doesn't know their faults they cannot improve their faults. This is about teachers and professors not wanting to have to meet the standards necessary to produce high quality graduates. They don't want to show their own inadequacy to properly teach and instruct.

  12. He is deranged, these marxists should be removed from higher education. The cream always comes to the top.

  13. As the former KGB operative, Yuri Bezmenov said, the 1st Phase of the Communist take over of the US i.e. Demoralization, started already in 1961 have been a great success, most professors in the US educational system will be dedicated Socialists

  14. I think grades are a way to separate the ones that are motivated to try and become good or excel at a challenge. If you take that away, everyone looks exactly the same with nothing to differentiate from one another. This professor is missing that completely.

  15. Nope. Hes trying to open the door for pass/no pass based on the professors feelings which I can tell you is bad considering a lot of them get complaints for being biased. Theres a reason why theres a point system. It's clear cut. You got it right or you didnt. Doing it his way would cause a "who can be the teachers best friend" situation.

  16. this dude wooooof should be silenced in America or just FUKIN MOVE to a country that flows with his views like, oh, say, Venezuela maybe !!
    BYE, BYE U POS communist !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. The problem is mismatched school system of Leftist Teachers using Capitalist Designed Grade System. Solve the problem by changing the Leftist Teachers instead of changing the Capitalist grading system. Hire Capitalist Teachers.

  18. College and grades are a starting point…you develop in life…and competition through capitalism pushes people to do better

  19. Purge public education of the evil radical leftist Marxist state atheists. They're slowly squeezing the life out of America.

  20. these liberal educators have gone off the rails…my daughter is in grade school and they wont teach her a normal way to do multlipaction or addition.. the new way is to guesstimate wtf wtf…we are fukd as a nation

  21. So as long as our children go to collegesjust don’t expect them any accomplishments. They don’t need to learn. Im trying to understand clearly. Show up and get the grades? We expect little and more little every day from our children?

  22. It is clear in reading through this set of comments that folks have no idea what is and has been happening on college campuses for the past 15 years.

  23. Bad index ? It shows how much of the subject they learned !!!!! No the STUDIED !!!!! TO GET THE GRADE !
    what ? Einstein became a genius inspite of … what a stupidity what a horrible stupidity !! OMG it shows a level of study,!!!!! Exactly he is LAUPHING what a evil crap

  24. Listen… I would agree that grading isn't necessary K through 6, thereafter, it's VERY IMPORTANT….
    I agree with the professor that there are many who get low grades in traditional school setting but are extremely intelligent in their fields ….
    That said, I would HIGHLY SUGGEST that you read the book "Diversity Delusion"… This points out how our educational institutions (some of the best "ivy league" too) have lowered the standards and giving out "A's" where a student would actually receive a " C or D"…. If professors are already doing this, we need some sort of "Achievement Test" to PROVE that the student actually retains the knowledge that they need to pass the class, etc.. That test needs to be given by a 3rd non-bias party so that these professors and institutions don't have any influence… smh

  25. This professor is quite frankly brain addled- must come from the years of teaching where he made excellent money in a capitalistic system.

  26. I'm not comfortable with stupid kids becoming Engineers because some College Professor said they qualify to build bridges because they got a sticker for building one out of Legos in class.

  27. Here we go. Morons make up the majority of our society. They are catering to the mass. This propaganda garbage is communism forced down our throats 👎

  28. This nutty professor prefers rigor mortis to rigor in scholastic endeavor. Einstein's first wife did his legendary math for him while Einstein took the credit.

  29. Bwahaha this is what we have for the so called educated elite. Grading is a measure of ability @ that point. Anyone retarding that simple concept is troling for attention for just stupid. The failure is when teachers Personal emotions & values are smashed into our children unjustly that is negative :)_;

  30. This "professor " is a moron. Not in touch with the real world at all. I would not want to hire his students if they shared his warped outlook. These students just wont be suitable for the modern workplace.

  31. His statement alone Should justify the removal of his professor status. Grades are a Merely a gauge That reflects the students Grasp of the subject Being taught. It was never intended as a judge of the student but of the teacher And their method of Teaching the material Best benefits the Students grasp Of the Subject matter. The student is only as good as the teacher. And if this moron professor is an example Of today's teachers thought process Then he is A perfect example of why Teachers concentrate more on their unions memberships And multi million dollar facilities Of those unions then their ability to teach. There are millions of people that would love to teach That are inventive and Creative and truly dedicated to their Chosen profession And consider it a great honor worthy of the station Knowing that well rounded, Truthful, Honest, Self sufficient, Critical thinking, Independent adults Are Crucial to the student's success and their future as well as ours. Unfortunately this professor never got that memo. It's obvious he doesn't believe a single word he sang having never told anyone in this interview how he Grated his students to this point That forced him to come to this ridiculous conclusion.

  32. This professor is an idiot. Open your eyes pal. Here in Italy they have made it impossible for students not to go on unless they have a certain grade. The results? Ghastly. 1 in 5 of the last batch are not proficient in math and writing. Do you think employers will go along? this is rubbish. Besides look at what social media rules are : likes or not likes, it's a grading system you moron. Engagement and votes on your posts determine you ability to make money on social media. This guys is a fool. You go to school hoping to be selected for the best ones busting your arse because your future depends on it.

  33. People have gone insane.

    Free collage and university educations, and now they won't have grade scores either?

    Ya sure will be great times when a person can just become anything simply because, they just sat in all the right classrooms.
    How can anybody ever think that this could be a really bad idea?

  34. Maybe drop the grades for feminist studies and gender studies. Won't matter because no one hires people with those degrees anyway.

  35. First step on slippery slope to stupidity was gradeflation. Second is, with gradeflation accepted norm, let's get rid of that. Somehow it is never, "gradeflation has been a disaster; let's go back to grading on a curve." I am thinking that with federal subsidies paying salaries of Prof. Woolf and his Marxist ilk, we should take federal subsidies out of education and let the chips fall where they may. I am not alone in thinking this. We are miseducating our youth. An essay that could go on for thousands of pages. My guess Woolf would get an F on being able to even cite some of the arguments. Having set up the strawman Woolf (something Marxists usually do exclusively), we can now wonder about Woolf's motivation for getting rid of grades being connected to his own inability to pass a simple test.

  36. This is the socialist asshat that thinks China's economic boom is due to communist policies…😄😂🤣
    Little hint asshat, it starts with the letter C and we ain't talkin grades moron.😄😂🤣

  37. God forbid we support a capitalist system! What does this guy know about a market job? He's never had one. How do you measure their effort? Ridiculous.

  38. I understand what he is trying to say but it would really need to be the opposite of eliminating grades it would be adding ways to grade at different levels to help the general grade

  39. I almost agree depending on what’s going on in their life or if they have a type of undiagnosed learning disability. You can be a hard worker and successful as a B or C student. However grades are attached to overall performance and performance is attached to funding in the school systems. The money is found in this kind of thought process

  40. Seen this moron before. He’s a communist who wants to overthrow capitalism. Meritocracy is best. When I hire someone, I want the best.

  41. Oh, what a fake move this is, from the part of the liberals. Of course grades are doubtful as to the true efficacy of the learning establishments and the apprentices (I could mention my personal case But I wont, and what the disguised – not propoerly grades – way of teaching teachers hindered my whole learning trajectory as a kid) but this has nothing to do with that matter. This is pure social deconstruction from the part of a people to whom everything serves a purpose, which, by the way, is not serious since they do NOT care with the pupils but with their ends only. I knew of some examples who abolished grades in their own schools because their aim was in teaching, real teaching.I'm reminded of one, Jiddu Krishnamurti, but he had that implemented in their own schools, and was not IMPOSING that on anyone. These folks who come now proposing this measure do not care of the system nor the individual, but only with political ends – and, it seems to me, Marxists ones, because imposed from the outside to the inside.

  42. But listening to the professor… it reminded me that simple fact that education establishments have little to do with real learning. Einstein is an exemple of that, sure. Actual learning/teaching starts with the right motivation, full point. And curiously, the abbolishion of the grade system is another mass movement of the wors kind, because it tends to reinforce the adjustment stance more than other thing. I mean, it tends to discourage the need to make any effort in order to comply with social requirements, yes. They're not talking of creating a Montessori or Pestalozzi or Frobel kind of schools all around, no, what they're arguing is a patternalization of the entire system, which every standardization coming from the State – whatever state or government – tends to stultify and creat norms and rules, and not learning. Se, learning does not star and end in school! Learning is whithout end. Academic training is another thing entirely. Absolutely.

  43. But then, dear professor, there's meritocracism and capitalism and there's sellfishness, a huge, megalomanous selfishness who dares to change what is for the sake of a normalization os sorts, isn't that so, really? Let's get around grades for the heck of it, and abbolish it for real, and it'll be all fixed, shall we? There's nothing behind that WHICH is which may gather a major learning in life and the life beyond, isn't it professor? Nope! It's all just here and now…! I guess it goes without saying… Of course grades are a minor issue in all the entire learning system, but then

  44. Start preparing teenagers for the real world instead of coddling them. If you coddle them, they will mentally fracture when thrown out into reality.

  45. I was considering saving money and taking my children to the USA For university … That's now an astounding Hell No from me … If this is the fluff that "Professors" have and are trying to promote thats a HELL NO! For me and my children .. NOPE NOPE NOPE … This and those looney lefties on campuses nope nope and HELL NOPE… I am gonna send my child to university in Egypt …

  46. Just more proof a degree is worthless and these charlatans shouldnt have unresteicted funding from our federal government.

  47. This imbecile has some gall to complain about students mimicking the teachers. That is exactly what is happening now. If they concentrated on teaching HOW to think, rather than WHAT to think, these kids would have long ago dismissed these imbeciles with their warped and failed ideology. What a sad state of affairs when we have socialists complaining that they are not being allowed to indoctrinate the students more quickly and easily.

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