Which is more worthwhile: making D students C- students, or A students A+ students?
My stand on this is that A students should be A+ students. Those who are A students are those who have the drive and talent to make major leaps forward in indusry, and since students of low grade/drive will only repeat what had been done, wouldn't it be better to clear the field for those with the most potiental?
This is a cynical viewpoint, and I know it, but I think that while it is cynical and cruel to those who would be left behind, I think I would benifit society as a whole.
I see many problems with this view. Not to sound arrogant, but I was one of these students who had a natural gift for some subjects and had to put in minimal effort when it came to some things. Sit in class, chat a bit, take a few notes here and there and then show up for my test on the topic and get A/A+'s - the odd B if I had really been lazy. Other subjects I was shocking, such as mathematics - as much as I tried I could not grasp some of the mathematical concepts I was presented by the teacher I had. I know I was only good at certain topics, and I did well in my interests. Others had a lot more incentive than me.
By stating I was an average C in my mathematics class, am I instantly inept? Am I not "intelligent" enough to give to society? I think you would respond it would be relative to the topics I did well in, and that would be my area of expertise or study. The problem is, how do you measure incentive of an individual? How do you measure intelligence? And please do not go whipping out some statistics on people with high I.Q's and careers as I believe all such testing is based on knowing certain knowledge - someone with a certain education will be able to score better on I.Q tests than someone without such knowledge, take for instance cultural disparities. I.Q - ultimately a useless number which means nothing to no one if you cannot do something practical with your supposed intellect.
I see no valid ground in stating potential can be quantified by a few people with a teaching degree and faulty curricula suited to only mid-range student which learn in X fashion.
I believe in some countries they split students up at a certain age into "vocational" and "academic" tracks based on grades.
This is true, and in some ways effective. However, some students are late in getting their act together or understanding crucial concepts. Meantime they have been shoved into a woodwork room and getting an apprenticeship when they really wanted to study at university and could have probably entered with sufficient marks. We need to make sure there is some balance and monitoring of such student transfers in case the possibility arises for an individual to change back into the "academic" system.