Newspaper Page Text
A Grade Escape
The main objective of a college education should be to prepare students for
their careers and to help them develop professionally. Unfortunately, too much
emphasis is currently placed on the students' academic performances, and the
main objective is now to achieve good grades, whether or not any knowledge is
attained. This situation has created a somewhat hazardous condition--one which is
contradictory to its original purpose--and many students are now working only for
a piece of paper, rather than for the knowledge it represents. This is an
undesirable state of events, and its progression must be arrested before it is too
Today's college systems are based on the premise that by stressing grades and
other pertinent figures, students will respond by studying more diligently and
will therefore learn more. However, this is only half true--the majority of students
will study more, but any knowledge gained will not be retained. The reason that
students so readily forget that which has just been studied is because they didn't
learn it in the first place--they merely memorized meaningless names, facts,
figures, etc. which were insignificant to them, and simply "regurgitated" them to
the teacher in a little blue book. With no real understanding of the material, it is
easy to see why students cannot retain it. In many instances, students can receive
a commendable grade, even though they have little or no perception of what they
have just written on their examination papers. There is something dreadfully
amiss with a system in which grades are awarded to individuals who haven't the
slightest inkling of what is going on. Indeed, these inequities should not occur.
By requiring students to compete with each other for better grades, a tension
is also created which entices the students to cheat. When students resort to
copying answers from their classmates' papers or cleverly concealing "cheat
sheets" somewhere on their persons, it is a sad indication that they are not
learning anything. Granted, cheating and all other kinds of dishonesty cannot be
condoned or blamed on the pressures of peer competition, but the existing system
certainly gives these cheaters added incentive to "do their thing." Perhaps if the
grades were not emphasized so much, and the learning was stressed more, the
students who cheat would then be more interested in learning, and not how to
make it appear as though they were absorbing knowledge.
While grades are certainly important to gauge students' academic achieve
ments, there are other methods which can be feasibly developed and implemented
to offset their importance.
Volume 13, No. 4 c.c. reader February 19,1981
Published bi-weekly by the students of The Pennsylvania State University,
The Capitol Campus in Middletown, Pennsylvania.
The C.C. Reader has the following four-fold purpose: [l] to keep students
informed about their campus community;  to provide editorial comment on
issues facing the campus community;  to serve as a forum for student poetry,
photographs, short stories, graphics, and other creative endeavors;  to serve as
a learning mechanism for all students interested in the journalistic process. This
includes reporting, editing, layout, typesetting, and paste-up.
Sports Editor - Kenneth Aducci Copy Editor - Alice M. Coon
Activities Editor - Keith N. Gantz Photography Editor - Mark W. Clauser
Staff Editors - William J. Neil Cartoonist - Joe Horvath
Staff - Kathy Kern John Harvey
The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author and are not
necessarily the opinions of the students, faculty, staff, or administration of The
Pennsylvania State University.
The C.C. Reader welcomes letters from readers. Letters intended for
publication should indicate the writer's college affiliation, if any. All letters must
be signed by the writer. Unsigned letters cannot be printed. However, a writer's
name may be withheld upon request. Letters should be legible (preferably
typewritten, double spaced); and any material that is libelous or does not conform
to the standards of good taste will be edited and/or rejected.
The Assistant Editor shall serve as Editorial Editor for the remainder of the
Pennsylvania State University
Middletown, PA 17057
Phone -- (717) 944-4970
Harry H. Moyer
Susan M. Snell
Dr. Donald Alexander, Monica O'Reilly
Thursday, February 19, 1981
For instance, all courses could offer students the pass-fail option. This would
relieve the tension of working solely for a grade, but insure the teachers that the
students do enough work to deserve the credits they earn. Other solutions can be
instituted which would be similarly effective in promoting permanent knowledge
rather than transient knowledge.
In conclusion, something must be done to neutralize the obsession with grades
in our colleges and universities. Although it may be easy to cheat one's way to a
respectable grade point average, it is not quite as easy to cheat one's way to the
zenith of his profession in the "real world."
Seeing The Light
In these days of The Drought, when water conservation is the uppermost
thing in peoples' minds, the citizenry of Capitol Campus has seemingly closed its
eyes to another serious matter: the energy crisis. Numerous examples of the lax
attitude toward this dire problem can be found all over the campus.
Each night, long after classes have ended, many of the lights remain on in the
Main Building. For no apparent reason, corridors, staeirwells, and classrooms are
still well lit in the wee hours of the morning. In an act that defies logic,
Vendorville shines like the North Star all night long, despite the fact that the last
item is sold at 8:00 p.m. Though these may be dubbed "security measures," a
much more effective deterrent to crime would be to simply lock the doors, many
of which now remain unlocked all night.
This blatant waste of electricity in the Main Building is countered by the lack
of lights on the walkway connecting it with the Multi-Purpose Building.
Pedestrians who travel this path by night are forced to grope their way through
the uncharted wilderness while the lights overhead remain strangely unlit. This
throwback to the pioneer days is deplorable.
In addition to the unnecessary lighting in the Main Building, I also find fault
with the abundance of clocks. Though they are a:helpful addition in the corridors
and offices, it is a waste of both energy and money to install them in the
classrooms. The only real purpose served by classroom clocks is to divert
students' attention. The most ridiculous aspect of the clock situation, however, is
found on the second floor. Here hang two clocks, no more than ten feet apart, both
running continuously. To add insult to injury, the two clocks often give different
The dormitories are the site of further squandering of electricity. The
hallways and bathrooms are perpetually lit up, giving Church and Wrisberg Halls
the look of St. Patrick's Cathedral on Christmas Eve. The lounge televisions are
seldom--if ever--turned off, not to mention the incessant blaring of stereos from
practically every room. These actions are certainly not exemplary of energy
The Student Center is another area in which lights are left on for no apparent
reason. Granted, the study area is open all hours to give students a place to do
their work, but can't the lights be left off when it is not being used?
Last, but certainly not least, comes Meade Heights. It is not uncommon to see
lights, both interior and porch lights, shining all night long. With this comes the
mandatory T.V.'s and stereos blasting continuously--whether or not they have an
audience--and all the while eating up electricity.
I trust that it isn't asking too much of our students, faculty, and administration
to take corrective measures concerning the energy crisis. In fact, energy
conservation here at Capitol Campus can go a long way toward inspiring the
surrounding community to follow our example. Just a little effort on everyone's
part can make a big difference ,
--William J. Neil