About this time or so last year I wrote a post about my systemic problem with the whole idea of grading. To summarize my feelings, I think we pretty much all know that grades are highly subjective measurements of whether students actually "learn" something from the classes they are taking. Additionally, I posit that grades might even potentially be deterimental because they discourage creativity and true academic exploration, because students are most highly rewarded for focusing on a regurgitation of the material that the instructor is interested in, rather than a critical exploration of areas of the subject that are of interest to the student.
I still hold this belief, though I think in the past year I have increasingly been less concerned with toppling the system and instead just trying to work the system. As grades have been coming in over the past few weeks I reminded again of how subjective grading can be. During the fall semester I took a ridiculous 17 credits, while I maintained a part time job and worked as a research assistant. I am not looking for sympathy, but merely trying to point out that I really had to economize the amount of time I spent working on each subject over the last couple of months. In school today I stopped and spoke with one very smart classmate who was in my Real Estate Transactions class. We both remarked that we had received B's (something I am pretty prowd of), but also how subjective the whole process was. I had worked very hard on each of the projects assigned for this class, especially the last one which I did by myself while most people did the project as a group. I definitely earned my grade in terms of the effort I put into each project. On the other hand, I also recieved a C in my Banking Law class. something which really chaps my ass. On the one hand, I am happy I received a nice safe C. However, when I thought about 1. The fact that I knew much of what we studied in this class already from college, 2. I could tell from the final presentations in this class that I knew more than about 80% of the people in this class about my topic, 3. How much time and effort I put into my final paper and how all three of these things were cancelled out by the fact that the professor had some sort of mysterious dislike for me.
In the end, the subjectivity of grades can end up being a double edged sword. I know I have received good grades because professors liked me or knew I had worked hard and although I realized how this might be "wrong," I smiled all the way to the bank.