Should students be graded on effort?

Tiana Chu, Kainoa Kamakawiwo'ole, Zachary Salas, Jacob Shibuya, and Ranson Silva

Trustan Kekauoha, Editorial

Have you ever put a lot of effort into your schoolwork but didn’t get the grade you were hoping for? Some students suggest that the grading system should be based on the amount of effort put into schoolwork. There are some pros and cons to the debate.

The whole point of us being teachers is to teach content.

— Lyndsay Takayesu, English Teacher, Kalani High School

“I think that students should be graded on the actual information in their work rather than their effort because if their information lacks credibility, they shouldn’t get a good grade,” Brianna Martin (10) said.

However, a benefit to grading based on effort would be a decrease in cheating. In a national survey of 24,000 students, it was found that 64% admitted to cheating, according to If a student’s grade is solely based on the effort demonstrated, that student would be forced to do actual work for a grade.

“I think that if students were graded on effort they would take the class more seriously,” Madison Quartero (10) said. “They would be forced to do work.”         

One aspect to think about is whether or not a new grading system based on effort would improve the overall quality of a school. Would it improve the graduation rate?

According to, every year, about 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States. If a new grading system is based on effort, would graduation rates increase?

For Geometry Advanced, I don’t grade so much on effort. I grade more on the tests, whatever they know.

— Carlton Young, Math Teacher, Kalani High School

“There’s a possibility that it could help the graduation rate,” Brooke Castro (10) said. “Students feel a lot of pressure in school to get the grades they need to move on to college. But even if they try hard, sometimes they don’t get the grade they want, which sucks.”

It seems that a new effort-based grading system would be a good thing to try out. It could help with cheating, increase the graduation rate, and decrease the constant pressure.

“It would be cool to try a new grading system,” Tiana Caramonte (10) said. “Sometimes we try hard and don’t get what we expected or wanted.”