Secondly, grades motivate students because they serve as an objective measurement of our knowledge. Grades are assigned in a systematic way and they clearly demonstrate which students in a class are the best and brightest. As a result, in classes where grades are given, students will strive to succeed so that they can set themselves apart from their peers. For example, in my freshman year I took a “pass/fail” course in literature. Since only a moderate amount of effort was required to pass the class, I completed my assignments and presentations with only a slight amount of care and effort. In contrast, when I took a graded class on the same subject in my junior year I spent hours in the library researching my papers so that I could show my professors that I was intellectually superior to my classmates. This may appear somewhat shallow, but in today’s competitive academic environment it is absolutely necessary for students to distinguish themselves. This demonstrates another way in which grades motivate students to excel.