Why is everything about marks? Week five of Internship

In university, we are taught to use formative assessment, to provide feedback, and to allow students to make mistakes, which they are than able to fix and improve. But, while actually teaching everything is about the marks. How does one student compare to others, which student is the smartest, and how does one school, school division, province or country compare to the rest? Why does any of this matter? Could someone please explain to me what the difference between a 90 and an 80 really is, so you know slightly more or you were able to memorize more? Really all that a grade proves is that you were able to give a teacher the exact information that they wanted, regardless of what actually matters. Yet all I hear is how we need to mark every assignment, but I am never told why. Not every assignment is going to truly prove that a student has learnt anything, or test their understanding of a topic. But unless I am evaluating the students ability to research I do not see the point in evaluating an assignment that provides me information found only online. I want students that can take the information they find, and apply it to something more than a few questions. Students need to be able to take more than one piece of information which they can use and apply it to other information which they have learnt to develop well thought out and strong answers that relate to the outcomes that are being evaluated.

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