Grades != Knowledge
Education should never be associated with grades, or even school. While grades may give an indication of how well you comprehend a subject matter, they really shouldn’t be the center of attention. If you enjoy learning about something, you naturally will seek to find out more about that item or subject matter. On the other hand, if you are forced to learn something that you may not enjoy, you more than likely will struggle with the subject matter and not do well in it.
The point is this: if you have something that you really enjoy doing, grades are essentially irrelevant. For example, in my case, even though I know my computer science classes will be difficult, I am willing to put in the amount of time to make sure I do well in the class simply because I am naturally interested in the material. Additionally, since I want to know about the content, even if I perform poorly on an exam, I will care enough to go back and figure out why I didn’t do well; I don’t need a grade to tell me that I did poorly or motivate me to work harder, I should know how much I need to work or study based on how I feel about the content.
The source of motivation should be from natural interest, not a letter.
Students should never be solely motivated by a letter or gpa number; they should not take classes they could care less about simply because it is easy, or will bump up their GPA. They should be able to take whatever classes interest them, even if they know they may not perform the greatest.
This is a huge flaw in the traditional college system in my opinion. Students should never be restricted to learn what they wish to. For example, I would love to take a few design classes and business classes, but with the intensity of my engineering schedule it will be nearly impossible to fit them into my 4 or 5 years here at school during my undergraduate career. This seems very wrong to me. I should be encouraged to explore all the subjects that interest me at this point in my life, not discouraged by a formal GPA system or anything of that sort.