Not to suggest something radical, but the discussion about grade grubbing raises several provocative questions.
1) Why do students change from inherently curious creatures who are naturally motivated to pursue their interests (not all of which, of course, may be what school requires), into "grubbers" who are primarily concerned with some "authority's" evaluation of them as reflected in grades? How do they learn to be this way? Who teaches them this attitude?
2) Assuming your answers to the above questions conform closely to my own, then I raise the more fundamental question: What is the justification for the grade system? Do we really believe that the alleged benefits of grades outstrip the inherent liabilities of virtually every grading system: namely the tendency for evaluation to drive "learning" and curriculum? If there are no conceivable alternatives to grades, is it appropriate for teachers to grade their own students? Isn't there an inherent contradiction in having teachers, who are supposed to support and encourage students, act as judges? Isn't there a conflict of interests for teachers if their OWN worth hangs on a similar system of evaluation (e.g., standardized test scores, "normal" grade distributions, etc.)?
3) Why do we blame students for being exactly what we teach them to be? Why are we surprised that they learn the fundamental lessons of school so well? Namely, that product, not quality, is what is valued. That being "right" is more important than understanding. That coming up with answers on a test under timed conditions is indicative of one's value as a human being.
If this sounds in any way bitter or accusatory, I don't apologize for sounding that way. I'm fundamentally tired of hearing complaints about what's wrong with our students. The answer, quite simply, comes down to their ability to reflect back to us PRECISELY what we teach them: WHADJYAGET? Not, What do you think?