Rhett Allain blogs about physics over at Dot Physics. It seems he's noticed some problems as well with what the purpose of grades are and what they communicate.
If you haven't checked out his blog you should.
I wouldn't be completely against a mish-mash final grade that included all sorts of weird things the instructor thought was important. But without exception, the student's level of learning attainment needs to be clearly communicated. Most schools that move to a completely standards-based report card have separated out academic and non-academic scores. A student would have a grade for their level of mastery in writing as well as behavior, participation, work completion, and other factors that the school deems important.
In my school, we could have a writing mechanics score as well as an ability to bring in kleenex score.