Opinion: Grades valued over learning

For many of today's students, guest contributor Sarah Swinford says school is more about getting the grade than learning.

Jay Schlaegel

For many of today's students, guest contributor Sarah Swinford says school is more about getting the grade than learning.

Sarah Swinford, Guest Contributor

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Everyday students do work for a grade; daily worksheets, homework, essays, quizzes, and tests. The mindset of most students when it comes to all this work: what can I do to get an A or  what’s enough for me to pass. But the real question students should be asking is: “Why do we always do worry about the grade not the learning?”

Decades ago, people valued their education and that they were learning for their future, not their grades. Many students fell in love with learning because they had the passion to learn over rather than being concerned about getting a good grade. People went to school for their success and dedication to learning rather than to be there and get a grade.

The truth behind schoolwork for most students is that many don’t care about learning the actual curriculum itself but rather what will get them that A on the test or what they need to do or know to pass? Yes, there are students that actually learn it as well as get a good grade, but most often, people learn what they have to just to please the teacher or get that good grade.

“Teachers and parents always stress how important our grades and GPA are,” freshman Jordan Klein said. “We are programmed to just worry about numbers rather than what we’re learning.”

Nowadays, grades are a big part of colleges choosing their applicants. As a result, grades are all that students really care about. It’s not about being knowledgeable and knowing all the information you can, but rather: “I have to do good on this test.” It makes studying the information not fun at all because students aren’t doing it willingly.

“I think we all like to know we’re doing well from somebody else,” English teacher Lindsay Pfiffner said. “Students also want to please their parents, and a score is a way they believe can demonstrate their learning, even though it may not always be a true reflection of their understanding.  Additionally, students are often worried about GPA and college admissions.”

Grades place a lot of stress on students and because of this stress, students learn to hate learning. Instead of actually learning, students will often memorize the material in a short time to get a good grade. They worry about how much they need to know and how much they need to memorize other than what do they want to know and what do they want to know more about.

School is about getting an education. We need to value our knowledge and ability over grades.