An image of a man with a thought-bubble including school-related thoughts.

Are We Learning Anymore?

By Paige Greene
Assistant Web Content Manager

Is school and getting an education really about learning, or are we just getting the grade needed to get by?

A study in 2002 found that more than 80% of college students base their self-worth on their academic success more than their family, appearance and anything else. Instead of focusing on the information being studied, students feel personally attacked when they receive a bad grade because to us, that’s all that matters.

It seems as if our school system rewards people who can fit into a cookie-cutter mold; this means people who may be “street smart” and not “book smart” have a harder time thriving in the school system because they can not get the grades needed to succeed.

This also relates to people who are poor test-takers. I have never been a good test taker and it is the thing that drops my grades. Students can develop extreme test anxiety and, in turn, do poorly on all of their tests.

It is also common that when students take exams, they will study and in the next few days, all of that new information is completely out the window. So what was the point?

According to The Grade Network, grades as we know them only exist today. Universities in the 18th and 19th centuries used medals and ranks to determine how much knowledge a student had. Grades are a pretty recent phenomenon and it is easy to see how they are changing students and the education system.

Every grade counts towards a student’s overall GPA. GPAs matter for job applications, college admissions and more. Some Texas colleges admit students automatically if they are in a certain percentile of their high school class. The students’ worth is strictly being placed in their grades.

Students would also rather take AP courses in high school than take regular or dual credit courses that may be beneficial. This is because these other classes may drop their GPA a few points and ruin their chance at a certain university or ruin their class rank.

At universities, students will do anything to take the “easy A” class so another course, which may be of more interest, will not tank their GPA.

Even though the grading system has messed up our definition of learning, it is beneficial to give students feedback on the subjects and content they are not picking up.

There are many other factors when it comes to a person’s worth than just a grade. At the end of the day, you are more than just your grade.

Featured image by Paige Greene.

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