More often than not, today’s students have fallen into a continuous cycle of late nights, artificial deadlines, and grade influenced mindsets, when it should, in fact, be quite the opposite. In a vastly changing world, the education system is not set apart. Over time, education has slowly transitioned into a more damaging, expectant system, in which learning is no longer at the threshold of importance for students. It is no longer about learning, it is simply about passing. Grades have become a product to solely strive for. In the education system today, learning has been pushed to the side in order to meet the excess amount of expectations placed on students, creating a community based on living up to standards, which interferes with the learning process.
While grades can be beneficial, they have developed into a sole source of students’ motivation, taking the place of learning as the end goal in school, which is to pass. Grades are a convenient and easy way to keep track of a student’s learning progress, serving as an “immediate feedback mechanism,” however, they have become a source of impending doom for many students (“3 Reasons Grades Are Bad for Education – THNK School.”). They stress memorization and reinforce a mentality emphasized on test scores, rather than rewarding learning and creativity (Lahey). Often, we see students would rather take the easy route or the simplest task to lessen the amount of over consuming workloads, to attain the best possible grades, and to avoid failure. Grades have diminished the value of learning and created an environment where students are afraid of failure, as the pressure to perform perfectly from teachers, parents, and even students themselves is overwhelming and damaging.
As a current student in the education system, I can personally account for the dwindling focus of learning. It seems continuously we are told by our teachers, parents, and even our peers that “grades do not define you,” yet still, we obsess over the letter grades written onto our exams in bright red ink. We ask for extra credit points not to learn, but to enhance our grades even just a little bit. Studying for tests is not to comprehend and retain the information, it is to memorize, but then later forget, that information to get a multiple choice question correct. Our focus has been diverted from learning and instead placed on our grades. It has become a sad reality where students memorize, recite, forget, and then move onto the next subject. Grades should not be the end all be all, they should be “a recognition of the learning process a student went through, not the product a student strives for exclusively” (Schwartz). Because of these expectations, every school day has become a self-defeating cycle of striving for perfection instead of striving for learning and comprehending that which we are taught in school.
School is no longer about learning, it is about passing. Students continuously enter the routine of striving for good grades instead of the actual goal to learn, as perfect grades are held as a necessity for success for the youth today. Grades should instead act as a helpful stage in the learning process, rather than a diminishing form of learning. Today, the learning process has been lowered and students’ passion for learning have been diminished by the heavy weight the expectations of grades carryover. School should not be a place where your grades define your success as a person, it should be an interactive and collaborative environment for students to kindle their passion for learning and to grow as individuals.
“3 Reasons Grades Are Bad for Education – THNK School.” THNK, 24 Sept. 2020, www.thnk.org/blog/3-reasons-grades-bad-education/.
Lahey, Jessica. “Letter Grades Deserve an ‘F’.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 19 June 2018, www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/03/letter-grades-deserve-an-f/284372/.
Schwartz, Katrina. “Are Grades Diverting Focus From Real Learning?” KQED, 18 July 2017, www.kqed.org/mindshift/48450/are-grades-diverting-focus-from-real-learning.