Too Much Focus on Grades, Not Enough on Learning

A rising issue in school systems today


Alyssa Devlin


Imagine you spend hours studying for a huge science test, staying up late to ensure that  you do well. You feel confident, but when you get the test back, you find out you failed. Does your grade make you upset?  Are you mad that your average will decrease and you might get in trouble with your parents? Or, do you realize you didn’t know the material as well as you thought? You could review the test and look at the questions you got wrong, but a lot of students will be too obsessed with their failure to thoughtfully reflect and learn from their mistakes.

This is a problem. Why do many students care more about their grade than what they learned? It could be the pressure to get into a good college, pressure from parents to do well, or trying to pass so that they can play sports and participate in clubs.  Any student can memorize the information, take the test, do well on it, and then completely disregard the information until they need it again for mid-year and final exams. Perhaps the student did not understand what they were memorizing, but rather they memorized potential test questions based on what was discussed in class.

And, from a student’s perspective,  it often seems as though teachers don’t recognize the fact that their students not only have to complete the work for their class, but for the rest of their classes too. This can cause an overload of work, and cause students to become stressed. The stress can lead to a student cheating or not doing the work at all. With all this stress, a student may want to pass the class by whatever means necessary. An overload of work may make a student give up on the class, and not have any desire to learn. If education systems relied less on testing and grades, and more on allowing students to explore their interests and thoroughly learn material, they would yield more successful students that value the education they are receiving.