The Harbinger Online

Blog: Grades Versus Learning

Points are like currency: they don’t actually mean anything. And yet, like with wealth, we value grades over knowledge. Currency was fabricated to enable trade. Crumpled dollar bills and shiny plastic credit cards replaced cows and chickens as a matter of convenience–if nothing else, it established a consistent, universal value.But the dollar somehow gained some sort of significance that two chickens and a baby cow never could have. Some of us seem to think that whoever dies with the most money in the bank wins. Somewhere in the transformation between facilitated need and status symbol, money itself gained some sort of higher meaning.

Points are no different. A teacher offers extra credit and we practically arm wrestle each other for the opportunity. We parrot others’ opinions for discussion participation points. We write essays covering our bases to appease the Almighty Rubric God, not approaching a topic with ingenuity.

The education system worships a false deity: grades.

For someone who got a 2230 composite on the SAT, I’m feeling disproportionately antsy about colleges looking at my transcript. What kind of system is it where being active and interested in my classes feels like it’s less important than being in the top 5 percent of my class?

Choosing a class to take should be about having my eyes opened about that subject–not counting as a 5.0 towards my GPA.

And, hey, personal learning isn’t consistent anyway. We’re not all interested in the same subjects so how can you expect an English or history aficionado to be stimulated by Biology 2 or higher level mathematics, or vice versa? The consistency of grading and test scores is killing inconsistent, original thought.

I’m tired of conforming to a formula or what the author of some textbook has to say. This point in our education shouldn’t be about crammed information regurgitated on a Scantron.

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Emily Donovan

Emily is a senior at East who has happily joined the Harbinger as a Staff Writer and Anchor. Besides would-be writer, Emily is an International Baccalaureate candidate, "theatre kid," and artiste-wanna-be. Read Full »

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