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Learning should be valued over grades


The Parthenon

Published: Sunday, February 9, 2014

Updated: Sunday, February 9, 2014 22:02

Every educational system in America has been beating the drum for “not teaching to the test” since the phrase became popular. The now popular mantra claims that your school/schools value learning over grades.

But do the students?  
On April 14, 2013, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson declared via Twitter “When students cheat on exams it’s because our school system values grades more than students value learning.”

If that’s the case, then any school system facing academic dishonesty while proclaiming to teach for learning is inherently flawed.

As overworked students forgoing Sunday night homework to create this college newspaper, we know the struggle is real. There is no grade for being a member of our editorial staff and for many editors, their pay works out to below minimum wage.

But we’ve learned a phenomenal amount about what it takes to operate in the world of journalism. No grades, and we’re still not only learning but sacrificing our precious 20s to be here four nights a week.

Because we love it. Students will only want to spend time on the education that they truly love. They’ll only learn from what they’re truly invested in. No student in the history of planet Earth has ever been emotionally attached to a test. Everyone does, however, look back with smiles on elementary school days with Bill Nye and high school science projects. That’s what made us learn. Days were simpler and the workload nearly always ended when the 3 o’clock bell rang. Now we’re scrambling for anything in a flurry of anxiety for a piece of paper telling employers that we’re “smart enough.”

That’s not learning and that’s no way to live. The dynamics of what a student is has changed over the past 20 years. Not everyone lives in the dorms and not everyone is in their 20s. We have to keep jobs, see our spouses and watch our children. The dynamic of a “nontraditional” student should no longer be labeled as such because it’s become just as normal as an 18-year-old leaving home for school.

School is undoubtedly the most important thing in our lives, but the environment of learning for tests and climbing over mountains of homework is not conducive to the education for which we’re paying so much.


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