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Do we put the right value on grades?

I recently read an article by Eastern Michigan student Dereka Bennett, addressing the ongoing lack of value for learning. According to Bennett, learning now is a lesser priority to “getting” a passing grade.

“They only care of finding ways to receive a passing grade, just so they can graduate,” said Bennett. As students compete for college acceptance, for scholarships, administration constantly instills in the student body that poor grades are unacceptable, not the “Phoenix way.” 

But we as students, at a school of high expectation, constantly striving to “get” outstanding grades, to meet the standards set by administration and our parents, called “the Phoenix way,” must value our learning over our letters; we must value education, and be mindful that grades aren’t what grow our minds. 

At Renaissance, teachers have begun catching on to what students do to clutch a desired grade. Those actions include: cheating, plagiarizing, and copying. It is normal for students to do the bare minimum, just to get through a class. 

Cramming is another way. As a student, I have realized that I will not fully obligate myself to learn if I do not have an aspiration in that subject. 

So the question is, what will we do to change the relationship between students and the culture of learning?

Some believe it is already too late to change the perceptions of students regarding education, but I would argue that such a change is based on how society frames the value of grades. 

Our current framing of grades compels students to emphasize a letter or number, rather than an enthusiasm for learning. “I’ll do anything” to get-that-grade and get-that-acceptance-letter mentality is ruining any value of learning. 

Therefore, we as students and teachers should find it necessary to change our outlook on the way we learn and teach, in order to be successful. We should not let society’s requirements deprive us of our will to learn, and our passion to be knowledgeable. 


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