The Raider Review

Learning vs Passing

Zsyrii Ennis, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, school is defined as “an institution for the teaching of children.” In my previous years in school, I believed that school prepared me by teaching me lessons I would one day need in the future. However, previous grades had focused more on teaching me basic skills and concepts that I would need to understand.

Now, after being in school for almost 12 years, I realized that I am no longer trying to learn the curriculum being taught to me, but instead focusing on passing my classes in any way I can. It may be because I can’t seem to apply my classes to my aspiring career and not be 100% engaged. I always start off the school year with my best foot forward, hoping to acquire more knowledge, but as the school year progresses I get lost and start focusing more on passing than learning.

Seeing mostly A’s on a report card versus seeing B’s and a couple C’s, most colleges would prefer the A student. Junior Jada Burke believes that the school system is “mostly about passing… I would prefer no grades because people judge you off of it.”

Senior Mikah Walker feels like education is centered more towards “passing because everyone knows colleges primarily look at grades and scores and less at essays and personal things.” She added that she “feel[s] like everybody knows that so no one tries to learn the information and retain it beyond the test.”  There is a lot of stress put on students because we depend on our grades to help us get into colleges and achieve stable careers. The grades I receive in high school may affect the rest of my life, causing me to do everything in my power to get a good grade.

Learning what my teacher teaches is also something I no longer focus on. I can ask questions and get tutoring but even after that, it’s ultimately not about what I have learned but about whatever grade I get on the piece of paper my teacher hands out.  In those situations I spend all night studying and look at the test not recognizing 45% of the questions, then to receive my test back and get a 70%.   Students are held accountable for their grades but teachers should be also – it should be a partnership. A key is to being an effective teacher is understanding how their class learns best and what works best for them, knowing your crowd and adjusting.

People often fall into feeling like their grades define them, and no one wants to be labeled for their shortcomings, so instead of studying and seeking help we may try to find hacks to help us retain the memory of the lessons. I can memorize my notes and replay them in my head 1000 times but the real question is whether I fully understand what I’m memorizing. Senior Susan Dikenah sides more with that school is  “about passing” because “the teachers don’t act like they care much about whether you understand… to them it’s all about if 95% of the students passing, not learning, but passing.”  Sophomore Deborah Adeniji, when asked if she thought if school was about passing or learning, she responded “passing, because basically, teachers help us learn stuff for a test and once the test is taken stuff is already forgotten… basically memorization.” I ran a poll on my twitter @RaiderZsyrii with the question “Is school about learning or passing?” and out of 55 votes, 13% of voters thought that school was more about learning and 87% of voters thought that school was more about passing.

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Eleanor Roosevelt High School's Student-Run Newspaper
Learning vs Passing