Study for the Knowledge, Not the Grades

WE ARE conducting review classes for our second year students in preparation for the upcoming National Achievement Test. This afternoon, I asked them to answer a multiple choice test. One of the students asked me, “Sir, will this be recorded?” I replied, “Why? Are you not going to take this seriously if I tell you that you won’t get points for this?”

There are students who are motivated by grades for performing the tasks assigned to them. It is not really bad. It is okay to be grade-conscious. That is if in the process of improving your grades, you learn.

report card

Let me enumerate the manifestations that a student is motivated only by grades and not knowledge. You might be one of them, you better check this out.

Signs that you are studying for the grades and not for the knowledge

  1. You copy your classmate’s assignment, thinking that submitting assignments is an assurance that you can pass the subject. If your only intention is to be able to earn the points you could get by simply submitting your assignment, you are easy to spot. Aside from that your assignment looks exactly the same as your other classmates, a quick comprehension check about the assignment will speak for it. If you think you can get good grades by doing this, you better start taking your assignments more seriously.
  2. You copy content directly from the web for your projects. You copy paragraphs from a website, change the format a little, print it, and submit it. Sometimes, you fail to remove a hyperlink or to remove the background color from the text you copied from Wikipedia. Sometimes your sentences are too perfect. Bang, you’re busted! If you think you can fool your teacher with this,  nah, man, you’re wrong. Moreover, simply copying won’t do you any good. You are just contributing to our burgeoning environmental problems. By copying, you are stealing other people’s intellectual property and you are insulting your personal capabilities.
  3. Your notes are complete but you do not study your lessons. Because teachers check your notebooks, you copy everything there is to copy. But if your sole purpose is to earn additional points, you are on the wrong track. The reason why teachers emphasize that you take notes is for you to have something to review when you go home . Also, with your notebook, you can check your teacher’s information as stated in number 5.
  4. You join seminars, trainings, and contest for the additional points. I am sorry to tell you that I don’t give extra points to my contestants. There is another way of giving you credit for that — we have means for evaluating participation in co- and extra-curricular activities. If you do not intend to learn by participating in seminars and other related activities, you are just wasting your time and money.
  5. You do not question your teacher even if he is giving wrong information. The teacher is not the sole source of information. He is not the lord of the classroom. What he is teaching is not the ultimate truth. It is only based on his references and his learning experiences. He is just ahead of you in the number of years he has studied the subject matter but that does not mean he is all-knowing and faultless. If you blindly follow his teachings and do not verify the accuracy and veracity of the information he is feeding you by reading other references, then you are not studying for knowledge.

Finally, good grades do not make you intelligent. It is your being truly intelligent that will help you get good grades.

*image from here

Ariel Lalisan

Ariel Lalisan

Ariel Lalisan is a physics teacher at Alabel National Science High School. He is an advocate of constructivism approach in education. He employs active learning and independent learning in his lessons, and, of course, a lot of technology integration. His goal is to produce students who can solve problems on their own using the concepts they learn in the classroom. Ariel Lalisan is a Google Certified Innovator (Google Teachers Academy Southeast Asia 2014) and a community leader at Google Educator Group Sarangani. He is a co-founder of SoCCSKSarGen and he won the Globe Media Excellence Blogger of the Year Award in 2015.

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