Work on Learning, Not Grades!

Tips to overcome grade obsession and focus on personal growth

Bekah Redinger, Co-Editor in Chief

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For many Coronado students, if we’re at school and at a computer or on our phones, we check our grades like we’ve been programmed to do it. Although this may be because Student Connect is one of the few websites that D11 Internet doesn’t block, it’s also likely that Coronado students are addicted to grades.

No one can deny that staying updated and in the know is a good thing. It’s much better to know about a failing grade in a class before the phone call home arrives, but it’s time to face the fact that we are obsessed with grades.

 

Easy solutions to such a big problem are tricky to come by, especially for those of us who want to earn an A in every class we take. To solve the problem completely, a massive shift in the use of letter grades and grade point averages would have to occur; since that seems unlikely, the best option for us as individuals is to focus less on measuring ourselves by the grades we earn and more on growing ourselves with how much we learn every day.

This won’t come easy, because it calls for a titanic mental shift. As with anything, the key is repetition and dedication. Here are some tricks to help you adjust your mindset.

 

You don’t need to abandon looking at Student Connect completely. Actually, you shouldn’t! But try this: every time you go to check your grades, look to see if any of your grades changed. Focus on that class, and think about what you learned in class that day. The simple act of reviewing what you learned can not only help you learn it better, but also help you get your mind off your grade and on making yourself smarter. Pat yourself on the back for having learned something, even something small, that day.

 

Don’t take the easy way out on assignments. Yes, that includes (at least some of) your busy work. Do what is asked of you with diligence, and avoid asking other people around you for their answers. “What’d ya get for 12?” doesn’t help you learn what a vocab word means, or how to do a math problem. Remember that the goal is not to finish the assignment, but to understand it.

 

Take advantage of creative opportunities! Projects, essays, and anything else that gives you free reign is a chance to take what you’ve learned in class and apply it to one of your passions. Bringing your artistic skills to a math class, musical skills to a history project, or passion for sports to an English essay combines learning and fun. Plus, teachers can tell when you are interested in a subject. Them seeing you become interested will help them teach you and connect with you, which can be useful in case you need help in class down the line.

 

The most important thing is to do what everyone dreads: ask questions. No one wants to feel inept in class (and admit that to the teacher), but completing homework you don’t understand doesn’t help you. If you routinely struggle with one step of a math problem, but fake it and turn the assignment in for participation points, you might be getting the grade you want, but not the knowledge. Chances are, not only will the teacher be happy to help, but you might also be alerting them to something that they need to cover in class again. By doing that, you’ve helped not only yourself, but others as well.

 

Even if your grade is less than what you would have hoped, you made progress in your understanding of a concept, and that’s what counts in the end. Remember that regardless of GPA when you graduate, we all get the same diploma. It’s what we take away from high school, not what is given to us, that will help us later in life.

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