Eye of the Editors: Value of grades

Opinion: Diamond Bar High School students are too focused on grades rather than actual learning.

Any Diamond Bar High School student can attest to our school’s competitive nature. Whether in Advanced Placement or regular classes, it isn’t a stretch to say students’ concerns are 100 percent focused on performing well in classes and tests. 

DBHS boasts a rigorous and challenging curriculum that seemingly prepares students for college. However, in reality, the exact opposite is happening. Without any care for actually learning and retaining educational content, students simply forget about the material as soon as they stop viewing it as relevant to them. 

As a result, students adopt an attitude of achieving an A or 5 by any means necessary, including missing out on participating or asking questions in class, cheating on tests and homework and doing the bare minimum on assignments. Though it may pay off in the short run, they are only preparing themselves for a brutal and inevitable wake-up call in college.

The school is at fault as well. Teachers push for students to perform well on AP exams and standardized tests in order to boost their record and the school’s rating. If the school itself doesn’t strive for an active and engaging curriculum, students cannot be expected to become perfect students. 

Almost every student has been in a similar situation where they will only study or memorize enough to pass the test, immediately forgetting what they learned afterwards. Take math classes, for example. Teachers must constantly remind students of past formulas or general knowledge they “learned” and should have memorized. More often than not, only a select few will remember. 

It is dangerous for students to have the mentality of only studying for a good grade. By doing the bare minimum to receive an A or 5, students create a habit of laziness and don’t reach their full potential. Later on, this will prohibit them from being successful in college or life when they are competing against those who took their education more seriously.

In the case of AP classes, some teachers will strictly teach material that is related to the AP test, choosing to neglect other areas of information that could be important later on in college or life. Rather than focusing on having a well-rounded education, students pour all their resources into guaranteeing themselves a good score on the AP exam. 

Students are also guilty of this. If something is not going to be on the AP test, it will be neglected by students. How many times has a student asked the question, “Will this be on the test?” and if it won’t be on the test, it’s thrown out of their minds. Both sides are at fault here.

The same students who didn’t care about learning as a whole or studying to understand the information will struggle in college or on the job. When college classes or a work environment requires students to discuss ideas and present meaningful solutions rather than a standard answer, DBHS students may find themselves at a disadvantage. To be successful in any area is to have mastered it, to understand the ins and outs of the matter, not just the bare minimum.

Students need to get rid of this idea of working for an A or 5 on the AP exam. They are not doing any good for themselves in the future and are digging a hole for themselves by training to be good test takers, not good students or knowledgeable citizens.