Universities should place emphasis on learning, not numbers

Students put more time and stress into their grades than anything in their lives today.

Prior to the grading system, universities and schools used a pass or fail system. Teachers worked with students until they understood and did not move on until the student grasped the concept.

Students today are bombarded with tests, reading quizzes, and busy work. They often cram the night before tests and forget it ten minutes after they walk out of the test. Instead of focusing on learning and perfecting a skill or striving to gain knowledge and retain it, students spend their time memorizing just to forget.

The grading system was invented by William Farish in 1792. This was around the time of the industrial revolution in the 19th century. Teachers were paid for the amount of students they had instead of a flat salary. Thus giving them the incentive to take on more students but as a consequence spreading their time thin as well.

Farish invented grades so he did not have to spend so much time with his students and he could take on more. Considering Oxford, the educator of great minds such as C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley, was chartered in 1248 grades are very new in the history of education.

Reading quizzes and busy work are used as incentives to make students read and learn. As a student who chose to go to a University shouldn’t they want to learn? Why do they have to be scared into it?

Most employers do not look for GPA on a resume. They care about what real world experience you have. Gaining real world experience is put on the back burner a lot of times because students are so focused on their GPA goal. It’s also difficult for students to get out there and get the real world experience when they are so preoccupied by busy work.

All of the work puts a strain on the students as well causing them all kinds of stress. In a 2008 survey by the Associated Press, 80 percent of students interviewed said they experienced stress in their daily lives over the past three months. This was a 20 percent increase from five years before.

Stress causes health problems as well. Insomnia, a weakened immune system, headaches, and an upset stomach are all symptoms of stress.

What would happen if more emphasis was put on learning and inquiring rather than ranking and a number? Maybe students would be happier and maybe they would go on to lead happier, healthier lives. Maybe they would find their passion and future career path sooner.

Jessica Hubble is a freshman journalism major from Arlington. She is a staff writer for the Lariat.