When I left high school, I left as a weary individual who measured her inner excellence based on the numbers on her transcript. I left as an individual who had been taught for 12 years how to be excellent at regurgitating information. I left as an individual armed with the sole truth in our education system: achievement is much more crucial than comprehension.
When I entered college, I hoped that this wouldn't be the case. I hoped that my creativity, which had been smothered throughout high school by memorization and the robotic regurgitation of facts, would somehow slowly kindle back into my mind; I hoped my creativity hadn't completely been murdered.
While I enjoy college, the independent freedom associated with it, and the friendships I have developed and will go on to maintain throughout the entirety of my life, I have found that some classes are, sadly, similar in nature to those I was attempting to escape. I find myself memorizing more than understanding, regurgitating more than thinking, and I am fed up with an education system that has slowly broken our creative nature and forced us to become obsessed with attaining a certain grade.
Our education system is broken. And it starts with the small things. When students take a test, we receive a result, and most of us are likely to never look at that test again. There is no requirement, in most classes, for us to fix those mistakes. And that is an insult to the natural process of learning; if we’re not going back to our mistakes and correcting them, then the gap of knowledge that is evident from one's score has never been attempted to be bridged. And then, even more unusual, if I score 70 percent on an exam, the professor moves on, and I am expected to learn new concepts with a 70 percent understanding of the previous concepts that the new ones are building upon.
When I read a book, I am very likely only to skim it, searching for the elements I know there to be a test on. I will most likely not enjoy the book because I am reading it for the sake of a grade rather than comprehension. Sure, one can argue that students who are afraid of this pattern should attempt to change their habits, but why should we change our habits when it is the education system who should do the changing? Not every student has the motivation to change the habits of regurgitation, so it’s much more sensible to address the root of the problem or the aspect that forms these habits.
What I find even more horrifying though is my own adaptation to this environment; I find myself studying to pass rather than studying to learn. This “brain dumping” method of studying will hurt me in the long run because a topic I have memorized today has not been comprehended and will likely have been forgotten in a couple of years. This is especially concerning because I aim to enter the science field, and the sciences require a fundamental understanding of concepts.
I believe that all universities should require students, at least, to correct their mistakes; they should also attempt to work with students who do not have a 100 percent comprehension. The education system may be broken, but broken isn't the same thing as unfixable.