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Too Smart to Fail?

August 22nd, 2016

Grades, or learning?  Learning, or grades?

How to set priorities?  In the Shrop Ed office, we often talk about learning for its own sake and the importance of not letting the tail wag the dog.  While we don’t underestimate the importance of a strong transcript, we believe that engaged students become strong students and pursuit of grades (or activities, community service, or anything else, for that matter) for hollow reasons is not productive.

With the fall semester just beginning, students are getting into a routine and some may be setting goals for the outcome of their school year.  While there is so much focus on receiving good grades throughout the year, we don’t want students to lose sight of the importance and true joy of learning.

Joseph Holtgrieve, a Northwestern professor, reminds us of just that.  In this article, Holtgrieve touches on his own experiences with students and gives examples of why it is important to set your intention on learning first … and then good grades will come.

Published August 16, 2016

Written by:  Joseph Holtgreive

One of my engineering students came to see me recently asking to drop a class late. That was not an unusual request, and since it was shortly after the deadline I was prepared to approve it. But before I did, we talked, and our conversation went right to the heart of an issue I suspect many bright college students are facing: fear of failing to be perfect, ideally an effortless perfection, versus the joy of learning.

The student explained that she had done poorly on the first midterm exam. When I asked her why she did poorly she responded, “I underestimated how much effort it would take; I thought I could get an A without studying.” Though she believed she could still put in effort and raise her grade before the end of the term, she wanted to drop the course so she could retake it and get an A.

Read more at Inside Higher Ed >>

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