07 January 2006


Well, I'm finally back from Christmas vacation. Today was really crazy. Between dropping Heather off at USU, picking up Joni from the airport, and driving to Provo, I spent about 10 hours in the car, plus two in the airport. Sheesh. I hate waiting for things and riding in cars. I don't feel like I can get anything done because something might happen and I need to be on alert. (Plus in cars, I'll get sick if I try to do much of anything.)

So, I thought I had this semester all planned out until I got my grades for last semester. Then I realized that in order to keep my scholarship, I need to retake a few classes. Thus, this semester has suddenly become a lot easier than I thought it would be, but I feel sort of ashamed retaking classes. I mean, I should have done better in them in the first place. Almost without exception, my bad grades are due to my lack of participation. On tests and papers, I almost always do well, but quizzes and participation points are usually enough to bring my grades down to the B range. Not bad for some people, but in trying to keep a scholarship, huge problem.

I think the reason this happens is because I used to be able to get by in school on pure talent. No effort was really necessary to get A's (or E's, since my elementary school didn't use traditional letter grades). But in high school, they start including so many participation points and busy work, which I hate. For example, I failed (yes, with an F) two quarters of AP Biology. However, I got a 5 on the AP Bio test and a 7 on the IB Bio test. It was just ridiculous. Why should people who know everything in the class get poor grads because they refuse to do busy work?

Here's my solution to the problem. Give each student two grades at the end of the semester, one based only on important papers and tests, one including those plus all the busy work points. Either put both on the report card, or let students choose which one they want. I guess my main frustration is the lack of a standard grading system for all classes everywhere. If I were in charge, all classes across the US (maybe the world) would have a standard grading system. That way things can actually be compared. This is why I am a huge fan of testing systems. They provide a scale of comparison. All this nonsense about the tests not being fair just seems silly to me. People complain about them because they reveal the difference between a 4.0 student who learns and a 4.0 student who just does the work.

This detour brings me back to the real point. Through out my school career, I have avoided doing more work than necessary to learn the material. Basically, I'm a self-made slacker on purpose. But now I need to reform and get some actual study habits. Yeah, that would be good.

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