Quizlet Charges Students for Caring About Their Grades

A few weeks ago, I opened my Chromebook and pulled up a Quizlet to study vocabulary for my AP Biology class. I had a quiz the next day, and I wanted to make sure I had a few more terms solidified in my brain so I could be confident in the test. I was less than halfway through the definitions when Quizlet stopped my session, telling me that I’d finished my five free rounds on Learn mode. I continued looking around the website for the other studying options, such as Write Mode and Spell Mode, only to discover that they’d also locked me out. Instead of showing me the properties of water and molecules, Quizlet suggested that I pay for their premium program;Quizlet Plus.

Quizlet Plus gives students a seven-day free trial when they sign up, then bills them annually or monthly, depending on what the student chooses when they pay. The annual option bills $35.99 per year, while the monthly option bills $7.99 per month. If you pay for the premium option, you gain unlimited access to the Learn, Write, Spell, Test, and Match modes. All of these modes were completely free to all students for years and were changed abruptly in August, just as school started up again. 

Why is this an issue? Because it’s obviously frustrating to go to a website you’ve depended on for so many years to study just to be turned away because you cannot personally fund a large corporation’s website. A program created for free to help students succeed in school is now charging just to profit from those who can afford to pay to raise their grades. This is just another example of a large corporation taking advantage of its ability to increase revenue while still maintaining a decent portion of its audience. 

Students all over Blake are irritated by Quizlet’s decision to charge for their services. Junior Samantha Ryan says, “We already live in a world where top education is reserved for those with money. Quizlet was a way for those with less access to material to get the information they needed. Now that they are charging, Quizlet is only adding to the discrimination of those in the lower class.” 

This change not only impacts students and their studying but also teachers and the resources they trust to provide to students. Spanish teacher Kristin Bornscheuer, who has used Quizlet regularly and regards it as a great website, says, “It’s inevitable that a company used so regularly would want to pay for it.” She notes that due to this change, she won’t be using Quizlet anymore. Ms. Bornscheuer also suggested a county-wide solution, saying, “I think that MCPS should purchase a subscription for staff and students like they do Peardeck!”

There are a few alternatives to Quizlet that work similarly, but developers have attempted to create websites that operate for free to redirect students who have used Quizlet for so long. Knowt, for instance, is a website that is completely free to use and allows you to import Quizlet URLs into the site. After signing up for an account, you can take entire flashcard sets from Quizlet and recreate them exactly on Knowt. You can also add which school, course, and subject your study set pertains to. While the Learn mode is not complete yet, the website states that by mid-October, there should be a developed Learn mode that includes multiple choice and true or false questions, and, most importantly, doesn’t kick you out of the study set! As of now, they have a developed “Spaced Repetition” mode, flashcards, and practice tests. 

Cramless also allows you to import links from Quizlet and study using a Learn mode incredibly similar to Quizlet. The site sorts out content within study sets based on what you’ve mastered, what you’re reviewing, and what’s new to you. They are also currently working on a mode called “Test Generation,” which will create practice tests to review material.

It’s incredibly unfortunate that Quizlet has decided to capitalize on its ability to assist students in their studies. Hopefully, the creation of these new academic websites will serve the same purpose to students, and maybe Quizlet developers will learn from their mistakes and allow students to study for free again. 

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