How should Castilleja pay for Quizlet+?


Juliet Schmeltzer

For many, Quizlet now lies behind closed doors.

Castilleja students encountered a variety of changes when they returned to campus this fall. Students were excited to welcome new faculty, students and in-person events. However, alongside these exciting changes was one unexpected change that the Castilleja community was not so excited about: the requirement of a monthly subscription fee for full access to the Quizlet site.

Previously, students enjoyed full access without payment, and this change evoked confusion, frustration, and in some cases, resentment. Over the years, full access to Quizlet has become a welcome, integral part of our education and an invaluable component of our study routines. Students have relied on it to help with homework, to help prepare for quizzes and especially to help us memorize vocabulary in our language classes. Students depend on it and want to continue to use it this year and future years. But what should Castilleja do about this fee?

There are two options. Option A: Castilleja pays for access for the entire student body. Option B: Castilleja transfers the fee to students and each student must choose for themselves if they want to pay to obtain full access. What is the best solution for Castilleja and its students?

Option A: Casti paying the fee for the entire student body, is the option I’ve seen and heard to be the most favorable among students. The features that require subscriptions (full access to learn mode and multiple attempts on quizzes) are some of students’ favorite options on Quizlet and features that students believe they benefit from the most. Many teachers want their students to use these aspects of Quizlet and students feel it is highly valuable.

Clara Kopczynski ’26, is currently taking French III at Castilleja and believes that Quizlet is the most helpful vocabulary resource. Kopczynski noted how “the words learn mode lets me use before timing out are usually the words I end up remembering, and it’s harder to memorize vocab without learn mode.”

Other students argue that Castilleja should pay the fee so that students do not feel pressured to pay. A situation where students need to pay could lead to inequity, given that some students may be able to easily afford the cost while others may not.

Option B: Casti transfers the cost to those who want to pay. On the other hand, some members of the Castilleja community do not feel that Castilleja should spend the money on Quizlet plus; they believe that the basic plan is enough and that if students want full access, they can pay for it.

Although clearly disappointed about the new Quizlet development, Lauren Schryver, the French II teacher and Head of the Language Department, also did not feel that a school-wide subscription was necessary. Schryver pointed out that studies show that typing answers doesn’t help students as much as writing by hand does; consequently “learn mode” and online tests aren’t critical or highly beneficial.

Schryver also points out that all Castilleja teachers still have access to Quizlet plus, so they will still be able to use restricted features of Quizlet in class, such as Quizlet Live and making Quizlet tests for students to use. “While I’m disappointed by the change, you can still use Quizlet to do what I want students to do,” Schryver summarizes.

So, does Castilleja really need to pay for Quizlet plus? One thing students need to remember is that although Castilleja is a small school, paying for the entire student body would not be cheap. Paying annually for each student would end up costing Casti around $14,976. If Castilleja were to pay for Quizlet plus, that cost would have to be transferred from funds that have previously been allocated to other expenditures. What would Castilleja need to give up in order to assume this new financial obligation?

There is more than one solution to the dilemma. Perhaps there is a meet-in-the-middle approach that Castilleja could pursue so that students can continue to benefit from full access to Quizlet without Castilleja having to pull too many resources from other commitments.

What if Castilleja requests that those students who are able to comfortably pay the additional fee pay it and Castilleja pays the new fee for those who are not able to – using tuition assistance? This would ensure that all students have the exact same access to the full service. What if Castilleja students (and this is a reach) work on creating a Quizlet alternative for the school to use (I’m looking at you Casti coders and engineers!).