I was a good rote learner in school - never studied beyond what was assigned - always did my homework. I got good grades.
But I was not trained to be a performer, therefore I didn't do well on standardized tests.
As a former teacher I strongly suggest that part of what the students learn should be how to think about what is being taught, i.e. practical uses that make sense.
Rote has its place but teaching a child/person how to perform with that knowledge is essential to the ability to measure his or her progress.
I used to have an open mind but my brains kept falling out.