Challenge to: The grading system


Gavin Cross

I, among many other students, believe that our current system of grading is unnecessary and is not good for the mental health of students. Grades lead to stress and stress leads to problems. This system also takes away from actually learning the curriculum.

Students begin to put more of their effort into keeping their grades up, rather than paying attention in class and learning the subject. Although teachers may say grades measure a students level of intelligence, they don’t.

To support my claim, I conducted a survey of students across multiple grades at Buena, Ventura, and Foothill Technology High School. The survey consisted of two choices: “Do you, as a student, focus more on keeping your grades up?” or “ Do you, as a student, focus more on actually paying attention and learning?” After surveying 20 students from each school, the results were what I expected.

At VHS, the students were 17 to three, for keeping their grades up. BHS and FTHS were both 19 to one.

Though teachers and staff may think that having better grades will put you in a better position for getting into college, I disagree. I mean if colleges really care about a students intelligence and well roundedness, they would look past grades and pay attention to more important factors.

Some to most students who have good grades are more focused on keeping up their grades up rather than learning. Because of this, they’re likely to get the answers to the homework from their friends, or look up the information on google. This is not something all students do, but you would be surprised at the amount of students who are not actually invested in learning, but instead, keeping their grades up.

As previously mentioned, grades only cause stress among students. Many students I know personally or even barely, are constantly talking about how stressed they are over a bad grade in Math, History, English, or any other subject.

Professors at Stanford University said that “Pressure to keep [up] good grades only leads to stress and stress can lead to plagiarism, cheating, and many other problems.” These professors conducted an experiment where they shadowed high school students through their daily high school lives and found this reasoning to be true.

I believe that it would be better for student’s minds if our current system of semester grades and progress reports were taken away, or at least lightened to only having graded assignments. Students shouldn’t have to suffer all year and live in constant fear of getting bad grades, being kicked off of a sports team, getting in trouble with parents, etc.