Opinion: Grades aren’t everything


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The education system has failed at assessing students comprehensively on skills needed in the workforce. Because they put too much emphasis on students’ academic rigor and performance, students face more mental health issues.

Guest Writer Camille Hodek is a sophomore in Brandon Kendall’s 10th grade Literature and Composition class. The following article was originally submitted as an assignment in that class and is published with permission.

In the United States, our schools, colleges, careers, our futures are heavily dependent on the grades we make and which classes we take in middle and high school. Obviously, school isn’t going to be quick and easy, but, nowadays, the amount of pressure and stress that is put on students for their academics alone is astonishing. 

[T]he amount of pressure and stress that is put on students for their academics alone is astonishing.”

— Guest Writer Camille Hodek

All of this pressure and stress causes several problems, specifically mental health issues, that might not be obvious to many parents. Not only does school cause mental health problems, but colleges completely ignore grades made in “regular” classes and the schooling system fails to test other career abilities, such as teamwork, creativity, and social skills.

Depending on the school and classes taken, the average high school student takes 4-8 classes at once. The stress from all of those classes quickly adds up. Wealthy countries, like the United States, are more likely to have higher rates of stress and mental health problems. 

On top of dealing with suffering mental health, those who aspire to go to college in order to pursue a career must also think about what a college resume is going to look like. For those students who enjoy dipping their toes in a few different things — clubs, sports, fine arts, and other extracurricular activities — may have to take predominantly “regular” classes rather than “rigor” classes in order to maintain the balance between school and extracurriculars. 

Even though students are attempting to find a balance between these two things, colleges have the ungodly expectations that their applicants will be perfect students. Not only are students supposed to be in a variety of extracurriculars, but they are also expected to take strictly AP, Dual Enrollment, and worked-based learning classes to look like a decent applicant to colleges. 

Not every career path is solely dependent on academic grades…”

— Guest Writer Camille Hodek

Some may argue that the American school system actually does a fair job in evaluating and testing every student’s ability. Yet what those people fail to realize is that the schooling system does not evaluate non-academic characteristics that could still potentially be useful in future careers. Not every career path is solely dependent on academic grades, yet those grades are still heavily stressed, causing more pressure. 

Students shouldn’t be expected to make perfect grades. Once society as a whole agrees on this, then the stress and mental health issues that students have been accumulating over the years may begin to start easing.

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