“A” Controversial Grade

Many students wring their mental state dry after failing to achieve straight A’s in all their classes, further promoting a toxic self-image and undermining their mental health.

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Da'Jai Wesson

Grades are often used to showcase a student’s dedication to a class. However, nowadays it seems to only showcase the fact that a student even went to school. What’s the point of a grading system if everyone can attain the best grade with minimal effort?

Ariel Clark , Editor

Reaching for the stars, students often strive to attain a good enough grade in each of their classes in order to be academically successful by society’s standards. But is this mindset toxic? Also, are “A”s given out way too easily in comparison as to what they’re supposed to represent?

As a student, I’ve never really felt driven to the point of investing countless hours and nights into promoting a single “B” into an “A.” My anxiety may spike slightly if a grade goes down to a “C,” but I’m well aware that “B” is (or should be) the average for high school students. This mindset has allowed me the freedom to be indifferent so that I don’t absolutely destroy myself for something as minor as a lower grade. However, this sentiment is not shared throughout the rest of the student body. 

I’ve seen countless students try their hardest to achieve an “A.” Of course, they deserve it, given the amount of effort they put in, but when they fail to achieve the teacher’s expectations and get anything other than the highest possible score, they start to undermine themselves and spread self-hatred to all those willing to listen. A toxic mindset like this tends to lead to depression. As a society, we need to recognize the fact that having a “C” or a “B” is not the end of the world and is, in fact, rather average and expected. One can’t be a jack of all trades, after all.

Unlike the hard-workers that go above and beyond to achieve an “A,” there are definitely issues in the school where this honor is simply handed to students just for them attending (or to keep them from whining too much). An “A” is supposed to represent a student doing stellar work and actually being invested in the content, which is not for someone who sits on their phone for 45 minutes and then googles the answers afterward. While this is by no means telling teachers to make their classes harder, there definitely should be a difference between the person who invested hours into their work and the person who chatted with their friends throughout the ordeal and potentially caused disruptions for the other students.

Parents particularly can be the cause of these issues. All parents tend to want their student to be the “shining star in the vast expanse of space,” which means pushing them beyond their limits in order to force them to get an “A.” Failure to meet expectations? Punishment. Many students feel compelled by their parents to do well (even if ‘well’ means just complaining to the teacher) and be above average in a social setting where everyone is anticipating to be above average.  

I think parents, along with their students, should stop for a moment and realize that there’s nothing wrong with being normal (in fact, it can be rather healthy for the mind). Of course, one can always reach for the stars and strive to do greater, but one shouldn’t feel forced to do so just because of the social construct society has pushed upon modern generations. We’re all only human, after all.