OPINION: Teenagers are more than just a grade

By Catherine Khitiri, Apprentice Editor

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It is heavily established that school is probably the most stressful thing a teenager can go through. A high schooler’s main goal is to earn good grades in order to go to college. It is no surprise that getting into a college is very competitive, and students are constantly striving to be the best of the best. Good grades are earned by turning in assignments at a certain time or taking tests about what you learned. Besides just standard grades, colleges also look at SAT and ACT scores. It seems that grades are consuming students’ lives, but they are an outdated way to test a student’s intelligence. There is more to a person than just how many questions they answer correctly.

There are many cases of students who perform extremely well in all four years of high school but do O.K. on their standardized tests.

It seems unfair to judge a student’s entire academic performance on one test, but unfortunately, that is the reality teenagers suffer from. In daily classes, students feel as though they are memorizing information for tests without actually absorbing the information. It is very common for teachers to go over a topic for a week or more, and then students take the test, just for the topic to never be discussed again in class. This leaves students with the bewildered feeling of ‘What is the point of learning this in the first place?’

Obviously, tests can be very useful for a student’s education. Tests are a demonstration of a student’s ability to understand and retain information. However, specific rigorous tests take this philosophy to the extreme. For example, AP tests gauge what a student has learned over the course of the entire year, sometimes even two. If they do not do well on the test, they do not get AP credit. Midterms are a huge chunk of a student’s overall grade in the school year. If they do not do well on an exam which assesses what they’ve learned months ago on end, it can seem pretty unfair as to why it makes up 10 percent of their grade. It is very difficult to study for not only one, but up to seven grueling midterms for an entire week straight with an incredibly broad idea of what questions will be asked.

The most unfair part about earning grades are the tests that are worth countless amounts of points. It brings up the same point as the SAT scores. What happens if a student does well on everything else but flunks one 80 point summative test? Maybe they’ll end with a C after having an A for the rest of the marking period. Their overall GPA drops a few points, which seems like nothing, but to college this kind of drop is everything.

In addition to the large sum of points of tests, there is also the issue that everyone is different and therefore possesses a different learning style. One person may learn better through visuals and hands-on activities while another learns better through text and lectures. Unfortunately, schools are not generally tailored to a student’s specific needs. The reason that one person is failing is often times the reason that another is thriving.

A heavy grading system like the one we currently have threatens to stamp out that sense of individuality. The character of a person is what makes a person a functioning member of society, not their standardized-test prowess. This is how students choose their college majors and careers. Obviously colleges look at the character of a person for admissions through extracurriculars, but colleges still put their focus on scores and grades.

Teenagers should not be judged by a singular score. The character of a person is what makes a person a functioning member of society. Just because something was not turned in on time does not make them dumb. Just because a student thrives in one subject but struggles in another should not bring down their overall transcript. There is much more to a high schooler than their grades, and unfortunately, those other traits are being overlooked. They have their personality, their determination, their discipline, their adaptability, their social behavior, their creativity and much more going for them. They do not need scores based on their adolescence to determine their adulthood, but instead, their character traits and abilities.