The Collector Store

High-School Students Are Over Pressured To Get Good Grades


(Illustration by Jake Price)

By Kylah Woods

A, B, C, D, F. To some, these are just letters, but to others, these letters represent something most students freak out about: grades. Grades on tests, grades in classes and what some consider as grades at how well they’ll do later in life.

Though the grades do carry importance, the amount of pressure put on students needs to be greatly reduced, and students need to understand that it is OK to not be perfect all the time. It’s burned into our brains from day one of freshman year that our grades and our GPAs are very important. But with the insanely competitive world we live in, doing “good enough” does not feel adequate anymore.

This pressure put on grades can bring about a constant feeling of anxiety with students.  As of 2015, about 6.3 million teens ages 12-17 had an anxiety disorder, according to a study done by the National Institute of Mental Health. There are stressors coming from several different directions in the common teenager’s life, and grades play a large part. Grades are supposed to represent the level of understanding of a concept, an A being an advanced understanding. Nowadays, colleges don’t only look at GPAs so it’s okay to have a B or two in a high school career. Colleges are focused a lot on well-rounded students so if the reason the student got a B is focusing on another skill or passion, colleges will see that. Instead, to the student, the A signifies that they are good enough. They strive for these perfect grades so much that these grades come at the cost of their mental health. According to Time Magazine, anxiety within teens has been on the rise since 2012, balancing schoolwork being one of the biggest contributing factors.

The pressure put on grades not only comes at a cost of mental stability, but, instead of encouraging learning, it makes learning appear to be a chore. We repeat this mantra of “How can I get an A?” instead of actually trying to learn and remember the important information that the teacher attempts to show us. The A becomes less about whether or not the student knows the subject and more about how well they followed the rubric to get an A. For instance, writing an essay. Most times when tackling this assignment students will see what they need to do to get the highest amount of points and choose the easiest route. This doesn’t allow them to exercise a more creative side and actually try to write something new and learn from it.

Instead of parents and teachers constantly telling students that they have to get perfect grades to succeed at life, maybe simply praising Bs as well as As could show students that they are doing alright. Students themselves can try to take a step back and realize that high school is about learning and colleges don’t only look at grades to determine acceptance.  Something needs to be done to help prevent future generations of students from being filled with anxiety because of school. We have to quickly change the way we look at or feel about grades before it’s too late.