Teens overwhelmed with pressure on grades


Senior Anna Fischer values the importance of her studies and often feels pressure to have perfect grades (Photo by Ashley Riggs)

Ashley Riggs, Assistant Managing Editor

Grades are a huge deal for most students and parents. Grades ultimately are one of the most important factors in being accepted into college, and the top schools have rigorous requirements for any applicant.

If someone does not get into a top college, then he/she won’t get the best, high-paying job, and his/her whole life will be changed for the worse if he/she does not get good grades in high school; sound familiar?

Most teenagers can agree they have heard about how important grades are and how much it will affect their futures; not all students take it seriously and care a lot about grades, but a good portion spend hours on end to get the grades they “need” for a successful life.

Some students struggle to achieve top marks due to learning disabilities, for example, dyslexia or ADHD, which make school work even more difficult. When students receive lower grades than they expected, it can be very frustrating and discouraging for them. This causes students to give up on grades, especially if even when they do put the work in, the outcome is not what they hoped for.

The article “Letter Grades Deserve an ‘F,’“ written by Jessica Lahey, said, “Worse, points-based grading undermines learning and creativity, rewards cheating, damages students’ peer relationships and trust in their teachers, encourages students to avoid challenging work, and teaches students to value grades over knowledge.” This helps show that grades come with many negatives. Most students strive for all A’s, which in certain high school classes can be extremely difficult without lots of added work and time put in. All this hard work might not even pay off, and kids may still be failing classes or not doing as well as expected.

A U.S. news article, “Students spend more time on homework but teachers say it’s worth it,”  estimates that students can spend approximately 17.5 hours a week on homework. That is a lot of time that is being taken away from family, sports, sleep, friendships, and hobbies, all things necessary for the learning and growth of teenagers.

“On multiple occasions, I’ve had to stay up until the next morning studying for a test just because of how much a grade means for my future,” said Senior Jacob Miller. That means teenagers may be getting little to no sleep at night, all due to grades, teens need at least 8-10 hours of sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Sleep is needed for teens to be healthy, recover, heal, and avoid illness, injury, and sleep deprivation. All in all, the lack of sleep causes headaches, stomachaches, lack of concentration, and much more that can affect one’s performance at school.

“A study from the Lifespan Learning and Sleep Laboratory at University College London found that insufficient sleep can also impact teenagers’ academic performance,” explained in an article called “Teens’ grades benefit from more sleep.”  

Also, grades don’t measure someone’s skill and personality. Grades can measure certain abilities, like studying and note taking. On the other hand, there are multiple types of skills that school and grades do not measure, or the college someone goes to. Prestigious colleges can give people different opportunities and look good on resumes.

But when it comes down to the skill and talent of a person, grades and colleges do not matter. Lior Zoref gives speeches to schools around the world and also wrote an article called, “What is the correlation between grades and success in life? and said, “All the studies I read found no correlation between grades and success in life. The only correlation found was between grades and academic success. In other words, for those who aspire to academic studies, scores predict success. However, it has nothing to do with success in life. Numerous students who fail school become CEOs of major corporations, leaders, etc.”

He talks about how grades can have an effect on motivation and confidence, but other than that, grades have no effect on success. People can get great, well-paying jobs by going to a small college or not going to college at all. Success is not driven by grades. “Grades should not be a big deal because they don’t measure all aspects of a person’s intelligence, and I think life would be a lot easier because people could focus on their strengths,” said Sophomore Delaney Muncy.

If teenagers spend all their time on grades and school, how will they figure out their interests, hobbies, and talents, all things necessary in growing up and figuring out what one will want to do in the future?