By: Mattie Tomey
There’s no question that everyone has noticed a big change in the grade system this year. While before your grades were visible at the click of a few buttons, you’re now only able to see your overall grades in your classes every four weeks, and even then they can only be viewed for a short period of time.
The policy was implemented to relieve stress and encourage students. However, it can be argued that not knowing your own grades can cause more stress. The build up to the short time that we do get to see our grades can cause anxiety because there’s always the possibility that you could be doing a lot worse than you thought you were, or a lot worse than you were during the last time the grades were open. Seeing your grades every day lets you know what to expect and can help you figure out ways to improve. If we can’t see which classes we need to do better in, how can we be expected to succeed?
Another reason for the change is that the administration thinks students spend too much time worrying about their grades and not enough time focusing on improvement and actually learning. But the fact is that grades are one of the main components of high school and are a huge part of the college process. If we don’t know how the grades that get put in affect our class averages, we could have a totally different perspective of how well we’re doing.
There are a multitude of problems that arise from not being sure of your grades all the time. One example is the issue of exam exemption. Since students have so many things to study for during midterms and finals, students who are already doing well and have an A or above can exempt that exam. People teetering on the edge of an A and an A- don’t know if they need to improve to be able to exempt the exam. There is also the problem of seniors not knowing what grades are sent to the colleges they plan on applying to.
While it is true that students are allowed to go to their teachers and ask to see their grade, this is tedious and most students don’t do this. Even when students do go to their teachers, many students have been told to calculate their grades themselves.
To see how students felt about the topic, I asked around to get their opinions:
“I can live with it, but there are people who can’t. It could pressure you (to have the grades up), but then you don’t know how much you need to improve to get where you want to be. You need a goal, you can’t just work aimlessly.”
“It puts more stress on the day the grades get revealed. There’s no way to avoid the stress of the numbers.”
“We don’t get into college based on how much effort we put in, we get into college based on our grades, so we should be able to see the grades we’re getting. The numbers also don’t always reflect our effort. Plus, the main stress isn’t even always the grade itself, it’s the amount of work we have.”
“If they don’t want us to worry about numbers, why do they give us grades in the first place?”
While it was difficult to find a student that did like the new system, a few I talked to could see the benefits.
“I don’t like it, but I could see the benefit for some people, so you’re not immediately stressing when you log in (to PowerSchool),”Anonymous Sophmore
Overall, the grade system hasn’t had the best response from the student body, and the statistics don’t lie: a survey sent out by a student council representative said that out of 180 responses, 93.9% of students would rather have their grade averages posted all the time. With such compelling evidence, it’s hard to ignore the issue: the Upper School is not happy about this new policy.