Our Grading System Creates Stress and Hurts Creativity


Claudia Munoz, Contributor

Many educators argue that the grading system is still efficient in making evident the strengths and weakness of a student, building responsibility, and making passing classes easier.

In reality, the grading system does very little, but create stress and loss of creativity.

Most students that get straight A’s believe that they are talented and smart, while those who get D’s and F’s start to believe that trying in school is useless.

For high school students, grades decide or not they get accepted into the colleges they applied to.

Instead of taking classes that they are interested in and benefit their future careers, students tend to take AP or honors classes to benefit their GPA.

Being slightly stressed has its benefits. It motivates students to be organized and push themselves.

Several students agree that stress helps them strive and drives them to try new things. Jerelyn Garcia, an SRHS senior, admits that having a bit of stress pushes her to do well in school.

“One time I thought I had no homework and I went to bed early. At midnight, I woke up terrified and stressed because I remembered that I forget a single english assignment,” Garcia shared, “I overthought it and thought if I didn’t do it, I’d fail. Immediately-in a groggy state and sleepy state- I woke up and began to furiously work on that single assignment.”

However, whenever a student continuously does not get the grade they hoped for, the room starts spinning. They start to panic, which makes them less efficient.

An overly-tense student affects his or her family too.

Last year, when my father saw me crying due to my overwhelming sensation, he told me, “We know you are smart. Work harder. Don’t be lazy.” Since he works everyday, he is always stressed. He did not want stress to be the reason I give up on school.

Due to the pressure, I could not think clearly and I started to perform poorly in school. My brain would not fully process new information, which lead to low test scores. My parents felt useless when they saw me cry. I stopped talking to them as much. I stopped playing with my younger siblings.

My family’s frowns lead to a period of depression for me.

Caterin Duarte, a SRHS senior, believes that stress due to an overwhelming amount of work causes her to procrastinate. “ Maybe if [the teachers] knew how much work we are given each day, they would try to be more understanding; therefore reducing the stress of the students,” she suggests.

In addition, Garcia and Cindy Tran, another SR senior, stated that grades cause them to overthink and worry a lot about their work.

“In school, it’s hard for me to focus in class because I only get distracted by the thoughts that are making me stressed out. It negatively impacts me since I don’t focus in class and I can’t get any work done,” Tran emphasizes.

Furthermore, the grading system does not encourage students to study for the pursuit of knowledge. By nature, most of us are curious and inquisitive.

In school, we tend to focus primarily on verbal-linguistics and logical-mathematical intelligence. However, many of us are skilled and intelligent in other areas, the other five types of intelligence. For example, spatial intelligence, where the person is aware of their surroundings and are good at remembering images. Also, some of us enjoy music. Knowing how to distinguish different rhythms, timbre, and tones is also considered as intellectual knowledge.

Grades force students to think in a specific way. We have learned to stop questioning the world, to go with the flow, and that there’s only one right answer to each question.

Anything we do differently is considered a mistake.

On July 10th, 2012, Dr. KH Kim wrote “The Creativity Crisis in America.” Based on scores from the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, Kim’s research reveals that “children have become less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, and less likely to see things from a different angle.”

Instead of being open-minded and curious, many of us have lost interest in learning and cherishing valuable information.