HS Insider

Opinion: School grades are overrated

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Educated people throughout history like Thomas Jefferson, Aristotle and many others were not given “grades” in school. Now, in a world where college acceptance rates are shrinking, good grades are more vital than ever.

What used to be a major accomplishment is now a basic expectation among all students, and many high school students are feeling pressure each year to maintain their academic success. 

While it is true grades are of the utmost importance in determining your future and ranking, they are not all there is to life. Grades do not determine a student’s intelligence or capability, nor do they do define a person. It will certainly open the doors to more opportunities, excellent schools and well-paying jobs, if you don’t actually learn the material you’re studying, good grades won’t get you as far as you think. Focusing on earning good grades doesn’t mean you’re focused on learning. 

A friend and classmate of mine is the perfect example of this.

We’re both freshmen in high school and share the same math teacher. We recently just finished our finals. We both studied really hard, and she got a 95% on her final which raised her overall math grade to 95%.

However, the day before we went back to school from winter break, she texted me saying how she’s not ready for school and she already forgot everything. 

This just shows how students study for the sake of a grade and not to learn for themselves. What’s the point of getting a high grade if you don’t remember what you learned?

In addition, while doing our homework together, she uses the app “Photomath” on her phone to solve problems instead of doing them on her own. She might have become “successful” in terms of grades, getting all these problems right but does she really gain anything when she cheated on some problems?

Does she actually understand the material that was taught? What would be the point of the grade, in the long run? 

This doesn’t just apply to my friend.

In a TODAY story, students talked about how they’re cheating on tests to get good grades now that most schooling is online. Websites like Chegg and Quizlet give students most of the answers to test questions.

For example, one student interviewed by TODAY, Andrew, said a lot of his friends are looking to get answers just for points. 

Grades have become the end goal, with many students asking whether or not information given to them will be on the test instead of actually learning and absorbing the material for personal enrichment or future practical use. 

However, grades are still a reward to those who work hard in school and put in all their efforts. It is heartwarming to see student’s gleeful smiles when they see A’s on papers handed back to them. Grades are very important if you plan on going to college.

The grade point average is one factor that colleges may consider when they decide to accept or deny a student. However, you won’t get very far with just grades. You can have the highest grades in your class during school, but outside of school, most employers just look at what degree you have, your prior experience and your personality.

If a student has the required degree, has prior experience on the job and a pleasant personality, then they would also bring that work ethic to the company and do their job properly. Grades are important to a degree, but they are all a small part of a bigger picture. 

It is clear that grades are overrated in life. Yes, while they do impact your life and future to some degree, they are not all that defines a person. But earning good grades does not mean you’re focused on learning. They do not measure how hard a student works in school, their work ethic or effort level. Grades are very overrated and should not be all there is to life. 

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