High Grades and Credibility
Research has confirmed that the grades you received in elementary school — a GPA — remained valid throughout college, regardless of your academic reputation and grades earned in subsequent years. What can be learned from this?
High grades, often excellent grades, establish an important reputation of status throughout your school and in society. This is partly why we see, in some towns and cities, appearance-based housing still dominates school demographics. Parents still protest high stakes tutoring and used to listen to their children complain of their school days of high school when they received better grades than those who were just as hard working and yet were not promoted to the next grade. Perhaps your daughter has been docked points recently in school from the relentless evaluations that begin as early as elementary school.
Next month, my daughter’s school will administer the popular Aspire test to 11-year-olds all over this country in preparation for the new Common Core standards introduced in 2011 to reduce social and socio-economic disparities among students. I eagerly await my daughter’s scores, but one must wonder how her score is being assessed. Does your child receive, or do you have, feedback, such as a letter, at the time of, or within a year of, the test or other academic assessment that helps your child understand and, for example, recover his or her success?
There is certainly no lack of literature on the emotional impact of grades and academic grade passage on young people. Adolescents and young adults who suffer intense negative grade memories are more likely to suffer anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and other emotional issues. Even the term “resilience” can be overused and at times seemingly self-serving and spurious to the actual cause of problem resilience — intrinsic strength. Resilience has to do with the ability to thrive in the midst of major challenges, hardship, hardship and challenge.
Depression can in part be related to low thinking, low self-esteem, and the overly complex nature of concepts of “high” and “low” to teenagers. Which can leave high school guidance counselors, teachers, parents, and those employed by educational, faith-based, and community groups in the struggle to determine when it is best to intervene and whether trying to overcome depression with medication is a truly effective and acceptable course of action.
Over the course of the next few years, students and parents will make life-changing decisions and choices over test results. We must consider those choices and decisions through the eyes of the individual at each point in time. It is important that the youth being assessed view his or her results. In high school, too often bullying is still viewed as part of “secondary education” without the students even understanding what bullying is or the reason for its intensification, let alone that bully behavior can manifest itself in suicides. Students are treated as invisible and as expendable while the school system and academic system decides whose priorities count. How do we protect and encourage children when the grades are so clearly seen as a reflection of important character traits and values?