Ask any AP student how they feel about the GPA system and they’ll get that anxious look on their face–like they have forgotten something important.
Most likely though, these students haven’t forgotten anything: they’re just scared because the last thing they want is to lose their A in a class. But why are grades so important?
According to Sheri Blackwood, a counselor here at BHS, grades matter because “there has to be some accountability between a student and a teacher, some way of measuring learning.”
If we didn’t have grades at all, students probably wouldn’t attend classes, she says.
“Grades are your payment for the work done,” Blackwood added, explaining that students need the motivation to get their assignments in on time.
Another reason the GPA system is important is that universities need it. On this subject Blackwood shared that, “it’s a standardized way of measuring kids’ knowledge base.”
When asked how the GPA system makes them feel, seniors Cameron Tate and Kayleigh Abbott expressed a desire to see their grades stay at a high level. Tate commented that the worst thing for her is “the red and green arrows on Powerschool that tell you when your grade’s going up or down–especially the red ones, those give me anxiety.”
Although Tate laughed as she said this, you can tell she’s not kidding.
Tate is also the president of BHS’s National Honor Society, which has a minimum GPA requirement of 3.7.
Kayleigh added that when she thinks about GPA she immediately thinks about “keeping A’s and the two words ‘four point.’”
Blackwood, who deals with stressed students on a daily basis, says she thinks one of the saddest things about GPA is when students give up a class they like simply because it is negatively affecting their GPA.
“Even though they might like the material and they know it might benefit them, but because of the grade or the effect it might have on their GPA they want to drop it,” she says.
Blackwood adds that when she asks students if they would stay in the class if the GPA didn’t matter “99 percent of the kids go ‘for sure I would want to stay with it, I’m just worried about how it will effect my GPA.’”
Although Blackwood is frustrated with our current system, she doesn’t see a natural or easy solution to it. Tate and Abbott agree.
The advice that they give to their peers is to be sure to talk to their teachers, and let them know where you are at–because the majority of them are more lenient than they seem at first.