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Improving student mental health: let's stop focusing on grades.

It is obvious to see that the American education system is very outdated and is in need of some major reform. Why is this?

There are many things that can be fixed in the American education system. Students are placed into grades based on age, not by what they know and how they can learn. This sets up many other failures in the education system. One of them is the grading system. Grades cause many mental issues to teenagers that can cause issues later in life. Academic stress can increase chances of anxiety and depression in adulthood and during college. In 2015, a study was conducted by NYU that found that 41% of males and 60% of females in college had higher than average stress levels. Staying up late to finish homework and stressing about tests at about 7:30 in the morning can be mentally and physically exhausting. Many students begin to base their worth on their grades which is also a leading factor of anxiety and stress. Parents also look for good grades. How we do in school as students, can depend on what we do outside of school. Many parents don’t realize how exhausting school can be. If they see their children getting bad grades, they may not allow their children to go to plans they had made before they were grounded. When these things topple on top of each other, it's hard to see the light of day and be positive. 76% of students are always worried about their grades, and 75% are always stressed because of their grades.

How can we change the grading system to be less detrimental to students?

1.) Encourage and embrace participation

A lot of kids may not do as well on paper as they can while interacting with other students. Participation as a grade can help students overall in terms of grades, and confidence in the classroom. It’s a simple grade booster that can overall take lots of unnecessary stress on students.

2.) Let students redo work

It is taught that making mistakes is the only way to learn and get better, but oftentimes students don't have the ability to do better if the assignment cant be redone or corrected. Allowing corrections boosts grades and allows students to see what exactly they may need help with.

3.) Focus less on numbers and letters

Many school districts and even colleges have tried alternative grading systems and have been very successful. It is proven that grading systems that focus less on letter and number grades and big tests and more on participation and participatory have higher rates of productivity.



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