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A High School Injustice

“I do not give you your grades, you EARN them.” “I am not obligated to grade you on anything.” Every student has heard these phrases at least once during their academic career from a teacher claiming to want nothing short of success for their students. While the idea is admirable, it’s absurd how teachers maintain these ideals while picking and choosing what to actually grade their students on. It’s ridiculous, and here’s why.

High school essentially serves as the barrier between adolescence and adulthood, and the four years we spend learning and practicing various subjects are preparation for what comes next. That, for most students, is college. To achieve the satisfaction of graduating and pursuing a career at a dream university, there is one thing that matters above everything else. Competitive grades. Now here’s the real kicker.

Teachers, despite “wanting the best” for their students, are indirectly sabotaging their students’ chances of achieving their first goal of college by refusing to grade the work they assign.

The entire purpose of our basic grading system is to measure the comprehension and understanding of subjects after they are taught to us, and the hard work that went into learning them in the first place. That being said, doesn’t a teacher’s refusal to grade all of the work they assign render the entire grading system useless? If we’re not being credited for the hours we spend doing work that never gets graded, aren’t we being judged by universities and future prospects from that permanent letter grade that isn’t even an accurate reflection of the time and effort that was spent mastering said skills?

Some teachers make the case that, “Your future isn’t entirely dependent on grades.” While this may be true, the fact of the matter is that we’ve worked towards specific goals that become obstructed by a teacher’s idea of “You’ll take the grade I give you based only on the work I choose to input in the grade book.” How are our futures not dependent on grades when the first thing colleges consider is how well we performed during the four years prior?

So, to the high and mighty teachers who genuinely believe that they’re not obligated to grade the work they assign, yes you are. To claim to want the best for your students yet not take every precaution to ensure that they are being accurately judged on the work they put in is hypocritical and unfair.

Think of the students and their futures before deciding that the scores you refused to put in the grade book were insignificant. Students may mistake this decision as arrogance or just flat-out laziness while it may very well be altruistic, but either way, please put it aside in consideration of the success you convince your students you want for their futures yet unintentionally hinder.

Sincerely, every high school student ever.

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