Courtesy of Educational Connections
Grades Are Important and Students Shouldn’t Let Themselves Fail
Many students struggle with failing grades at some point in high school. How can students find the motivation to care?
Failing any class is not a good idea in the long run. Teachers agree that credit recovery is more work than passing the class in the first place.
According to counselors, roughly 50% of Alta students fail at least one class during their four years of high school, and chances are even higher it takes place during their freshman year. However, many students don’t realize how important their grades are, so they don’t do the work required for them to do well.
Assignments, homework, and even in class participation determine a student’s grade in each class. Not doing classwork, homework, and not participating overall, multiple absences from school lead to a student falling behind causing them to play catch-up at the end of each quarter.
It can be easy to fall behind in schoolwork, but once students get behind, it can be hard to catch up. Kids who neglect their grades give themselves a harder time in school than it would be if they just did their schoolwork during class or at home.
“It is easier to stay on top of your schoolwork than having to go talk to a teacher before or after school and play ‘Catch up’,” Counselor Christine Astle said.
Failing a class causes problems with future classes because students will have to do a make up class to earn credits for graduation. If students fail too many classes it can prevent them from graduating on time or at all.
“Earning credit the first time around is easier according to English teacher Denise Ferguson. “I am always surprised when students choose not to do a few simple assignments to get a passing grade,” she said. “They usually elect to do a packet or attend summer school, but in the end, they will spend much more time to earn the same credit. It’s crazy.”
However, many Freshmen don’t realize how important their grades are in their first year. Astle assures students that “The first year of high school really does matter because it sets the rest of your high school career.” Freshman year sets out the playing field for the next three years of high school, so it is one of the most important.
Even if students realize the importance of grades, some still struggle with classes due to poor management, distractions, or after school activities and just not having time to do homework. In some cases students just don’t care to learn or don’t have the motivation to.
Educational Consultant Dr. Katie Azevedo, writing for schoolhabits.com cites chronic procrastination, motivation, and weak study habits and skills as factors that lead students to fail classes. “Procrastination leads to rushed and sloppy work, and according to actual cognitive science, it’s a nearly impossible way to study because it doesn’t make time for spaced repetition,” she said. Students need to know “how to study.”
When the students don’t pay attention in class or don’t do the work, they miss out on what they need to learn in order to pass. “When students don’t learn the material, the next level is harder due to gaps in learning, making the class difficult,” Astle said.
Alta High School has resources to help students with grades, such as the after school or advisory tutoring in the library. Students can always ask their teachers, either through email or in person, about what they can do to raise their grades. Teachers want to work with students to make a plan and get their grades back up.
However, it can be hard to motivate students to care about their grades. Teachers and counselors use treats, soar cards, and many other things in order to motivate students. This extra boost of motivation can help many students find the energy go to class more often and do their school work.
Most teachers and staff at Alta try their best to give the best opportunities to students and the chances to learn, grow, and finally, to graduate and become part of society.