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Filed under Opinion

Students under too much academic pressure

A+student+tries+to+make+sense+of+the+immense+amount+of+studying+ahead+of+her.+Increased+workloads+and+higher+expectations+will+lead+to+intolerable+amounts+of+academic+pressure+at+Sunset+and+schools+all+over+the+world.
A student tries to make sense of the immense amount of studying ahead of her. Increased workloads and higher expectations will lead to intolerable amounts of academic pressure at Sunset and schools all over the world.

A student tries to make sense of the immense amount of studying ahead of her. Increased workloads and higher expectations will lead to intolerable amounts of academic pressure at Sunset and schools all over the world.

Photo Credit: riversidedentalblog.com

Photo Credit: riversidedentalblog.com

A student tries to make sense of the immense amount of studying ahead of her. Increased workloads and higher expectations will lead to intolerable amounts of academic pressure at Sunset and schools all over the world.

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As students at Sunset and in high schools all across the world begin to think about their educational future, the pressure to perform can sometimes be overwhelming.

Are students of this day and age put under too much academic pressure? Yes, and as a result of this pressure, students begin to think of themselves as nothing more than a test score, and they lose sight of the actual purpose of school: to learn.

Because students know that the only thing that affects their progress in school is that final letter grade on an assignment, they begin to stress the result instead of the process of learning. “Letter grades or numeric scores, being evaluative in nature and carrying a notion of social comparison, tend to turn students’ attention away from the task and toward the self, thus leading to negative effects on performance,” according to ets.org. Not only do students simply care about the reward or punishment of a grade, they can begin to have negative thoughts about their ability to perform if they do not live up to their expectations, and end up doing worse as a result of this fear and insecurity.

Students want to get that A so desperately that they stifle their creativity and choose the easy way out simply to get a better grade. They “come to prefer easier tasks – not because they’re lazy, but because they’re rational. After all, if the point is to get an A, your odds are better if you avoid taking intellectual risks,” says author Alfie Kohn (www.education.com).

Another source of academic strain on students is that college admissions seem to be looking for students who excel in every category when it really shouldn’t matter how a student does in academic areas that do not interest them. Competition has become so difficult lately that many colleges can afford to accept only those 4.0 students and irrationally set the goal as perfection. College-bound students are pressed so hard to be well rounded that they end up spending time in areas that they might not even end up studying.

Some researchers believe that academic pressure should positively affect students because they provide motivation. They are incorrect because grades may provide motivation, but not positive motivation, for the student only begins to care about their final score instead of their learning process and feel worthless without that desired A. In a study in 1986, Butler and Nisan concluded that “grades emphasized quantitative aspects of learning, depressed creativity, fostered fear of failure, and weakened students’ interest.”

The pressure to perform is mounting on students who hope to pursue education outside of college. They have come to disregard the value of learning and only focus on their final score, which really contradicts the purpose of school itself. To get the final score they hope for, students take the most simple options to get a better grade instead of taking academic risks. When they don’t get the final score that they were hoping for, many students become insecure about their abilities when both failures and successes should be celebrated because they are both a process of learning. Finally, they waste time trying to be perfect in subjects that they aren’t passionate about. To ease the load on students, teachers should give them opportunities to try experiments or write essays where they are simply given feedback, not graded, so that students aren’t afraid to take risks to further their learning.

 

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Students under too much academic pressure