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Chadwick School - 26800 S Academy Drive, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA - (310) 377-1543

Opinions

Volume 66 Number 6

Why I don't share my grades

by Arianna Menzelos - 2016-04-27


During the first semester, I, along with my fellow Round Square delegates and members of Peer Mentors, proposed a new initiative regarding grade sharing in the Upper School. We noticed an unnecessarily competitive atmosphere within the grades, and we wanted to find a solution to combat it. I apologize for any miscommunication with the initiative, which I have become aware of through listening to perspectives of other members of the community.

I want to take this chance to explain the argument more clearly. I value this initiative because of how much I appreciate the relationships I have made at Chadwick the past three years.

Let me first paint a common A-F period scenario: You and your class get a test back that was challenging and worth a large percentage of your overall grade. You get a B grade, which you feel confident about, but you then ask your friend what she got.

You pose this question to your friend for only one reason: to find out if her grade was lower or higher than yours. You secretly hope that it was lower. You are not asking her because you want to make sure she’s happy with the grade she got, as you are never that curious about her grades on tests that you have not taken.

I am familiar with this scenario because I have chosen to share my grades multiple times before, so I’m definitely not a flawless example. This means, though, that I know what it feels like to be on both the giving and receiving end. I choose now to keep my grades private...not because I want to live on some moral high ground, but because I want to treat myself and my peers with as much fairness and kindness as possible.

I was having a much more stressful high school experience as a freshman than I am now as a junior, all because I used to be constantly aware that there was someone who was doing better than I was in a class. I belittled my achievements daily. I didn’t feel motivated; I felt deflated.

I understand that some people share grades to see how they really did on an assignment. Chadwick classes are challenging, and sometimes a B is really like an A. Understanding one’s grade in the context of the rest of the class can be helpful, but understanding just how much better or worse in science you are than your lab partner tells you nothing statistically valuable. Class averages, therefore, provide a helpful and more meaningful way to understand one’s true level of success in a course.

Some have concerns that this initiative limits their freedom of speech. I’d like to reemphasize, as we said from the beginning, that this has never been a school rule. One can choose to read this article, disagree with it and still be a rule-abiding Chadwick student and a good person. Test talk is merely a norm that we would like to reverse. One can choose whether or not to participate in the new norm, but we brought this to the Upper School because we know that it is much easier to take part in the status quo than to break school norms in stressful situations.

More important than anything else, though, we care about each other at this school, and it hurts me to see that many of us (including myself!) don’t feel as confident in our accomplishments as we should. Our overinflation of the importance of our grades--just small parts of each of our identities--could decrease if we just talked about them a little less.

Ultimately, we want to be kind to one another. Even if it may not hurt everyone’s feelings when grades are shared, it hurts some of our peers. And that in itself should be a good reason for us to be a little more thoughtful.


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Article Keywords:

initiative, grade, school, want, because, much, class


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