On the street
I think grades are important because I think if you work hard in school, then that reflects what you can do in life.
There are those students who strive for the perfect score: a 4.0. There are others who think a single letter or number will dictate how smart they are. For high school teachers and counselors, the feeling is a combination of both.
Lori Stussie, a counselor at Lawrence High School, sees kids who are extreme perfectionists and students who need help with management skills. But she says making the grade isn’t the end all, be all for students.
“The letter grade itself isn’t the most important aspect of the course,” she says. “It’s what you learned while you’re in the class. If you can leave a class feeling prepared for the next step in your life, then you’ve gotten what you needed to get from the class.”
Stu Strecker, who teaches German and Spanish at Free State High School, doesn’t give many homework assignments or tests. He says while individual assignments can indicate how they’re doing, the overall grade doesn’t always tell the whole story.
“(Some students) know that they have a certain level of the language that’s good and they’re happy with that level, so they may not have the best grade,” he says.
Some teachers notice that kids are obsessed with knowing their grade.
“There’s some kids that are up here every week checking their grades,” says Charlie Lauts, an engineering and drafting teacher at LHS.
Grades do have an impact when it comes to college and life.
“I think grades are important because it’s going to give you a basis of your success later on,” Lauts says.
But a report card isn’t the whole package.
“Grades are important for colleges, but it’s only one aspect,” Stussie says. “It’s also important that students are well-rounded and they can show that through involvement in activities. A lot of colleges weigh a students’ involvement as heavily as they do grades.”