Are Grades Detrimental to Students’ Health?

A student studies for hours on end in preparation for a big exam worth a huge percentage of their grade. They binge videos pertaining to their subject, taking notes on every detail as they process the information. All this preparation and studying suddenly feels like a waste as the student receives a D on their test.


Photo from Pexels. Student feeling stressed due to school work.

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 After getting a bad grade on a test, rather than focusing on what to improve on, students stress about how to bring it up to keep their perfect A. This unhealthy relationship with grades negatively impacts students’ mental health by causing them to fixate on getting good grades, as opposed to prioritizing the content itself.

A study done in 2002 discovered that 80% of the surveyed students base their self-worth on academic performances. This proves that students’ mental health is tied to their grades is a universal problem. By tethering one’s sense of self-worth solely to academic performances and grades, one failed test or project can result in a serious drop in confidence, which may discourage students from putting forth effort on future assignments in that class. 

Mental health conditions can also develop as a result of low grades. Depression and anxiety are among the most prevalent mental health concerns among youth and have been frequently linked to academic performance in adolescents. The effects of low grades, especially to a student who has studied the material, are detrimental to students’ health. Conditions such as depression or anxiety will impact the students’ daily life and can even cause them to feel helpless.

Although some sort of grading format is needed to measure students’ knowledge and ability to understand information, there should be less stressful ways of finding this that will actually encourage students to learn the information.