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.
Teens are under immense pressure to join college. Reason being everyone expects them to perform very well in every discipline which may not be the case for some.
Everyone has different abilities and when one is under pressure to deliver especially in school, the feeling can be frustrating. Parents want the best for their children and so do the teachers and the society in general. Many admire joining the top colleges, followed by a lucrative job in this competitive economy. To meet these expectations, teens must perform extremely well in school. The parents will put immense pressure on them to earn good grades, no matter the cost.
To add on this, the teen has more than enough to juggle on daily basis including extracurricular activities, loads of homework and a social life to cover. All in the name of getting good grades. Study shows that the intense pressure may backfire and the result is social, physical and emotional stress.
Increased Worries About Keeping Up
Before the teen joins college, the excitement of meeting other teenagers is high. Of course keeping in mind that he/she will meet the right company to share stories, play together and other activities. But, school comes with more choices and option that the teenager expects. There is more work with great demands.
For the first time in their life they have to worry about grades and not when they next meal will be. This is where they have to choose a path before joining the next level either college, trade school or career. Remember, they are in a competitive environment hence the need to feel the pressure since everyone is working hard to achieve the same goal as you.
With the daily activities happening in their life, they are anxious to keep up. For some even a simple task of getting prepared to attend class is a challenge. The anxiety is accelerated by the workload of daily assignments, projects that have to be submitted on time and finally the kid has to bring materials to school.
After school, the teenager is exhausted and once they get home, there is little time to do homework and study. Students who lack proper organization and time management may become overwhelmed and fall behind.
Fear of Failure among the Teenagers
No one want to fail in academics and so does the teens preparing to join college. As more pressure to perform builds up, many teens start to worry if they will ever succeed. This is common to teens who have experienced learning issues and fear that even if they study hard, they may end up failing in their test. They are afraid of being confronted by their teacher in school and the parents at home. And the thought of not making it to the next level comes into play. This pressure becomes too much to a point of frustrating the teens in school.
Feeling Stressed and Anxiety
It is unfortunate that most teens collapse under too much pressure from teachers and parents. Some probable consequences include cheating, sleep deprivation, worrying, eating disorders, loss of interests in hobbies, burnout or withdrawal from family and friends. Stress and anxiety can also occur. In teens, it is hard to identify cases of anxiety since they may not say anything at all or just complain about physical symptoms. Some may experience nightmares and other may refuse to go to school.
Lack of Self-Image
For teenagers, being in school means more and more tests and about four to five hours of concentration doing homework every night. The result can be negative according to a study featured in the Journal of Child and Family Studies. The research discovered that parent who put a lot pressure on their children by over-managing their lives may end up having cases of depression, low self-esteem and competence. In actual sense, the parent may think they are actually supporting the teen but the parenting style end up ruining the self-confidence of the teenager.
Teens try hard to fit in a particular social situation which can be stressing especially if they don’t fit in. They want to be popular and have as many friends and followers as possible. At times they may find themselves in dangerous situations where they have to make tough decisions. Fellow teens may have planned a house party and the temptation to drink and smoke becomes high. They have to make a decision whether to drink, smoke or not. Such decision can be stressful.
Well, the fact remains that teens may experience a lot pressure to go to college due to high expectations set by the parents. The result is increased worries, stress, anxiety, lack of self-confidence since they don’t want to fail.