The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

on the ‘A’ grade

photo by Manal Salim
photo by Manal Salim


Freshman Skyeler Custard
“Most of the time I do get proud when I get an A.”
“Algebra last year [was the hardest A I achieved.] My math class was just hard. [It was challenging because] my teacher never talked to me. I would have questions and I would raise my hand and she would skip right past me. [The easiest A was] Algebra again, but this year algebra lab is really easy. The teacher explains what we’re doing a lot.”
“[A’s] are important but at the same time, people put a little too much stress on themselves to get that, because that’s what we’ve been taught. That it controls all of our future and what we do.”

Senior Jared Reid
“I think [I’m proud when I get an A], yeah.”
“[The hardest A I achieved] was in math. I really don’t know [what’s so challenging] but it’s complicated.”
“I think [the A grade] is overvalued. I think it should be lowered to 84 [percent] and above. I would ask [people who disagree with my opinion] if they are happy with what they are getting now.”

Senior Lindsey States
“[An A] is good, it’s something you strive for.”
“[Hardest A was] in Precalc [because] it was harder math concepts than I was used to, or what I had in years prior.”
“[Easiest A was] Civics [because] there wasn’t necessarily a lot of work and it was pretty basic learning the targets.”

Sophomore Davynne Bunton
“[An A grade] is something that you have to work hard for.”
“Physics [was my hardest A]. Just all of the work and a lot of the assignments we had to do outside of school, but it was easy at the end.”
“English [was my easiest A]. We mostly did reading and had to give feedback throughout the year. We had lots of assignments though, they were tough but I got used to it.”
“It’s good to strive for 100 percent.”

Sophomore Lucas Clements
“I guess it just means a job well done. It just feels good to get one.”
“Honestly, I don’t know [what my easiest A is]. I haven’t gotten an A in a while.”
“Math assignments [are my easiest A’s] just Mathxl because it’s so easy. You can get three tries to do it.”

Sophomore Macy Montie
“[An A grade means] that I’ve done good.”
“Physics [was my most challenging A because of] the work.”
“Interior design [was my easiest A] because it’s something I like.”

Junior Taylor Young
“I feel like [getting an A] is an expectation but it’s also something I’m proud of if I achieve it. It’s sometimes very difficult to achieve an A, so I think if I make it to that point of getting an A, it’s really rewarding and it shows all the hard work that I put into it has paid off.”
“There was a very brief time in middle school where I got an A in math. That was the last A in math I ever saw but it made me feel really good.”
“[The easiest A] was in English or in writing. They’re my easiest classes because they’re my most enjoyed classes.”

Senior Mariella Gill
“An A grade is more of a goal. Something that some people can achieve or obtain. Obviously I’d be really happy if I got an A, that is what people go for. I also think that people shouldn’t obsessively go for an A, B’s are also good. There’s a balance that should happen.”
“[The hardest A I achieved] would be my Chemistry class. I was failing that horribly and it was the final. I just studied, studied, studied and got an A for that, but it was an A for the test, not an A for the grade.”
“Easiest would be any math test, because math comes pretty easy to me.”


Angela Jacquin, mathematics
“In the math world I like to think that the grade you are given reflects the amount of the content you know.  So if you have an A, then you know 95-100 percent of the content from that course.”
“I do think it is okay to strive for 100 percent, but I also think not getting there is okay. It just means you are still learning and have some more to go before you have mastered the information. When the emphasis gets taken off the learning and knowledge and gets put on the grade no one wins. As a teacher I much prefer the student who might make mistakes but just wants to learn how to do it correctly and comes in to ask ‘how and why’ then the student who simply says ‘I want blank grade, what do I need to do to get it?”

Greg Irwin, social studies
“An A means that students have mastered the course curriculum’s content and skills. It also means that the student has completed the necessary in-class and homework assignments to be successful on the assessments and tests in the course.”
“[We should and shouldn’t strive for 100 percent.] Yes, [we should] in that most adults know from experience that there is a difference between success in one’s life and career and a 100 percent in any given high school course. For example, some people struggled with essay writing or hated reading novels for classes, and, therefore didn’t earn 100 percent in an English course, as a result, but they can still have a successful and fulfilling careers. The further challenge for high school teachers is that we only see the student in our course, so it’s hard for us to see the ‘complete picture’ of a student. As I get to know students, I learn that they are a talented musician, artist, athlete, or are working 30 hours per week. So if they are underachieving in the my class, the reason could be the other demands on their time or simply that they are not all the interested in my course or they don’t have the time to get a 100 percent. Another example that is common, is a student being ‘at level’ in the skills, in an AP course. A student could also be that they come into my class being an excellent writer, but struggle with multiple choice exams. So they could be writing at the college level, but have the multiple-choice ability of a 9th grader. The problem is that the exams that I give are writing at the college level. Even if the student improves two years’ in their abilities, they are still two years behind where the exam asks the student to be. Hence, it’s unrealistic that this particular student, who is very bright and gifted, but will be unable to get a 100 percent or probably anything higher than an A-. So part of my job is to communicate to that student that my class is very difficult, and that an A- does not equal failure. I also want to celebrate students’ improving their skills throughout the year through revisions of most assignments that students complete.”
“I try to help students to redefine success in the larger context of their life. We each get to define success means to us; a tiny percentage of students can achieve a 4.0, so that’s unrealistic for 98 percent of RBHS students. Being a kind, empathetic, well-rounded person means a lot more to me, even as a teacher, than a 100 percent. I’d love for all of my students to get A’s, but I’d rather them focus on being excellent students and people, recognizing that grades are only one piece of that.”

Neal Blackburn, social studies
“ know it’s a language thing, but there is certainly a perception that teachers ‘give’ grades, yet the belief of teachers is that students ‘earn’ grades that they see on an IPR or grade card. When a student earns an A, it says to me that they understand the material that was presented to them and essentially mastered it. In the studies department it might mean they are proficient writers, among other things. It may also reflect the level of effort put into the class itself, so the comprehension and mastery of material combined with effort may very well be the reason for the A that is earned.”
“Due to the way higher education is set up, it is difficult to simply discount letter grades because of the dollar amount that may be awarded in scholarships for a college education. However, I think it is very important to strive for excellence understanding we all begin with a different baseline. The baseline for some starts in a different place than others, and if excellence is in the form of a grade less than an A, then so be it. Who is to say that student didn’t actually outperform their counterpart who may have earned a 97 percent. Having had one daughter graduate from high school and another one in the midst of her junior year, our household puts the most value in taking classes that will be a significant challenge in order to better equip them for college and the workforce challenges. If it means sacrificing an A in a slightly easier class in order to deal with the rigor of a class where earning a B requires a greater amount of effort and work, then I am more pleased with the latter.”

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  • A

    Amanda KurukulasuriyaFeb 2, 2018 at 11:50 am

    For me, As are extremely important. But at the same time, I’m not proud when I get one. For me A is just where I need to be, and if I’m not getting an A then I’m not working hard enough and I need to get it together. So far, Calc BC has been my hardest A. Well, A- really. It was my first A- and it was extremely disappointing for me.

  • R

    Rachael EricksonJan 23, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Having the teacher’s input was really fascinating, because I usually feel like they don’t totally grasp the pressure many students place on themselves to achieve straight As. Great work!