The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


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Breaking free from the comparison trap

The dangers of comparing grades
Eric Feng
Sharing grades after a test is a common trend among students everywhere, however its effects on students can be both positive and negative.

You walk into your classroom after a test, eagerly awaiting results, only to find that you have fallen short of your expectations. The moment the teacher passes you your test, your eyes immediately dart around the room, searching for your classmates’ scores. The pressure to perform and the fear of falling behind is palpable, and it’s at this moment that the negative effects of comparing test results come into play.

From gas prices to tournament performances, comparison is a natural human tendency. However, when it comes to test and exam results among students, this practice takes on a more sinister and potentially damaging tone.While some argue that comparing grades is a way to gauge performance and identify areas for improvement, the reality is that constant comparison has a devastating impact on a student’s mental health and well-being.

“If you feel that you’re in a cutthroat competitive environment, where you might go in every day and feel like you’re not as good as everybody else, that can be debilitating to you as a student,” Principal Dr. Bonitatibus said. 

This effect has been observed in studies as well. According to an American Psychological Association survey, students who regularly compare their grades to those of their friends are more likely to feel stressed, anxious, and have lower self-esteem.

Those who believe comparing test results is beneficial say it provides a way for students to assess their performance and find out where they need to improve. For example, a student who consistently performs better than their peers may feel motivated to maintain their high standards, while a student who consistently performs worse may be motivated to work harder and improve their grades.

Despite this argument, the negative effects of comparing test results are far more damaging and wide-reaching, and outweigh the positive ones. The solution, therefore, is to encourage students to focus on their own progress and development, rather than comparing themselves to others.

One approach to this is to urge students to adopt a growth mindset, which encourages them to view challenges as chances for personal development rather than as threats to their self-worth. By adopting a growth mindset, students are liberated from the burden of constant comparison to their peers and may instead concentrate on their own growth and development.

From the February 2023 Issue of tjTODAY

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