Adopt Semesters

Daphne Kaplan, Senior In-Depth and Design Editor

As I sat in the Cardo earlier this week during Community Time, I noticed numerous students fret about how terrible their quarter grades are and about their growing frustration that only a few small assignments determined their quarter grades. 

It is no secret that CESJDS has rigorous and competitive academics that often induce stress. To manage the stress in the past, the administration has sought to lessen work or give more breaks throughout the day. However, this is not always effective. Rather, the administration seems to neglect a significant culprit of student’s stress: following a quarter system.  

Abiding by a quarter system teaches students to micromanage their work. Given that grades are not finalized until the end of a quarter, there is never an equal point distribution amid a quarter. This means that a six-point assignment could define one’s quarter grade, even if it is only a few points, yet would not have any significant impact on the year grade. At that given moment, however, students often become alarmed upon seeing a three out of six or see a large rift in their grade and do whatever they can to improve their grade immediately. 

While receiving a poor grade may motivate students to study harder or read more closely, it also instructs students to nitpick at their work and stress themselves out over striving to improve, which thereby teaches students to not focus on the overall picture. Quarter grades falsely signal to students that every grade impacts one’s GPA or impacts their presence in class, when, in retrospect, is not true.

Students’ belief that quarters can track one’s progress is far-fetched. They can only see their progress at the end of the quarter when there is an equal distribution between points. By then, it is often too late to analyze their small mistakes to quickly improve for the next quarter. 

I cannot count the number of times I have heard the words, “quarter grades do not matter in terms of transcripts” ring through the JDS halls. If that is the case, then why do students work themselves up about an insignificant and incomplete grade? 

It is time for JDS to follow a semester system only. Not only will this provide a clear understanding of one’s progress in a course by seeing grades factor into a larger grade pool, but this will eliminate unnecessary and often misleading stress. Quarter grades do not matter; they only factor into semester and year grades. Quarter grades do not provide an accurate indication of students’ progress, are more harmful to one’s mental health and have minimal significance, so why add unnecessary stress to students’ lives?