The Gunnery's Student Newspaper

A Guide to Understanding Your Academic Merit

By Rain Ji ’19

Don’t you just love the moment right before Academic Merit comes out? Ms. Paulekas has probably given her speech about how to confront your teachers about your scores, imploring you to “ask what could you do to make it better.” The suspense building up to receiving an email from Ms. Paulekas – that very email decides if you get to hang out with your friends in the library for an hour or two; or even worse, if you have to call off all PO dates because it’s time for day time study halls.

When Academic Merit comes out, do you find yourself frustrated because you thought you participated a lot, done the homework and tried hard but didn’t get access to the library for both halves?

If your answer is “yes” to this question, then know that you are not alone. So many people around campus share your feelings. As a senior, let me disperse the myths about what academic merit scores (1-7) actually mean.

Nobody ever receives 7 on their AM unless they have Dr. Wojcik or take private music lessons.

A 6 is also not common. If you somehow managed to get that, congratulations! That means the teacher is super impressed by your achievements, and you probably talk just the right amount in class  to grab the attention of your teacher but not annoy them.

5s show that you are excelling. A 5 means you go to every single extra-help session, do every extra credit assignment and ask tons of questions after you get your tests back, at least according to some faculty. If you have a hard grader, that’s a 7 for you, pat yourself on the back!

4 is not bad. Don’t be discouraged that your friend who takes AP Lang with Dr. Benson has a 6. It’s okay. 4s mean that you are meeting the expectations: being a mediocre student or being a try-hard in a tough grader’s class. Hang in there, because at least you get to come to the library for Karma machine snacks.

3 can mean couple things. It could mean that you forgot to print out your paper once, or the paper had coffee stain on it. Maybe you showed up late to a class because you wanted that second round of chicken nuggets on Thursday.

2 means that something is seriously not right, or maybe your teacher thinks the whole thing is on a 1-3 scale. The former is more common. Maybe you brought food into the class but didn’t share it with your neighbors, or you were caught online shopping, snapchatting or even facetiming someone in class. Technology is bad, come on, we’ve had at least a dozen DOS programmings about that.

1, just like 7, is extremely rare. I think you probably told your teacher something along the lines of “I don’t like this class please let me drop out.” Sit in your advisor’s office and cry about it, then you could switch out. Remember to join a private music lesson or the band, it always helps.

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