Why good students get bad grades

Updated: Nov 21, 2019

Many students experience a shock when they get to AP classes and receive much lower grades on their writing assignments than they did in earlier courses. This is not just a problem for students who struggled in English classes: high-achieving students who earned A’s in their work freshman and sophomore year also can have trouble making the adjustment to more advanced writing tasks. What’s the problem?


Basically, teachers in lower-level humanities courses evaluate their students’ abilities to perform at that level. They also grade students based on whether or not they demonstrate knowledge of the material covered in class, whether that is literature and vocabulary in English class or names, dates, and events in history class. There are also homework grades, class participation grades, etc. Even if the teachers of these classes also focus on teaching actual writing techniques, which is rare, that usually is not a point of emphasis and therefore does not have much of an impact on a student’s final grade. It is, in fact, very easy and very common to get A’s in these classes while demonstrating mastery of everything except advanced (or even basic) academic writing skills.


So students keep getting A’s in English and history courses based on their mastery of the course material, and all along they do very little if anything to develop their writing skills. Eventually, whether it is junior year, senior year, or in college, they are asked to write formal academic essays or papers that require in-depth analysis and a high degree of writing skill. The teachers of these courses have a tremendous amount of material to get through and do not have time to teach students formal academic writing techniques. At this point, students are asked to write in ways that they simply do not know how to, and there is very little opportunity for them to learn so far along in the school system. This creates a great deal of stress for students and can negatively affect their academic lives.


Express Academic Writing Program is designed to fill in the gaps in a student’s writing education and eliminate the stress of not having core writing skills. By teaching students how to write clear, direct, and organized essays, Express provides a solid foundation that allows students to demonstrate their knowledge. Writing tasks only get harder as a student’s academic career goes on, so it’s best to start building the skills that will be needed before it becomes a problem.

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