Competition is a big part of high school, and while it has its good points, it usually leads to some messy situations. For some students at Gordon High, competition for grades and popularity leads to big pressure. In fact, the novel suggests that students are open to The Wave because they see it as a relief from the competitive atmosphere of school. Since the story ends when The Wave is dissolved, we don't get to see how students feel about school competition after the experiment. What do you think happens after the events of The Wave are over? Will things change, or will high school always just be a competitive place?
The Wave exposes the issue of the competitive atmosphere at Gordon High, an atmosphere that isn't doing anyone any good.
We can all agree that The Wave didn't work out so well. But it did succeed in one way: it showed students how poorly they'd be treating their classmate Robert. They're sure to change their attitude from here on out.