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Grades and Student Intelligence

From an early age, human beings are indoctrinated into tracking their own personal capabilities and growth through standardized grading scales and examinations. What becomes dangerous in adult years is the fact that many simply accept this as the only unit of measurement to gauge what can or cannot be accomplished.

By Arbiter WritingPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 5 min read
Students stress more over studying than they do most other things in their lives. Photo by Tim Gouw | Source: Unsplash

From an early age, human beings are indoctrinated into tracking their own personal capabilities and growth through standardized grading scales and examinations. What becomes dangerous in adult years is the fact that many simply accept this as the only unit of measurement to gauge what can or cannot be accomplished.

Instead of assembling resumes and cover letters full of real-world experience when attempting to acquire new jobs, many young professionals will utilize their achievements in academia as a way to impress new employers. Unfortunately, this has proven to fail by comparison in the majority of cases.

Grades != Intelligence

Grades do not sufficiently represent intelligence because they are not an accurate reflection of one’s own talents, abilities, critical thinking skills, and passions.

Principal lecturer of Arizona State University David Thomas stated that of the various theories of intelligence that exist, the entity theory describes it as a stable constant that persists through one’s life from start to finish. Conversely, others believe that one becomes more intelligent over time.

However, it is not through the acquisition of generalized knowledge that fails to pertain to the needs, ambitions, goals, and dreams of the individual. Rather, the incremental theory suggests that intelligence is malleable and can grow if the proper techniques and strategies are implemented.

A growing number of countries including Finland do not even have examinations in most institutions. For the small portions that do, there are very few in comparison to the United States.

Most Who Succeed Reject Formal Education

Although there are numerous benefits to succeeding in the academic world including but not limited to the ability to qualify for large grants, scholarships, and the ability to travel abroad to learn in new territories, the vast majority of successful individuals and entrepreneurs in the world emerged by rejecting the education system.

Famed multi-billionaire and co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard University barely two years into his academic program and did not possess a degree when creating his revolutionary company. Consequently, it can be argued that success with grades is a byproduct of the student’s own personal motivation.

Performance-Oriented Motivation

Professor Thomas claimed that “a student with mastery-oriented motivation approaches a class with curiosity and interest in the subject whereas a student with performance-oriented motivation does so solely from a grade standpoint”. Sadly, too many students confuse academic success with real success and as a result, they approach most classes with a performance-oriented motivation due to significant pressure from their parents and teachers.

A substantial amount of the material imposed upon students demands their success simply through the ability to repetitively copy material and perform tedious “busywork”. Furthermore, a significant number of classes focus on memorization of redundant terminology that soon becomes outdated. It has been debated that many teachers view their classrooms as similar to the workplace in which are expected to perform much of the tasks for raw achievement rather than for learning.

As such, it can be argued that they view themselves as employers who oversee pupils. Many students who attend the same universities and pursue the same degrees arrive at an identical destination despite immense variation in SAT (standardized testing) scores.

What's The Point?

If the reality is that grades fail to measure intelligence, one must ask why even have them as a unit of measurement for anything in the first place. To answer this question, many have offered the notion that grades are simply a measure of one’s own discipline and effort to follow imposed instructions well.

World-renowned financial educator Robert Kiyosaki has stated that most of the A students work under the C students as the former is less capable of thinking for themselves and rejecting others’ ideas in comparison to the C students who are able to ruminate in a more abstract and creative way.

Standardized testing through decades of implementation has repeatedly failed to prove the worth of knowledge of any given student for a multitude of reasons.

For instance, due to the fact that students operate under the assumption that such heavy test scores affect their future, many do whatever is necessary to pass including the consumption of performance-enhancing psychostimulants and sharing answers with each other.

Similarly, teachers can behave in a near-identical fashion in the case that test scores affect their job security and salaries. In addition to not providing feedback on performing better in the future, results are often not returned to either the student or teacher until several months later. Moreover, standardized tests fail to value diversity of thought as students possess a wide range of differences from cultural backgrounds, proficiency in the local dialect/language, learning styles, and past experiences to name several.

Grades Favor The Privileged

Through overwhelming research, standardized tests have proven to favor individuals that possess socioeconomic advantages. The same corporations that manufacture the tests also provide the programs to prepare you for them. If one is of possession of large disposable income, these companies even offer special tutors that will assist struggling students in performing well on the tests.

However, for those that come from low socioeconomic statuses and whose schools receive less funding, preparation for the tests is far weaker and puts the student at a disadvantage.

Finally, standardized tests occur in a learning environment that is entirely artificial such that they are timed and imprison students from asking questions, using learning devices, references, or the ability to walk around; creating stress and tension.


About the Creator

Arbiter Writing

A freelance content agency with over 6 years of experience in the field of professional writing and editing services. We perform research based on topics of clients' choosing and provide SEO-optimized blog posts, articles, and copywriting.

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