Ungraded SuccessHow important are grades, really?
By: Hui Ying Wen, Sibley Scribe
As the school year comes to a close, many students are focused on their final grades. But do grades now really mean anything to the future? Do they really predict success?
It is a common belief that success in school will open more opportunities for better paying jobs and ultimately a better life. High grades can indicate a bright future and many people see it as something essential to work towards. While this may be true for some, there are many “average” students who go on to live great and productive lives. Grades may indicate the mastery of certain content, but it’s really the accompanying skills such as how to understand and navigate the educational systems that indicate real success. Today, most jobs require creativity, curiosity and a willingness to take risks. These skills are often in opposition to those necessary to succeed in school.
It is true that poor grades can have a very negative impact on your life, but in many cases, success comes from other forms of intelligence. Poor grades may also result from qualities and traits that lay the foundation for transformational, mold-breaking activities, the same kind of activities that led to the founding of important businesses, for example. There have been many successful people who have had poor grades in school such as Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Winston Churchill and John McCain. High school grades are a factor in college applications but they will not necessarily be a determiner of success in life. What is most important is to constantly be developing emotional and social skills to prepare for adult life.
Attaining high grades does make a positive impact, but poor grades don’t necessarily point to a future of failure. Sometimes, they just indicate that someone is better at reinventing than at working within the system.
Sources: Fresno Pacific University News. Do Grades Really Matter? Scott Key. September, 2008.