Brief Thoughts on School Grades and Success in Life

Throughout my compulsory schooling, my academic performance was generally poor until my last two years of high school. I went on to graduate from a good state college with Honors in my major (psychology) and, sometime later, earned a Masters degree from the school of my choice, which is nationally respected in the field I’m in (social work). My point here is that I’m a living example among many of how academic performance throughout a child’s development is not the best determinant for her/his/their later success in life. Far from it. Valuing school grades can be over-emphasized and needlessly anxiety-ridden for everyone concerned.

When a child gets low grades on a school progress report, here’s something she/he/they could really benefit hearing from a parent: “You’re not as good or as bad as your grades. You’re still wonderful. I love you no matter what.”

2 thoughts on “Brief Thoughts on School Grades and Success in Life

  1. A thousand times yes. I feel some combination of disheartened and enraged that “good grades” continue to be equated with intelligence, effort, moral integrity, grit, & etc. After decades of working with students who were square pegs ceaselessly jammed into round holes (they happened to be really smart and wonderful but needed to be taught and treated differently), I saw only the barest glimpse of the damage to self-esteem the whole grades obsession did.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate your input here. Knowing that you worked for some time in the field of education, I know you speak from much direct experience. There has got to be a better way to measure progress in school for children than with grades, including to de-couple from grades the toxic, unfair, inaccurate meanings attributed to them, such as what you list off. Thank you for reading and commenting.


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