A fixation on tracking our growth and capabilities using a standardized grading scale gets implanted in us at an early age. By the time we reach adulthood, many people simply accept this as the only method to gauge what we can accomplish. But that’s a huge problem because intelligence and grades are not the same things. Grades don’t define you, how smart you are, your personality, or how many friends you have.
“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Unfortunately, the way we evaluate people’s skills and abilities makes about as much sense as judging a fish by its climbing ability.
Schoolwork is mostly based on memorization skills, which is something anyone is capable of doing. Many students remember seeing a certain word or phrase on a test review and then circle it on the actual test because they saw it earlier. In fact, most students don’t even know the meaning of what they memorized before. The ability to remember a specific concept does not accurately gauge comprehension skills or understanding of something.
Reasons why grades don’t define your intelligence!
1. There are different ways to learn something, different kinds of intelligence.
Students are all taught the same material at school, which is not fair because all students absorb information in different ways. Imagine you have 3 different people. All of them are brilliant on their own. But if you measure them according to the skillsets of the other two, they might all look unremarkable when you grade their papers. It’s just like that quote we talked about earlier. Everyone is unique in their own way.
2. Grades don’t necessarily reflect your abilities on something.
You may have a bad day or you may not understand something. You can be anxious when it comes to showing what you learned once it’s up to a grade. Some people can suffer from test anxiety; in your mind will be thousands of things would you want to do than finish the test. Don’t judge someone if they didn’t do well. Maybe is something more than you see on the surface.
3. Grades are not equal to comprehension.
If you did a really good job at a test, congratulation! You memorized your subjects for the test but that doesn’t mean you understood them. It doesn’t mean you’ve learned the material, though. Being able to understand something from what you learn for a school test it’s completely different.
4. Your passions are more important.
Intelligence refers to one’s ability to learn to understand and apply knowledge and skills.
When you study something you don’t care about or you don’t like it very much it would be hard enough to invest all your energy in trying to comprehend it. But when it comes to your passion, you invest so much more in them. I’m not saying you won’t be great doing some things you don’t really like, but it would be more valuable for you if you follow your path and see where it goes.
5. Intelligence can still change and so can you.
Everyone is capable of improving in school. It just takes time. Just remember that you should never beat yourself up over a low grade–as long as you actually tried. By engaging in exercises to train your mind over time you can boost your intelligence and shape your own reality.
Grades don’t define you. Those numbers on your transcripts aren’t labels on your forehead. You are so much more. Good grades are important, but not so important that you should pull all-nighters until you collapse. Finding a healthy balance is possible!