Good Grades Don’t Mean Everything

At the close of the year, you may be worried about your grades and how they’ll affect your future. However in the world beyond formal education, your grades don’t necessarily reflect your best strengths and abilities that you can apply. Getting an “A” is just one way to measure your performance on the test or project, but there are a lot of other attributes you can remind yourself of that most tests and projects don’t address. To name a few:

  • Critical thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Respect
  • Integrity

A lot of pre-college tests like the SAT and ACT do address some of these, but don’t allow much for measurement of your ability to be an honest person, show your strong work ethic, and your ability to work well with others.

In the grand scheme of things, these kinds of internal strengths are more important to a successful life than whether or not you got an “A” on your biology final. As a teen, your brain has already grown to think about relationships and can recognize the boundaries and limitations that high school might be placing on you or around you. Until school’s adjust and a new learning style takes over, it’s important not to fret over your final grades. Should you do well enough to maintain a sense of self confidence? Yes.

According to the National Dropout Prevention Center, poor grades, not liking school, and not having the confidence to think one can finish their school work are top contributors to students dropping out. More than ever, obtaining your high school diploma is important – not just if you want to go to college, but to be taken seriously in the job market.

If researchers and psychologists know that schools undervalue internal strengths, why haven’t things changed? Namely, because they’re harder to measure. You can’t quantify how creative someone is or how well they collaborate, so we’re more likely to measure what can be counted and measured in numbers over something that an expert might have to opine on. This is partially why students today are being pushed towards the STEM areas more, too. That is, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. It’s easier to measure performance in those areas.

The bottomline is: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself if your grades aren’t what you want them to be. Don’t think you won’t have a good life in the future if you didn’t do as well as you hoped on that final exam this semester.