Do grades really matter?

by | Aug 2, 2019 | Lead your child, Lead yourself | 0 comments

I read an article today on successful people who didn’t get good grades in school (it’s worth a read) and with my own children I don’t focus on grades, I try to focus on effort – did they try? Did they enjoy learning? 
But I am questioning whether grades matter at all.
As I begin to connect my work with more universities, I’m hearing that universities are looking at new ways to set entry points other than grades. They are looking at different competency requirements for entry. 
Born and raised in the UK, university entrance wasn’t that hard for me. I got into my Accounting and Finance degree with CCD (not good grades!) and as the years went on the same course entry became ABB. What happened in that time? From what I understand the course teaching remained the same, so why did the entry requirements go up? What did the higher grades really mean? Other than more pressure on students to get the entry grades. 
 
Then, in my banking leadership role, I recruited several accountants. They came in with professional status in accountancy, meaning they had graded and passed the Chartered exams, but when asked what is a debit on a Profit and Loss Account, 9 out of 10 interviewees answered incorrectly. Do grades mean someone can apply what they have learnt?  In this circumstance, it appeared not. 
 
I’ve come to look at life and raising my children as process over outcome. If my child gets great grades but has done it for the outcome, I don’t really value it. On the other hand, if he gets great grades because he has enjoyed a topic, learnt about it, struggled with it and applied his learnings, in other words the process – he is building his intrinsic motivation and this to me is valuable. Being comfortable with process of building motivation over the outcome of grades, relies on my ability as parent to be able to wait and trust results will come and not rush him. Results take longer to appear this way but the ability to learn lasts a lifetime… Slow and steady wins the race
 
“He didn’t ask for mistake-free games. He didn’t demand that his players never lose. He asked for full preparation and full effort from them. “Did I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions. The correct question is: Did I make my best effort?” If so, he says, “You may be outscored but you will never lose. 
 Carol Dweck, Researcher and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
 
If like me, you’d like your child to relax about grades, here’s some great advice from Rachel Macy Stafford via Hands Free Mama. 

Thriving as a Parent

 What do grades mean to you? 

Thriving as a Parent

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