The Unreliable Yardstick: Exam Grades

One of the goals that many parents strive for is a good education for their children. The definition of a good education often means obtaining good exam grades. While that is not something bad to strive towards, good exam grades have become a form of measurement, a yardstick that is unreliable.

Good Grades = Good Future?

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Now, if your goal is to get an "A" for every paper your child sits for, then you can stop reading right now, this article is not for you. However, if you intend to use good grades to secure a good future for your child, then read on.

You see, good exam grades may not necessarily guarantee you a good future. Yes, it gets you through the door of a good school and eventually a good university. However, there will come a time when an "A" or a high-grade point average is just not enough.

This is because more and more students are being trained on WHAT to answer to get good exam grades. However, most of them are not trained in HOW to do so. On one hand, being trained on WHAT to answer can merely be a regurgitation of facts. However, knowing HOW to do so will teach the child not just facts but the ability to be persistent and self-directed.

This can be achieved by teaching the child how to analyze their weaknesses and strengths in completing a particular paper. Conventionally, whenever a child does not do well in the exam, they are given the right answer. However, this often creates a reliance on the child to the teacher, making them unable to think for themselves, let alone being aware of why they made the mistake in the first place.

Good Students and Independent Thinkers

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I believe that future employers will be looking for those who are not just great academically but those who are critical, creative and independent of thought. In order for them to do so, they should be taught how to be persistent. This means never giving up no matter how tough things get. I remember seeing some college students with extremely good exam grades in school giving up on a course when things got a bit too tough.

In addition, a good student should be someone who takes the initiative academically and in their work. In order to do so, they should not merely be trained on how to answer all the right answers but know how to analyze why they fail or how to do better. This is a skill that can only be learned through failing.

In order for that to be achieved, failing should be encouraged. Not necessarily just in exams, but in the students' tasks, homework, and activities. Through this, the students will hopefully learn how to evaluate their own work better. This would eventually lead to students taking more ownership over their learning and future. As seen in this article here.


Preparing a child to do well is not an easy task and should not be measured merely by good exam grades. As such, we have to prepare and equip the children with more than just the ability to score well but the ability to persist and be independent in their studies and in the future, their work.


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The Unreliable Yardstick: Exam Grades
The Unreliable Yardstick: Exam Grades

This is a post that talks about how exam grades can be an unreliable way of gauging a child's success. Some suggestions are made as to how to better equip a child for the future.

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