Why Are Grades Important?

grades

Why Are Academic Grades Important?

Article by:
Anthony Chan
MSc Education – Child Development and Education, Oxford Department of Education
BSc – Computational and Theoretical Physics (First Class Honours), National University of Singapore

YOUR GRADES DON'T DEFINE YOU, BUT THEY DO MATTER

GOOD GRADES

When our friends or children are not getting the A’s they want, we might comfort them by saying “your grades don’t define you”

To be fair, many of us want to believe this is true, because each of us have been through exams where we ourselves received disappointing grades that made us feel really miserable

Especially after the stress that we went through, while preparing for the exams

THE MINDSET OF GOOD RESULTS

But some students have warped the meaning of this, and interpret it to mean that grades do not matter and they do not need to put in extra effort to do well in school – particularly in between the major national exams

Is this a good mindset to carry around?

GRADES ARE IMPORTANT - ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD

Grades do matter – whether you live in Singapore, Europe or the United States

And whether there are flaws in grading systems, along with the current heated debate about how frequently exams and tests should be held, the letters and numbers do still hold value

It may be a tough truth to accept, but you are only hurting yourself if you pretend that grades do not matter

SHORTLISTING USING GRADES

Good universities, polytechnics, junior colleges and secondary schools look at grades

Employers in the private and public sector look at grades too

DEBATE OVER ACADEMIC RESULTS

So why do Singaporeans place so much value in the letters on our report cards?

We also ask ourselves: can someone with a C-grade average know a lot more than a student who frequently scores an A?

And there are also some who state that grades do not determine intelligence and capability – they test obedience

WHAT GRADES MEASURE

Grades at all levels from Primary 1 to Year 4 at university are an evaluation of what you know at a given period in time, determined by the questions in an exam

In addition to boosting self-esteem and confidence, getting good grades is important because it improves job marketability

Unless you have at least 5 years of relevant job experience, prospective employers examine many factors when they review your resume, and one of them is your academic grades

ACADEMIC RESULTS, AND WORKING FOR BIG MNC'S

Many Singapore students aspire to work for American companies and banks located in Singapore

A USA Today study found that 63% of larger companies have a grades threshold – meaning that those with lower grades will not be shortlisted to the second round of reviews

WHAT GRADES CAN MEASURE

Although most educators and human resource experts agree that academic results are not a direct indication of intelligence and job ability, they do agree that grades are a good measure of an individual’s capacity to perform in the position for which you are hired

Academic scores often provide the employer with a clear indication of whether you are able to learn, thrive and perform well in a specific corporate setting

JOBS OF THE FUTURE

Academic success is important because generally, employees and employers will need higher levels (and standards) of education to tackle the technologically demanding occupations of the future

WHAT EMPLOYERS LOOK FOR BEYOND GRADES

Consistently being able to achieve good academic scores is no small accomplishment

It indicates hard work, dedication, and commitment to your academic success – and these are qualities that are very important to employers

Individuals who are better-organized, better-prepared, planned their goals and timelines – and had gone on to achieve good grades – have tended to bring these desirable traits once they enter the workforce

Time management, prioritization, concentration and motivation are just as important in the office as it is when you are in school

And employers take notice of you when you can show a strong track record of these traits when you apply for the jobs they advertised for

MANY APPLICANTS FOR THESE POPULAR JOBS

Sectors such as finance, technology, health sciences, law, engineering, consulting and accounting value the importance of good grades

The larger companies in any industry tend to pay well

Everyone wants to work for them. And this means that the big corporations are always able to choose from hundreds of candidates vying for that rare one available position

And your grades are one of the principal indicators of your competence and value as a prospective employee

CANDIDATES ARE SCREENED ACCORDING TO GRADES

Most multi-national companies and the larger companies in Singapore often use electronic screeners to filter out job applicants with lower than average grades

This practice may appear unfair to many candidates because these prospective employers have not looked beyond their grades to find out about their unique personality, humor, work or life experiences

MANY PEOPLE APPLY FOR GOOD JOBS

In Singapore, large companies typically receive between 200 to over 1,000 applications for EACH JOB VACANCY that they have

Smaller companies typically receive between 50 to 100 job applications

Hiring managers – even when they are aware that there might be good candidates who had scored only average grades – need to refer to the grades achieved by the applicants, as indicators of effective discipline, work habits and time management skills

To most employers, good grades can reflect a potential employee who is motivated, organized and works well under pressure

GRADES ARE IMPORTANT WHEN YOU APPLY TO GOOD SCHOOLS

Even if you are too young to think about getting a job soon, the better your grades, the better the chances you have of getting into a good secondary school, junior college or polytechnic

Grades also matter when it applying for a specific academic track

You may meet requirements for the secondary school, polytechnic or junior college you prefer, but you could be denied by the department where your preferred course of study is housed

WHY DO GOOD SCHOOLS LOOK AT GRADES?

What all educational institutions want are students that are ready for the demands of the specific curriculum offered by that institution, and that they have the abilities to graduate according to the standards of exams set by their teachers, the MOE/SEAB, and the lecturers

GRADES ARE NOT IMPORTANT TO SOME PARENTS AND STUDENTS

Some of our classmates might not outwardly appear to care at all about their grades

These are the students that you know would rather be out there watching the latest Youtube or anime videos, than to be sitting at a desk figuring out algebra

And that is fine – as long as they and their parents know the consequences for their actions and they are OK with that, they should go for it

SKILLS THAT ARE PROBABLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN GRADES

Skills such as critical thinking, decision-making, and conflict resolution are essential for success in any walk of life, whether you aspire to be the CEO of a bank, or much prefer to be a stay-at-home dad

Whatever grades you are able to achieve after putting in your best effort, you should strive to maintain healthy, positive self-esteem and self-confidence in the journey that you choose

Can you achieve a full, meaningful and successful life if you don’t give grades a second thought?

Yes, it’s certainly possible

CHOOSE WISELY

But it’s a good idea to try your best anyway, so that you don’t close off any of those paths for yourself. You never know what you might want a year, two years, three years from now

SCHOOLS TRY TO NOT EVALUATE BASED ON GRADES

We all know that the secondary schools, polytechnics, universities and employers know when they are looking at your grades that they are not the full measure of your character and potential

But in the society we live in, grades act as gatekeepers to many career plans and opportunities

SHOWING YOUR STRENGTHS THROUGH GRADES

In a world where perception is often reality, appearing smart with consistently good grades can be appealing

The decision you make now will be a lot like the decisions you make later on, so choose wisely

They determine your educational and career options

At the end of the day, even though studying (often while sleep-deprived and on a ramen diet) can be extremely stressful, the results are worth it

Article written for Star Tutors

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Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this article are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from Star Tutors or its editors

All health content on star-tutors.org is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your own healthcare provider

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