Do Grades Define Intelligence?

“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid,” said the physicist Albert Einstein.  In society, it happens the same way, we often judge a fish by its climbing ability. The way we evaluate people’s skills and abilities are based on grades, scores, tests, and more. At a young age, people are taught that grades represent someone’s intelligence. For example, in a classroom, the students who have the highest grades are considered the smartest, the “intelligent” ones, and those who have lower grades are seen as the “dumb” ones.  Now, the question is, do grades truly define intelligence? 

Well, to answer the question: no, it does not define your intelligence. Grades and intelligence are two completely different things. Here are 3 reasons why grades do not define your intelligence. 


  • There are different kinds of intelligence


If you compare a psychic, a master in arts, a boss of a business company, and mathematician, and an expert historian, who is the smart and who is the “dumb” one? 

Each one is brilliant on its own. If you test them according to the skillset of the others, then some will have high scores and some lower scores. For example, if you test the mathematician to draw something, he probably is not very good. This is the same idea of the fish being judged by its ability to climb. Humans are not perfect, therefore, we have weaknesses and strengths. Grades fail to reflect each person’s abilities because every person is unique and different.


  • Grades don’t necessarily reflect your abilities


You know the lesson covered in class, but when it is up for a grade, you are unable to “succeed”. The mental and emotional state plays a big role in someone’s actions. For example, for people who have test anxiety, it is more difficult to have a high score. However, it does not mean they don’t know the subject. Therefore, grades do not determine if someone knows or doesn’t know, because sometimes people are too stressed to take the exam that they lose focus. 


  • Comprehension is more important than grades 


The majority of people think that a high score will define their intelligence, and that they will be considered the smart ones in class. However, only memorizing the material doesn’t mean you actually learnt and understood the material. This is why grades aren’t effective to measure comprehension. People who only memorize will not be able to solve problems in new different ways. This can lead to issues in a future life, because life is not like the math problems, or like the rubric we see in school. Life has other problems and other issues. 

So, you might think, what do grades teach us? 

Grades teach us a lot of things too like discipline, patience, and not giving up. When we set high standards on grades, this may help us in adapting to the high standard in your life. It also teaches us how to plan and achieve short-term goals, which can help us in the future for long-term goals. Lastly, grades teach us to stand up after a fall. If you had a lower grade you might be frustrated with it, but we stand up and keep going. This helps us a lot, because life has a lot of ups and downs.

So, as you can see grades, sometimes help us in life, but it doesn’t define how smart someone is. Because everyone has a different way to see things, to think, and to express themselves. A test or a grade will never be able to determine each person’s abilities.

shannon maldonado

Hi, my name is Shannon I am from the US. I like Japanese food. Some words that describe my character are creative and determined.

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