Grades vs Intelligence
Does an A equate to superior intellect? This question has been debated numerous times by teachers, psychologists and students all around the globe. For decades, job interviewers, colleges, and peers have made assessments about one’s intelligence based on the grades they received in school.
The traditional letter grade system is not a viable measure of intelligence because it is more work based, there are multiple means of intelligence, and one teacher’s style of teaching simply may not work for every student. Hard work is not synonymous to intelligence. Grades are primarily work based, meaning a student who understands the material completely yet does not complete their work would receive a poor letter grade, and vise versa with students who do not understand the material. In addition, students who are unable to complete as much work as others due to outside of school activities or jobs are thereby at a loss. This sets up an extremely unfair scale to begin with, as students who come from a poorer background who have to support their families are deemed “unintelligent” if their work is not completed on time.
Additionally, skills in other aspects of life such and time spent in outside of school activities are not accounted for in the letter grade system. In addition, there are many different types of intelligence. “In his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Howard Gardner relates that most schools build their courses around students who are good in language and math. But not everybody is good in those subjects.” (Dr. Hagerstown, page 1).
The author goes on to explain how he hypothesizes that there are truly eight intelligences; word smarts, number smarts, art smarts, music smarts, sports smarts, nature smarts, people smarts, and me smarts. Though not everyone abides by these exact eight, most psychologists and medical doctors agree that there are multiple types of intelligences. Many are not tested in schools for a grade. Grades only measure a small portion of one’s intelligence, thus not being reliable to base a child’s complete abilities on. Finally, how one teacher teaches may not be effective or show off every student’s intelligence.
Just like there are multiple intelligences, there are different ways a student best learns and studies. “Students preferentially take in and process information in different ways: by seeing and hearing, reflecting and acting, reasoning logically and intuitively, analyzing and visualizing, steadily and in fits and starts. Teaching methods also vary. Some instructors lecture, others demonstrate or lead students to self-discovery; some focus on principles and others on applications; some emphasize memory and others understanding” (Dr. Felder, page 1).
A teacher’s way of running a classroom has a great impact on how a student learns, and what works for one student may not work for the next. In addition, what a teacher finds to be the best way of learning and teaching will almost inevitably not work of some students. This says nothing about either one’s intelligence, but rather shows the simple differences in how their brains learn and store information. A poor grade in a class does not necessarily say anything about a student’s intellectual abilities, as there work ethic and activities, strong suits of the student, and teaching styles of the teacher all play into the equation. Humans are simply different and individual by design, and no one system will work for everyone. In the future, education should accommodate to allow children of all types and intellectual abilities to be able to excel in school.
Works Cited Hagerstown, Dr. “I’m Smart– You’re Smart.” SIRS. N.p.
, Jan. 2002. Web. 4 Dec. 2016. Klein, Melissa.
“All About Autism.” SIRS,. N.p., Oct.
2007. Web. 4 Dec. 2016. “Learning Styles.
” Learning Styles. N.p., n.d. Web.
05 Dec. 2016.