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Do High Grades Matter in the Post-Pandemic World 2022 

Do High Grades Matter in the Post-Pandemic World 2022

Do High Grades Matter in the Post-Pandemic World? 

Grading systems are designed to provide reassessment opportunities to students. Ideally, grades should help students take ownership over their learning experience and continually show their improvement. But, many students, families, and educational institutes view grades as a permanent measure of students’ skills and talents. 

Due to the pandemic, anxiety about grades among students has hit new highs. Thankfully, educators across the globe are now discussing new grading policies. So, do high grades matter as much as before in this post-pandemic world? Yes, but other metrics for evaluating students’ academic performances like essays, interviews, and recommendation letters will matter more.

The COVID19 pandemic forced countless schools to shut down their doors, testing centers, and summer programs indefinitely. Due to these shutdowns, most elements of the educational experience are still in total disarray. Students remain confused about the importance of standardized tests, volunteer work, club activities, and grades in this post-pandemic world.

Do High Grades Matter in the Post-Pandemic World 2022 

  • Anxiety about grades among students has understandably hit new highs. During the pandemic, the number of students receiving “F” grades increased dramatically.
  • Poor grades can have devastating impacts on students’ mental health. For many parents of such students, traditional grading systems are failing to help them understand what their children have learned.
  • Thankfully, many school districts and educational institutes are debating new grading policies.

In short, the metrics that are normally used to evaluate students are not the same anymore in the post-pandemic world. But, if getting high grades is no longer the most important way for students to display their capabilities – what is? Here are the key trends students and parents should be aware of.

Standardized Test Grades are Not as Important Anymore

In the past, highly selective colleges depended greatly on grades and scores to make their admissions decisions. Now, these academic metrics that help students take the first step to admission are in chaos for various reasons –

  • Hundreds of thousands of students have canceled their SAT/ACT registrations.
  • Top institutions like Stanford, Amherst, Colgate University, and others have adopted test-optional policies. As a result, many students are applying to these top colleges without test grades or scores.
  • GPAs, possibly the most significant factor admissions officers use to evaluate students, are also not as important anymore. Many schools that had to unexpectedly move online changed their grading systems to simply pass or fail.

These are the reasons why admissions offices are looking at factors other than GPAs, grades, and scores. Of course, educators will continue using existing grading systems to evaluate students. But, the grades won’t hold the same weight on their evaluations as in the past.

Essays Matter More

What should students focus on if decades-old metrics for appraising students’ academic performances are in total disarray? For starters, students should focus on factors and metrics that colleges have already used for many years. Application essays, school-specific supplemental essays, and personal biographies will matter more than before.

Colleges have always used essays to understand and appraise students. Educators are likelier to care more about how students think in the post-pandemic world. High-quality essays give better context to students’ grades. Students that can compose high-quality essays that feature the following qualities are likely to benefit –  

  • Essays that demonstrate the student’s ability to understand the topic.
  • The student’s ability to conduct high-quality research to form coherent arguments in the essay.
  • The ability to form clear, logical arguments with the help of good examples.
  • Writing essays in an academic, professional style.

All these qualities demonstrate a student’s ability to think critically. The era of definite, quantitative measures of academic performances is over. The need for students to demonstrate their critical thinking skills is now more important than ever.

Interviews Matter More

Many admissions offices are planning to host more alumni interviews with students. Educators want to learn more about the character of the student applicants. How a student is as a person may not be a quantitative measure of his or her future success.

But, good character is something that most employers seek in new candidates. Hence, the process of interviewing students to explore their ideas and opinions will be more important in the post-pandemic world.

Students Must Re-Shape the Way They See Homework 

One key reason behind the dramatic upsurge in the number of failing grades in the past 24 months is homework. The most common symptom of students feeling disengaged with education is not turning in homework. This symptom can easily snowball and become failing grades.

  • A 2013 study revealed that students who do more hours of homework experience more academic stress and physical stress.
  • The further a student falls behind with his/her homework; the more overwhelmed they feel. Most students who are off-track with their homework duties feel like they will never be able to catch up.
  • Parental involvement can potentially damage a student’s ability to learn from the homework assignments. A study demonstrated that assistance from parents who aren’t familiar with the topics could damage a student’s learning ability. 

Parents must not force their students to blindly complete their homework in the post-pandemic world. Instead, they should take the following steps –

Do High Grades Matter in the Post-Pandemic World 2022 

  • Help students understand the real importance of completing a specific assignment. Explain to them how that homework assignment will impact their learning curve, not just their grades.
  • Don’t refrain from allowing students to use computers as assistants. There are many educational resources online that can make the process of understanding and completing homework assignments easier. 
  • Focus more on essay-based homework assignments. Essay writing helps students gain critical skills like – clear thinking, academic research, and idea generation. These are the types of skills top institutions currently value.

In the post-pandemic world, quantitative measures alone don’t determine a student’s capabilities. Top colleges no longer accept or reject applicants based on strict grades or scores. Instead, the focus is rightly on understanding who the students are, what they think, and their goals.

The COVID19 pandemic has fundamentally shifted the way educators appraise students. High grades will contribute to a student’s success. But, other factors like writing, critical thinking, and communication skills will matter more than before.

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A decade ago, at the end of my first semester as a professor at Wharton, a student came to see me for tutoring. He sat down and started crying. My mind began to imagine events that could make a college junior cry: His girlfriend had left him; He had been accus of plagiarism. “I just got my first grade 90,” he told me with a shaky voice.

Year after year, I watch in dismay as students become obsessed with getting perfect grades. Some of them sacrifice their health; a few have even tried to sue the school after falling short. Everyone has joined the cult of perfectionism, convinced that high grades are a ticket to studying at elite graduate schools and receiving lucrative job offers.

I was one of them. I started college to graduate with a 100 GPA. I thought that would reflect my brainpower and willpower, a sign that I had enough to succeed. But I was wrong.

The evidence is clear: academic excellence is not a determinant of career excellence.

Research shows that, across all industries, the correlation between grades and job performance is moderate in the first year after college and negligible after a few years. For example, at Google, after employees are two or three years out of college, their grades no longer influence their performance. (Of course, it has to be said that if you got just enough steps to pass, you probably wouldn’t end up working at Google.)

Academic qualifications rarely assess qualities such as creativity, leadership and teamwork skills, or social, emotional and political intelligence. Students who always get the highest grades are capable of stuffing themselves with information and emptying it into exams. However, professional success is often not about finding the right solution to a problem but about finding the right problem to solve.

In a classic study from 1962, psychologists tracked the most creative architects in the United States and compared them to their technically savvy but less original colleagues. One of the factors that distinguished, innovative architects were a record of variable qualifications. “In college, our creative architects averaged 84,” wrote Donald MacKinnon. “In the jobs and courses that interested them, they could get 90 to 100 in performance, but in the courses that didn’t spark their imagination, they weren’t willing to work.” They listened to their curiosity and prioritized activities that they found intrinsically motivating, which in the long run, served them well in their profession.

Do High Grades Matter in the Post-Pandemic World 2022 

They were always getting the highest grade required by adhering to the rules. Being a prestigious professional demands originality. In a study of a group of students who graduated at the top of their class, education researcher Karen Arnold found that while they generally had successful careers, they rarely reached the top ranks. “The best students are not likely to be the future visionaries,” Arnold explained. “Normally, they fit the system instead of revolutionizing it.”

Perhaps this explains why Steve Jobs finished high school with an 80 GPA, JK Rowling graduated from the University of Exeter with a 75 GPA, and Martin Luther King Jr. only got a 100 in his four years. Morehouse.
If your goal is to graduate without a blemish on your record, you’ll take more accessible courses and stay in your comfort zone. If you’re willing to put up with the occasional lower grade, you can learn to code in Python while you work hard to play Finnegans Wake. By facing failures and setbacks, you gain experience, making you resilient.

Do High Grades Matter in the Post-Pandemic World 2022 

Students with the highest grades are also socially isolated. Spending more time studying in the library means less time to make friends, join new clubs, or volunteer. I know from experience. I did not reach my goal of 100; I graduated with a 93. (This is the first time I’ve shared my grades since I applied to graduate school sixteen years ago. Nobody cares.) In hindsight, I wish my rates had been higher. If I lived it again, I would study less. The hours I spent memorizing the eye’s inner workings would have been more profitable if I had devoted them to stand-up rehearsals and more late-night conversations about the meaning of life.

I advise universities to make it easy for students to take intellectual risks. Graduate schools may indicate that they don’t care about the difference between a 92 and a 94 average. Universities may give less detailed grades so that any angle greater than 92, for example, can be rounded up to the highest quality. It can also help stop the craze of grade inflation, which results in an arms race that encourages too many students to strive for meaningless perfection.

Do High Grades Matter in the Post-Pandemic World? 

And why not let students decide at the end of the semester if they prefer the option of being evaluated without exact grades, that is, only with a pass or fail mark?
Employers might indicate that they value skills more than a perfect average.

Some recruiters already do: In a 2006 study of more than 500 job openings, nearly 15 per cent of recruiters decided not to hire students with high grades (perhaps questioning their priorities and life skills), while more than 40 per cent did not give rating importance in their initial scrutiny.
I advise excellent grade students to recognize that falling short in school can set them up for big goals in life. So maybe it’s time to apply your resolve to a new plan: earn at least a near-great grade before graduating.

Do High Grades Matter in the Post-Pandemic World? 

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