top of page
  • Writer's pictureSandy Low

Academic Grades: Are They a True Reflection of Intelligence?

As parents, we all want our children to succeed academically. We want them to achieve good grades and get into the best schools and universities. However, we often forget to question whether academic grades are a true reflection of intelligence and whether they really matter in the long run.

Academic grades have been traditionally viewed as a measure of intelligence and potential for success. However, research has shown that this may not be the case. A study by Duckworth and colleagues (2012) found that academic grades are not a reliable indicator of success in life. They found that non-cognitive skills, such as grit and self-control, were better predictors of success in life. While academic grades and standardized testing may be a better predictor of IQ and inherent cognitive ability, there is good evidence to suggest that encouraging self-regulation of attention, behaviour, and emotion are more worthwhile in the service of long-term goals and setting children on the path towards more productive and happy lives.

So, if academic grades are not a true reflection of intelligence and may not matter in the long run, what should parents do when their child is not achieving the grade they want?

The first step is to understand that failure is part of the process and is not an indicator of intelligence or worth. Parents should support their child and help them identify their strengths and interests, rather than focusing solely on academic grades.

Parents can also help their child by encouraging a growth mindset. This means focusing on effort and progress, rather than solely on grades. Parents should praise their child's hard work and effort, rather than just the end result. This helps to instill a love of learning and encourages children to keep trying, even when they encounter setbacks.

In addition, parents can help their child by providing a supportive environment. This means creating a space where their child feels comfortable to ask for help and to make mistakes. Parents can also help their child develop good study habits and time management skills, which can improve their overall academic performance.

In conclusion, academic grades are not always a true reflection of intelligence or potential for success. Parents should focus on supporting their child's growth mindset, encouraging their strengths and interests, and creating a supportive environment for them to learn and grow. Failure is a part of the process and should not be seen as an indicator of intelligence or worth. As parents, it is our role to help our children succeed, not just academically, but also in life.


Duckworth, A. L., Quinn, P. D., & Tsukayama, E. (2012). What No Child Left Behind leaves behind: The roles of IQ and self-control in predicting standardized achievement test scores and report card grades. Journal of educational psychology, 104(2), 439.

33 views0 comments


bottom of page