It is Not the Grade that Matters But the Growth: Changing the Mindset of Academia

Ironically, many businesses today are catering to the personal needs of the customers. They are providing customized cakes, shirts, wallets, shoes, etc. Sadly, the education industry is working like large scale factories following traditional education methods by staying in touch with an old age curriculum. They have various tools and techniques that work like a dye to convert inputs into standard form outputs. The students start thinking, working, and competing similarly. By staying with the norms, a student often loses their individuality and creativity in the process resulting in average mindset.

Today, the measuring of the growth mindset of a student depends on what grades they score. It’s one of the reasons why we should consider changing their perspective.

To do so, let’s first identify what the essential purpose of education is.

The basic purpose of education:

The purpose of education varies upon a spectrum according to different scholars. It encompasses self-development, exploring the meaning of life, good citizenship, enhancement of knowledge, development of skills, living a purposeful life, orderly so, and so forth. The core purpose of education is anything but financial gains. Sadly, the students of today have the mindset of getting an education to get good grades. They think that good grades would get them a job that would pay them hefty.

Job-oriented mindset:

Academia is shaping the mindsets in such a way that the students are running towards getting good grades. What they aspire to do after completing their degree in flying colors is a handsome job. If everyone focuses on getting jobs, then who is going to pursue innovation and knowledge creation? When would every candidate try to fit in a vacancy already there? Who will think about “creating job vacancies” for others? We need a shift in the current mindset of running after grades to running after learning.

Compromising the love for learning:

In the race to score high and earn good grades, we fail to instill the love for learning in the students. We need to be able to develop an interest in and love for learning while shaping minds.

It would potentially bring about better results in job performance, employee attitude, entrepreneurship, and management.

Teacher-pleasing MINDSET:

In the pursuit of grades, the students adopt a teacher-pleasing attitude. Instead of asking cross-questions in the quest for knowledge, they agree to everything the teacher says. They want to stay in the teacher’s good books so that it wins them good grades. It hampers knowledge sharing, a curious attitude, and healthy academic discussions.

Wrong choice of the field:

While choosing the field to pursue, students evaluate the future value of the degree. Sometimes, to go for the higher paying professions, they choose a degree that does not suit their personalities or interests. It results in either frustration or poor performance in the students.

If you are on the brink of your career choice, do not miss our career counseling section.

Unhealthy competition:

When you are after success instead of learning, then you tend to bring others down. You stop yourself from helping others grow with you. Somewhere at the back of your mind, you have a fear of being overtaken. You forget pulling others up and having the spirit of collective growth. The students want to move forward with personal motives. It is an unhealthy sort of competition that we nurture in the educational setups.

Unethical MINDSET:

We all have learned ethics at some point in our educational journeys. Sadly, we have started paying more importance to the ends than the means. Hence, it becomes hard for the students to hold the ethical standards and practices. Cheating in exams and plagiarism have become common. Students also hire others to make their assignments and projects. These are all the offshoots of a grade focused educational system. If we want the students to mind educational ethics, we need to change their goals. The students should aim for personal growth and development instead of grades.

Job performance:

When a student is transitioning from his college to his career, he carries with him what we taught him. When we produce a success-centric student, he might have shown good performance in his college exams, but due to not being focused on learning, there is a fair chance that he finds it difficult to perform well at work. Since he does not have a learning attitude, he may not even learn much at work either.

Work ethics:

If we put flowers in a basket, we get flowers out of it. If we put garbage in a basket, we get garbage out of it. It applies everywhere. Since we are producing a future workforce with the perspective of success and grades, they would apply the same formula in their work life. They tend to take the wrong paths to get to the right place. When we see scams and fraudulent behaviors around so frequently, we should try to spot the fault in the system.

How long does a shiny resume last?

A good grade shines bright on the resume, without a doubt. But the “resume” can only result in the call for an interview. It is the “candidate” who has to perform well and justify the interview’s good grades. It is the “employee” who has to perform at the job. It is the “businessman” who has to take his business to heights. Hence, instead of making the students work for the shiny resume, we should develop self efficacy, skill development, and personal growth. It would lead them to sustainable success.

Do grades matter to employers?

Google probably has the largest amount of data as compared to other organizations. Google’s Senior Vice President of People Operations Laszlo Bock states in an interview that GPA and test scores are not as important as people think. The importance of college grades is overrated, according to some employers. So probably, we are making our students run after something no better than an illusion.

Do not follow the success; let success follow you.

In a nutshell, the intention is not to discourage getting good grades. Academia only needs to change the mindsets and the direction of the cycle. Instead of students running after good grades putting learning at the secondary level, they should run after learning, personal growth, development, and acquiring skills and knowledge. Good grades may or may not follow the learning-centric students; success surely will.

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