mac117

Can grades really determine one's intelligence?

28 posts in this topic

Hello everyone :)

So, this part of the forum kind of died out, therefore I decided to make a topic about the thing that has been bothering me for the past few months.

We all go to school, or went at one point in our lives. We were graded on our tests, and those tests gave us an idea on our knowledge about the subject… But can they really tell us whether we are/were intelligent? Nowadays the pressure on recieving good grades is so high every 5th high-school student confessed that (s)he has experienced school-related anxiety.

I know people who get really good results and I know people who barely pass. Both of those groups act in a similar way, and their non-academic skills seem to be around the same level. I know there is a positive corelation between good grades and intelligence, but the argument that they separate the "good students" from the "bad students" seems wrong to me. Einstein failed school when he was younger, and even the teachers told him he would never archieve something in his life. Yet his IQ has been determined to be around 160 and he turned out to be one of the most known scientist in the world.

Grades are important to get into good university, and to test our knowledge, but can they really define us and our level of intelligence? Isn't intelligence something much more complex than just a number on a piece of paper?

I have arguments for both sides and I can't wait to read your responses.

Mac117

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, being average-ish in terms of both grades and intelligence I think correlation is there. However simply good memory and working can net pretty high grades. Usually successful students have both intelligence and willingness to use it to something productive. Its hard to generalize really.

Furthermore I think classifying people into "smart" and "stupid" could severely hurt "stupid" groups self-esteem. I think that reggardless of what is our starting point (I. E. intelligence) one should try to develope themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not in the slightest. Quizzes measure how knowledgeable you are which has nothing to do with your intelligence, put quite plainly. You can have an IQ of 150 and not know jack squat, even though in most cases, that would cause severe boredom. IQ makes it easier for you to learn things, so say that an average person needs to repeat things in order to learn them, a gifted person would not necessarily have to do that (or at least not to the same extent as the average person). A person with an IQ of 130 will have an easier time grasping concepts and will do so quicker and more effectively than a student with an IQ of 100. 

This doesn't mean that gifted people do not have to study, because they do, especially for subjects which require a lot of memorization. You need to know the material or you fail. If you are not knowledgeable about the material, you are going to fail. 

Speaking from personal experience, I've been reported having an IQ of 140, and I fail quizzes quite constantly unless I study. When I do study, however, I don't have to study as much as my friends and get things quicker, which, in my experience, has made it way easier to go from a failing grade to an A with ease (but I still have to study). 

 

Furthermore, a student with an IQ of 100 may very well not comprehend things as easily as the student with an IQ of 130, but still get better grades than the student with an IQ of 130 because student A simply studied more and put more effort into getting good grades. 

So in conclusion, no, grades cannot determine one's intelligence, because there are too many factors involved.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont really think so. Exam grades reflect not only one's intelligence, but more significantly, the candidate's exam techniques.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Einstein failed school when he was younger, and even the teachers told him he would never archieve something in his life. Yet his IQ has been determined to be around 160 and he turned out to be one of the most known scientist in the world.

 

Einstein didn't fail school - that is a widely held misconception originating from Ripley's Believe it or Not. He was, in fact, brilliant right from his early years.

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1936731_1936743_1936758,00.html

 

The misconception allegedly originates from a change of the grading system at his school - in the years prior, it had been akin to a ranking, with 1 being the best possible score. In his final year, it was changed to a system more like IB's grading, where 6 was the highest - thus it was quite easy for those unfamiliar with the situation to incorrectly analyse his schooling history.

Edited by UncleChopChop
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Grades determine how systematically adjustable you are to the system

I agree with that completely, here's proof. So there I was taking IB history and getting really low grades is tests. I studied really hard and people I knew didn't study as hard as I did sometimes did better. Took a while but I searched up how to answer history questions and following the guidelines started getting sevens. Point is that I definitely hadn't gotten any smarter just realised how the system worked.

Einstein failed school when he was younger, and even the teachers told him he would never archieve something in his life. Yet his IQ has been determined to be around 160 and he turned out to be one of the most known scientist in the world.

 

Einstein didn't fail school - that is a widely held misconception originating from Ripley's Believe it or Not. He was, in fact, brilliant right from his early years.

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1936731_1936743_1936758,00.html

 

The misconception allegedly originates from a change of the grading system at his school - in the years prior, it had been akin to a ranking, with 1 being the best possible score. In his final year, it was changed to a system more like IB's grading, where 6 was the highest - thus it was quite easy for those unfamiliar with the situation to incorrectly analyse his schooling history.

Einstein hadn't failed but at some point the system did fail to see his genius.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think grades do, to some extent, give information about our intelligence. They represent our ability to cope with difficult situations (tests) and our ability to learn exactly what is wanted of us.

That being said, intelligence is a far greater idea, and grades only cover a little area in the testing of our overall intelligence. Our ability to cope with some situations may be tested, but multiple choice tests are limited in that they are unable to account for the different types of intelligence or limitations. For example, I know that often in a test, a question is misread in the rush to complete it and so you can easily get a wrong answer where you actually knew the answer. This shows how tests really test our ability to think straight under pressure, and not perfectly the topic on which we are being tested.

Another thing is, with the testing in schools, it happens often that biases of the teacher come into play. If you are able to find out exactly what they want, it isn't difficult to get good grades despite a possible lack of understanding within the subject. It seems tests are sometimes good for teaching people how to manipulate others into giving them good grades.

So while tests do offer us an idea of how we're doing with some intelligences, not all of them are tested. That doesn't mean that the tests we take aren't good ones, as we do learn quite a bit from them, however a bad grade doesn't mean a person is dumb. It simply means they are not as strong in the areas of intelligence being tested, yet may be genius in other areas.

As for alternative tests that will give a better idea of someone's intelligence, that will not be soon happening in schools, as it is already difficult enough to test us the way they do and no better test has been invented yet. Anyways, our intelligence matters most for the test of life. :D

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It really depends on your definition of intelligence. Some people state intelligence is your ability to reason, others how much knowledge you have (though I would argue that's being knowledgable not intelligence), and so on. Personally, I would argue that intelligence is the manner in which you use the knowledge you have, and it can be done in multiple ways. I love Howard Gardner's Nine Types of Intelligence theory, myself, as I believe it really captures the essence of intelligence - here are some good links on it, though there are far better ones online.

Whilst I don't agree with physic_nerds statement about tests teaching people to manipulate others completely - though I do have some anecdotes which do show that sometimes getting on people's good sides can make you score higher (though it depends on the subject, like history compared to maths, and also on whether the person marking knows you personally, and so on) - I do believe that it, in itself, is (according to the theory) a type of intelligence.

Really, I'd say it depends on the subject and the questions in it. History, for example? I would personally say no; you can memorise essay plans and not understand a word of the analysis. Maths and English? I'd say they give an indication of prowess in those areas, but they can't truly define whether you're intelligent, particularly from a single test. It'd have to be mapping progress over time, and intelligence can change so it's really dependant on a lot of factors!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What was said above about being able to adapt to situations is I think actually quite an important point. At the end of the day if you can achieve high grades, you can achieve a lot of things. Although obviously that overlooks very important things like personal skills, it's still a decent rule of thumb and a 'good student' will also be able to tackle a lot of things in life that a 'bad student' may lack the resources to tackle - and being able to hoop jump in sufficient ways to get good grades does actually measure something.

Whether there is a correlation between good grades and intelligence in the IQ sense, I guess being intelligent probably helps achieve good grades but other than that I'm not sure. For instance, I always used to get pretty good grades at school, but my IQ score is not very good. Whatever kind of 'intelligence' I have, it doesn't manifest itself in the kinds of questions they ask you for IQ tests. However, it never stopped me doing well at things (well, some things, by no means all things!) and going purely by grades at school I think you would say I'm reasonably intelligent. Actually I am not above average on formal IQ scores, I'm resoundingly average, but I think I have good adaptability to exams and tests and so I can still achieve in those.

The way I see it, all of these tests measure different things. None of them is 'intelligence' purely, I think intelligence is in fact a lot more nebulous and multi-factorial than either IQ or exam grades would make out. I do think that exam grades are perhaps more significant indicators simply because they are more representative of real life than things like IQ which are a little more niche. Exam grades are also in themselves a lot more multi-factorial. For instance you can do well from either talent or hard work. Or both! Equally you can do badly because of things totally irrelevant to intelligence - nerves, life stress, dyslexia etc. Doing well in exams in the face of those things also measures your emotional resilience, which again predicts life success. Whereas IQ tests are more solid and simple in what they test.

Really, the key thing is defining intelligence. I think it's easier to think of things more in terms of how they predict your ability to do well with and cope in the rest of your life. In which case, I think that by and large good grades reflect a level of mental flexibility which bodes well for the rest of your life, more so than a high IQ score might. It's an interesting question you've asked though, and I'm not 100% of the answer either!

5 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion grades do not at all determine someone's intelligence. For instance, I have a student in my IB class and he gets lower grades than others and so people cast him off as an average good student. At my school only the top students are in the IB. But when you hold a legitimate conversation with him it is so thought provoking and he is so freaking intelligent. He just doesn't find the grading system and school all the important with his purpose in life. When he talks to me I leave it asking myself questions that I never thought of asking. He comes off as a stoner type but in all reality he is just so laid back with everything and just wants to enjoy the life he has and not worry. He is knows his stuff but he doesnt care enough to put forth the effort to do something that in all reality is quite trivial.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nope, it also asses memory which has nothing to do with intelligence. 

Also emotions for lit.

And your ability to check work.

Plus your ability to work under pressure and go fast like sanic.

Of course includes your ability to NOT do stupid mistakes.

And your ability to have good handwriting.

Your ability to organize ideas in writing and highlighting.

Your ability to not make sense and follow a stupid format for your answers.

Conclusion: Exams do measure intelligence to some extent but other random stuff and memory are also assessed and it is only when all is mastered that you get 7's. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

High school curriculum is geared toward the masses so that average students, with work and dedication, can do well. I strongly believe that anyone, no matter their genetic potential (to a certain extent i.e. excluding cognitive illnesses), can excel in school as long as they work hard. You often see very intelligent people doing poorly in school due to a lack of work ethic and you also see rather "dumb" people doing extremely well because they work really hard. 

What is intelligence anyways? Could it be measured? I think your question is futile, one that can not be answered; but it's still fun to think about. 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It really really depends.....

I have known some native german speakers in other schools doing german B. They of course easily got a 7 but that "7" is a reflection of absolutely nothing. 

For subject like maths/natural sciences I would say grades do to some extent reflect one's intelligence. These subjects are more about problem solving under time pressure and are not very subjective. 

But overall.... I would say at a high school level, your IB grades reflect "more" of your diligence than your intelligence. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw that you mentioned Einstein did bad in school. I just wanted to point out that contrary to that popular belief he actually performed quite well. 

As a general reply however, I think that if people were to perform at their fullest potential in school tests then that could be a measure of intelligence. But taking tests requires a vast set of skills and I think one of them is identifying the skills that you don't naturally posses and working on those. If someone is fully aware of their strenghts and weaknesses (innate ones) and is able to manage them well then that is the sign of true intelligence. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 18.11.2015 at 4:57 PM, Arieta Hamiti said:

Grades determine how systematically adjustable you are to the system

This is exactly the definition of grades in one sentence and to the point. Grades are neither more nor less than that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Education is a social experiment involving almost everyone's entire life. Grades measure how well you are being formed into what they want you to be. So when your studying for a test you are really just smashing yourself into a mold.-_-

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Partially, I guess. But again, standardized tests are not the best way to approach one's ablitiy and test it. There are plenty of students, who just don't get good grades, yet are very talented on different areas. In this essence, I think IB is doing a good job -- it encourages students to study in 6 different areas (plus ee, cas and tok) and find exactly where the student fits in. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Nintendogslover123 said:

Education is a social experiment involving almost everyone's entire life. Grades measure how well you are being formed into what they want you to be. So when your studying for a test you are really just smashing yourself into a mold.-_-

"Education is a social experiment" – that's an interesting statement, though it helps if you could clarify it.

And I have to disagree. It's all in the attitude. "Great minds think alike" – such people are all brilliant at their fields because they have passion for them and most importantly, put in the effort. That's pretty much the crux of education too – it's pretty sad that society overvalues talent and undervalues effort.

An IB education encourages open-mindedness, looking at things from various perspectives, emphasis on critical thought, develop time-management skills etc. – imo it's hard to argue such an education isn't beneficial at all.

And studying for tests – well, not everyone has the talent to waltz into their Number Theory test and get out with a perfect score. It's also somewhat frustrating how prevalent the idea is that everything is just out to "mould you and ensure you conform to societal expectations". There's a fine line between bettering yourself as an individual so that you can pursue your passions to being the mindless routine-minded zombie that everyone so irrational fear of becoming. 

I'll concede that it is easy to take education for granted at an early age, usually pre-high school, as a lot of the content taught and tested are not as relevant.

Edited by IB`ez

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interestingly enough, I got a notification about this topic just in time for my SAT scores. I should say I am disappointed by them, and feel quite stuck. I am applying to universities this following week. I do IB as well, and I must say, I am doing a lot better than my SAT score may imply. 

What I am trying to say is; I could complain about how grades do not determine one's intelligence, about how I have more capacity which I cannot reflect through SATs or any other standardized test. Doing that will not be fair though, because no one ever demonstrates any capacity by critisising the system. I think that it is something we should get over. If scores indicate something and hold merit in that regard then be it. No score will stop me from achieving. Basically, in the long-term, we will see that they aren't real obstacles to whatever we wish to acheive. 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting Topic! First, I do not think that grades determine our intelligence. 

Known there are roughly 16 personalities, but the school system only works for a few of those systems. That doesn't mean that the rest of us have a poor IQ. Schools only teaches us sooooooo little compare to what we will get to learn throughout our lives. And everyone would be at the top of the field they are good at/ comfortable at. Schools like to teach us the basic techniques like analyzing, expressing, that may help us in our jobs, and they want us to be extremely well-rounded. Yet, only a few students could make it, and they are not the only winners, we all are!

You would notice that we would not use most of the thing we had learnt at school when we are at job, and we could still be successful. Our intelligence would only shown if we are at the right position. And there are way more skills would not be tested at school. For instant, your decisive when making a decision. 

And our personalities also contribute to how well we can do in school. Some people can sit there a whole and absorb all the information taught. But some people can't, not because they are not smart, but due to those information are not interested to them, therefore they have no passion learning it. But when it come to something they see as useful or meaningful, they would try so hard and master it. 

To sum up, school would only determine how well we are doing a current event or apply a skill, but our intelligence is determined by how well we can contribute the usage of our intelligence to the development of our society. 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, IB`ez said:

"Education is a social experiment" – that's an interesting statement, though it helps if you could clarify it.

And I have to disagree. It's all in the attitude. "Great minds think alike" – such people are all brilliant at their fields because they have passion for them and most importantly, put in the effort. That's pretty much the crux of education too – it's pretty sad that society overvalues talent and undervalues effort.

An IB education encourages open-mindedness, looking at things from various perspectives, emphasis on critical thought, develop time-management skills etc. – imo it's hard to argue such an education isn't beneficial at all.

And studying for tests – well, not everyone has the talent to waltz into their Number Theory test and get out with a perfect score. It's also somewhat frustrating how prevalent the idea is that everything is just out to "mould you and ensure you conform to societal expectations". There's a fine line between bettering yourself as an individual so that you can pursue your passions to being the mindless routine-minded zombie that everyone so irrational fear of becoming. 

I'll concede that it is easy to take education for granted at an early age, usually pre-high school, as a lot of the content taught and tested are not as relevant.

I was not stating that education is not valuable. What I meant by "social experiment" was the values school are now teaching, giving too much power to the government and also controlling the thoughts of our youth. I come from a religious conservative family and it is hard for me to accept the ideas that are presented in school, many of which are extremely "scientific" and liberal.  I strongly support education, however  many things I have to learn and test on are one sided opinions. As for IB, their mission statement for the MYP programme states that they want to create their own type of students. It is one thing to "better yourself as an individual so that you can pursue your passions" but is another thing to go against what your parents taught you to better fit in with a "changing society". If things go on like this, there will be no more diversity to appreciate because everyone will have the same values embedded in them. To conclude, I believe that grades are almost purely memorization of the methods and information that the schools have taught you. It takes talent to memorize, don't get me wrong. But would you give that talent away to the government or to your traditions? That's the question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I can't say much about your background, although it does paint a more clear picture about your stance. The government being too controlling of education? Sounds like the extreme cases you'd find in Hitler Youth or commie programs, though I'm sure it still exists subtly in many parts of the world. That's unavoidable I guess, though the IB being an international education, would likely try to counteract that.

I didn't give a **** about the MYP program and I still don't care much of it now. That said, I think it's a large generalization to say that there won't be any diversity should everyone uphold the same values that the IB tries to teach as we just can't see the future.

It's clear that we had different middle school backgrounds – I didn't learn any content during my MYP years. I had the luck, or lack thereof depending on your perspective, of never having any tests or such kind of assessments that test content back in middle school. What I had, were projects that assessed skills such as critical thinking, evaluation skills, how I managed my time to produce the best quality project possible etc. These skills, and not the content, were what proved to be useful once I entered the DP. Without any solid foundation on half of my subjects, I struggled a lot during my first semester. But applying the skills and attitudes I've gained over my time in the MYP, I developed the necessary attitude to succeed within my academic context. Hence, I believe that its these qualities: hard work, putting in effort, time management skills that education should teach, because these qualities are what's applicable to any kind of context.

And I have to disagree that "it takes talent to memorize". No. It's knowing how best you learn and regular revision is that helps you memorize content. It's understanding of the content that allows you to apply it in various situations. Yes, some people have memories similar to photographic memories and it helps them a lot, but not having the talent or gift should not be an excuse for not even trying. I resent that as an Asian, I don't have the stereotypical innate mathematical skills that I should possess. Or maybe it's just because I haven't tried hard enough in the past? Regardless, I, or as I'd like to think, put in a lot of effort now to improve my math abilities, because I wouldn't like my lack of a gift in the area hinder me from putting in my best effort. 

Nevertheless, I do think that the kind of education I received is far from being prevalent in many parts of the world, so I can see where you're coming from. Would just like to argue that it's not the case everywhere, and there are truly ideal systems in place.

"It takes talent to memorize, don't get me wrong. But would you give that talent away to the government or to your traditions?"

Again, because I disagree that memorization is largely derived from talent, which again I attribute towards society overvaluing talent and undervaluing effort, I can't answer your last question.

So now I'm going to try undermining your arguments on the basis of attacking your character – but if you're still in junior or sophomore year as your exam date indicates, I think it'd be the wiser to reserve such strong opinions on education until you get a much wider picture, as in graduating from university undergraduate, hence maintaining a more open mind on the matter. Also, I really struggle to understand what you mean by giving a "talent" (that would only exist in very few numbers) towards "government or tradition". In any case, I'll take the same advice as well and withhold all judgments/arguments. 

At the end of the day, what do we define "intelligence" as? Only a couple posts in this thread clarified it. If it means the capacity for success, Collegeboard cited a study where scientists found a slightly positive correlation (a value of 0.52 out of 1) between grades and the ability to perform well in college. Meaning that almost half the time, you can do **** at school and still excel at college. When they added standardized tests to the mix, the correlation increased to about 0.59, which though serves as a better indicator combined, also highlights such standardized tests as relatively inferior tools for measuring "intelligence". 

Also, given the way education works in too many parts of this world, I'm inclined to agree with your general sentiment that education is just not working as intended due to traditional/government intervention. I just don't like how you put off the ability to memorize as a talent belonging to a lucky few because that in itself shows how badly such traditions/government meddling with education have altered the perception of society. 

Edit: So many logical fallacies in my argument... *shrug*

Edited by IB`ez
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think grades can indirectly describe one's intelligence..

Being intelligent means you are well aware of the supposedly flawed school system that favors students with higher grades. You believe that grades should not be parameters of one's intelligence, however, you also know that they are key to achieve success in a society that honors academic merit. 

Knowing that, you should play it smart and manipulate the system by working hard to get decent grades (regardless of your IQ). Therefore, by getting good grades you are intelligent not because there is a causation (between grades and IQ) but because you KNOW that studying hard is your only resort... I mean check out the IB Bio syllabus, you cannot be intelligent enough to know it without going over it, but you should be intelligent to know that you need to study for it :) 

 

Edited by Ziadbar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, getting good grades, for the majority of the people, indicate a high intelligence - at least in my opinion.

Yes, a lot of the times being graded is not 100% based on how well you have learned, but what the system wants from you. But it's a bit of a stretch to say it's only because of how well you adhere to the system. For what's worth, wouldn't that itself be a version of intelligence, demonstrative of how resourceful you can be? I mean, if you are naturally good at Chemistry, and you fail the IB Chemistry exam, instead of blaming it on the system, wouldn't it be better to consider whether you have, at all, understood what IB marking schemes look for in the 2 years that you were in IB? It is a tad - excuse me if this offends anyone - unintelligent to make the argument against the system, when you could have just learned what the system wants in the first place. 

Intelligence is not just IQ. How resourceful you are and how hard working you are all count toward it. I read a while back - can't find it now so accuse me of hearsay if you must - on an interview done with some education experts on the GRE. Some people are complaining that the GRE vocabulary is absolutely worthless and they cannot possibly understand why that would be relevant to someone pursuing a master's degree in an area that does not require the vocabulary at all. SAT vocabulary can be justified toward formal use, but no one ever uses GRE vocabulary and most - if not all - of it are forgotten after the exam. However, the experts point out that the rationale is that because those words are so little-used, it is a challenge in itself to not be bored and have the perseverance and the ability to memorize them in such a short time. If a person is able to score well on the GRE, it is hugely indicative of their hard work and memorization skills. 

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now