03 March 2012

High grades alone don’t mean success

There is excitement every time primary, and secondary examinations are released. For the few who score high grades, their photos are splashed on national dailies while majority who do not make it go unnoticed.

This is not surprising since tradition has always been to reward ‘winners’ and
punish ‘losers’.

But are high grades a predictor of success? Do bright students perform well in their jobs? Evidence shows otherwise.

In 1973, Prof. David C. McClelland of Harvard University in his paper, Testing for competence rather than intelligence, argued that competence (underlying characteristics of an individual such as empathy, self-discipline and initiative) is the major predictor of superior job performance and success in life, not traditional academic aptitude and knowledge (IQ).

His research found that people with a high IQ often performed poorly at work. Indeed in our day-to-day interactions, bright persons tend to be argumentative and inconsiderate — behaviours that jeopardise group existence.

Of recent, these attributes have been framed into what is conventionally known as Emotional Intelligence (EQ), and includes personal and social competencies individuals require to manage themselves and others’ emotions.

Unfortunately, these attributes are never taught in schools and universities. Instead, effort is put on acquiring knowledge — something that does not increase one’s ability of getting, retaining a job and performing excellently at work.

Many people after being through school don’t still know how to write a report, develop a project plan, or use a computer.

Thus you find that when they find themselves in a leadership position, they fail to build a strong team and in the end get fired!

Most time the blame is put on a flawed educational system. Other times there has been upgrades for instances to learn skills like report writing, but still devoid of what an employer calls competence.

Thus although IQ may be important, EQ is indispensable. As universities churn out more graduates, it is important they possess the attributes to fit and work in a team.

What one scores in school should not be an issue, rather how they use these grades to create opportunities and contribute to society.

We welcome your reactions,hit the comment button below