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Chase Growth, Not Grades


As parents and educators, we have to motivate students in the right direction. We can still encourage students to do good work, but let’s not over-emphasize the focus on a certain grade or number. Instead, let’s look for ways to avoid the trap of performance.



Over the years, I’ve seen students bring happy over a 80% in class test or weighted assessment. Some unhappy over being just 80%, thinking that they should have gotten 90% instead.


Some parents are impressed with their child’s ability for really taking responsibility for their grades. But my personal take is that caring too much for their grades is really unhealthy.


Why students/parents chase perfect grades (100%)

1) Parent pressure

2) Peer pressure

3) Getting into competitive universities/courses


Grade chasing is really just perfectionism in disguise, which is really unhealthy for anyone in terms of mental health. Perfectionism leads straight to the trap of performance. Students should know that failure is not the end of the road but part of the process of growth. As educators, we need to consistently remind students of that.


Trap performance will convince you that only your accomplishment matter but that’s not true!

Students must see that they are more than what they can do!


How to get out of this spiral?

It’s not easy to watch a student become or remain stuck in this loop of performance. It often affects other part of their lives. They don’t hang out with their friends, they don’t do enough of their own hobbies, most importantly, they don’t do what they love to do anymore which is really sad.


1) Students should do what they do best enough. Be it gaming, outdoor, sports.

2) Focus on growth over outcome.

Ask things like “What can you do this test that you couldn’t the last time?”

“You can do even better next time!”

3) See the bigger picture.


There is no right or wrong in this field. Being first is amazing, being top feels good. However, it’s not worth letting that ambition trap us!

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