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Do Grades Reflect STEM Intelligence?

By Sidra Miller

One of the biggest misconceptions often placed on students is that intelligence is founded on grades. Throughout time, studies have shown that that is not the case. Intelligence is subjective to each individual, and not everybody will excel at every course they take. Ultimately, when who we are as students boil down to letters and numbers, we’re not learning because we’re passionate and curious, but instead we are learning to maintain a high GPA or A in a class.

A grade is a simplified version of a person’s potential. It doesn’t measure creativity, expression, work ethic, leadership, etc. Memorizing material for the sole purpose of being tested isn’t learning. Colleges and universities have started to notice this, which is why some have gone test optional for the SAT and ACT. Learning is being able to apply that knowledge in real-world situations. Outside of classrooms, there are no ‘tests’. However, just because grades don’t determine intelligence, doesn’t mean it can’t help in certain situations. With STEM, for instance, when math and science are taught well, it can help students develop interests in jobs that are STEM-related. It can also help develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning skills. Grades and intelligence can work in synergy, but, as previously mentioned, intelligence is subjective and can be defined in infinite ways.

Works Cited

Eaton-Cardone, Monica. “6 Reasons Your Grades Do Not Define Your Intelligence.”

Everyday Power, 15 Apr. 2020,


InnerDrive. “Is There a Link between Intelligence and Grades?”,

Judy, Augusta. “Do Grades Reflect Intelligence?” The Spartan Shield, 8 Apr. 2021,



Lynch, Matthew. “What Do Grades Tell Us about Student Ability?” The Edvocate, 4 June


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