Grades Do Not Define Who We Are, How We Regard Grades Does

Across the Pacific, a senatorial aspirant claims on a Facebook page to be "one of the first female graduates from an Ivy League School—Princeton University, graduating with honors". The same Facebook  page posted a couple of weeks ago a photo of a letter from Princeton's Class of 1979, to lend support to the claim of the daughter of former president Marcos of being an alumnus of Princeton. Since Princeton includes degrees/honors awarded as well as dates of attendance in a student's "directory information" in its Policy on Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, it is possible for the public to know if the claim is true or not. So now we have it in a story published in students' newspaper in Princeton, "Filipino governor, senate candidate falsely claims to have graduated from U.":

Above copied from The Daily Princetonian

The source cited by the students' newspaper is Deputy University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss.

Back here in the United States, a former lawyer of United States president Donald Trump is testifying before Congress. In the testimony, Michael Cohen said that Donald Trump "threaten his high school, his colleges and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores".

We seem to be obsessed with grades. I shared with my own students yesterday a guest post by Thomas R. Guskey, senior research scholar at the University of Louisville on Peter deWitt's column in EducationWeek. Guskey writes:

We need to stop using grades to sort and rank students and instead use them to guide students in making improvements in their learning. Most importantly, we need to help students understand that grades do not define who you are as a learner but where you are in your learning journey—and where is always temporary.

If grades do not even define us as learners, how could grades define who we are. And yet, we use it as proof that we can be good servants of the people. We use grades to demonstrate that we are capable of public office and trust. It is really about how we regard our own grades. Voters in the Philippines are not likely to change their minds by reading what the Daily Princetonian had to say. Supporters of Imee Marcos will stay as supporters. After all, it is easy to dismiss this issue as performance in public office is not really predicted by performance in school. Those who support Trump will remain loyal to Trump regardless of what grades Trump got during his college years. What matters however is how Donald Trump views himself and his grades, how Imee Marcos regards her worth and a degree from Princeton. And that is really where the sad story begins.


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