Last week psychologists warned parents to keep a close eye on their teenagers as the next few months can be highly distressing for students who have just received their Year 12 results.

We’ve convinced ourselves that academic scores predict fortune or failure, that a single number determines our entire future.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s not a predictor of success.
A great many of the world’s most successful and brilliant people were ‘F’ students, and there are probably just as many ‘A+’ students who subsequently went nowhere… but history doesn’t remember them.

It’s not a measure of intelligence.
Bad school reports usually say ‘try harder’ which means teachers think a student is smarter than their grades suggest. Truth is, even IQ tests prove nothing more than how good you are at IQ tests.

It’s not even a barrier to further education.
The worst thing a report can say is a student isn’t ready for the next level of education… yet. It doesn’t say they can’t try again next year or later on when they’re ready and it doesn’t preclude alternate avenues of training.

Let’s remember what reports are for: they’re a feedback mechanism created to help students improve. But somehow we’ve turned them into a public talent competition, subjecting our kids to incredible and destructive pressure that often leads to depression, substance abuse, self-harm and in some cases, even suicide.

And those are the only bad results we should be worrying about.

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Written by Jason Clarke

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Celebrated author, adventurer, gold medal Olympian and popular TV chef; Jason is none of these things. He is, however, one of the most sought-after creative minds in the country. As founder of Minds at Work, he’s helped people ‘think again’ since the end of the last century, working with clients across Australia in virtually every industry and government sector on issues ranging from creativity and trouble shooting to culture change and leadership.