Academic results are only part of a much bigger picture...

Academic results are only part of a much bigger picture

Donald Trump has challenged Sadiq Khan to an IQ test in response to Khan’s accusation that Trump is ignorant after comments made by Trump about Muslims. Furthermore the newly elected mayor’s predecessor, Boris Johnson, upset a few people when he remarked that a person’s IQ was a major determinant in life.

The grammar school education system in the UK did and still does select pupils on academic ability and critics of this system say that children should be judged on a variety of attributes and not just their intelligence. As a product of a girls’ grammar school I benefitted from being chosen at age 11 years to attend a selective school partly because it meant I could study for O levels whereas my peers in the secondary modern system studied for the less academic qualification – the CSE.  There were undoubtedly faults with this system of education – glaringly that there was limited chance of movement between the schools and a child’s academic fate determined at a relatively young age for the next few years.

I know adults, still bitter about “failing” the 11+, who have spent their working life proving the test wrong by becoming respected academics and intellectuals. Isn’t it about time we stopped judging children by their IQ score? It is much more important that their EQ – emotional intelligence – and stickability is considered. People need common sense, resilience and an ability to communicate all of which an IQ score does not measure.

As the girls file past my office into our public examination hall I hope that they do well in their tests and that the questions asked show off what they know, understand and can do. However, at this stressful, anxious time it is important to keep in perspective the view that academic results are only part of a much bigger picture. The girls I visited over the weekend undergoing their bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in teeming rain and less than ideal conditions were developing within themselves grit which will carry them far – possibly further – than top examinations results alone.