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ACADEMIC GRADES AND QUALIFICATIONS

We need to locate our academic development within a practical approach to our academic grades and qualifications – how we place what we are learning and achieving in our academic program within the context of what we will need to maximise our choices later in our lives.

Our academic grades and qualifications represent significant milestones on our learning journey. We need to develop the skill of knowing how to place what we are learning and achieving into the context of what we will need to maximise our choices in life. We need to track our performances, monitor our progress towards achieving them and reflect on what we have learnt after completing them. Through this, we will come to find satisfaction in marking off even our smallest wins, as well as understanding our progress towards the larger goals we have.


Grades and qualifications seem straightforward. The truth is that there is a complex and rich story behind each letter, number or piece of paper. These narratives create opportunities for us to grow, to learn about ourselves, and to commit ourselves to the realisation of our future selves. On a practical level, it’s important to keep records of the achievements, grades, and qualifications we attain over the course of our learning journeys. These records serve a clear purpose when writing applications, going for job interviews, and helping us to appreciate our success.
"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."
John Dewey
The records we keep can also help us to map the way forward to the professions and careers in which we are interested. In addition, feedback and advice on our grades and qualifications from career counsellors and professionals can be very useful in validating our progress and choice of pathway. Our decisions can benefit greatly from the experience of networks on advisors such as these and can help us to temper our choices with a healthy dose of informed realism. Sometimes we need someone to tell us our grades are actually good enough.


After completing a course or a qualification, we need to take some time to refine our understanding and belief in ourselves, our study and our ambitions and reflect on the process we took to reach this point. What did we learn? What are some of the meaningful and lasting experiences we have had as a result of the course? Can we remember any times where we were called on to demonstrate our competencies? What are the competencies that we could improve? Taking time to find honest answers to these questions allows us to consolidate and acknowledge our achievements and progress. We need to remind ourselves of the progress we have made. We need to take some time to celebrate the wins. And we need to identify what should come next. Should we go back and re-enforce any areas that require attention? Should we move laterally to expand our existing competencies? Or should we move forward into uncharted territory? Taking the time to apply what we have learned through this process to plan what we will do next ensures that we continue to grow and improve.

We can contemplate our Academic Grades and Qualifications by considering the following questions:
    • Do I keep a personal log or archive of my academic records and any qualifications gained over my learning career?
    • Do I research and understand the qualifications for various professions and careers, and monitor whether I am on track to acquire those qualifications?
    • Do I seek the advice of experts or professionals in the fields that interest me to ensure that my qualifications pathway is optimal and meets my needs?
    • Do I take stock of my experience and achievement at the end of each course and reflect on how I have grown in knowledge and exercised both competency and mastery?
    • Do I reset my learning goals and refine my academic program to support my progress on my journey of academic aspiration, application, and achievement?

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