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The very nature of school often tempts us to focus primarily on student performance and grades. Teachers fear for students who are falling behind, parents fear their children might miss future opportunities, and children might feel shame if they realize they are not doing as well as their peers. Ultimately, we all must recognize that we are created in the image of God, and our worth goes well beyond how we might perform in school or at our jobs.

The Limitations of Grades

Before diving deeper into what lies beyond grades, it’s important to understand the limitations of grades. Listed below are the limitations of grades that every parent should know:

1. Grades as a Limited Representation of Students’ Abilities

The numerical grading system fails to represent the various range of skills, qualities, and talents that contribute to a successful individual. It predominantly highlights rote memorization and repetition of facts, offering limited space for critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, and problem-solving ability.

2. Grades Can Make Students Feel Stressed and Pressured

Focusing solely on grades establishes a high-pressure atmosphere that may result in increased stress and reduced mental well-being among students. This ongoing pressure can erode their motivation, curiosity, and enthusiasm for learning, changing their educational journey into a mere quest for top scores rather than fostering authentic personal growth.

Education is not about achieving good grades only; it is about nurturing students to become well-rounded individuals who are able to tackle real-life challenges. This is where holistic development plays a pivotal role in this process. Holistic development in education emphasizes the comprehensive growth of a student, including their emotional, physical, social, and ethical well-being. It transcends beyond test scores and academic accomplishments. Therefore, it is important for parents to enroll their kids in a reputable educational institution to nurture their growth.

Skills That Every Student Needs

Beyond grades, there are crucial life skills that students need to develop in their school years to maximize their success in life:

1. Critical Thinking

Educators should place a higher emphasis on improving critical thinking abilities. Encouraging students to question, assess, and utilize knowledge fosters a mindset that surpasses rote learning. Critical thinking is the fundamental element of problem-solving, a skill that is invaluable in various aspects of life.

Read more: The Importance of Growth Mindset for Learning

2. Collaboration and Communication

Successful individuals in various fields frequently attribute a substantial portion of their success to effective collaboration and communication. Schools are acknowledging the significance of incorporating group projects, presentations, and debates to help students improve these interpersonal skills. The ability to articulate thoughts clearly and collaborate effectively is crucial in various aspects of life.

3. Emotional Intelligence

The cultivation of practical skills extends beyond intellectual abilities to include emotional intelligence. Instructing students to empathize with others, manage emotions, and navigate social scenarios is crucial for achieving success in both personal and professional realms. Emotional intelligence plays a key role in fostering teamwork, effective leadership, and resilience when confronted with challenges.

Read more: Emotional Intelligence in School: Diving into IQ vs. EQ

Your Journey to a Globally Recognized Education Starts HereIn the Student Services department, we take student growth seriously, and we want to support our students by providing services that focus on skill areas that might not traditionally be taught in the classroom. While all educators have a part to play in students’ skill development, the hope is that Student Services can help fill in the gaps where they might arise. In alignment with the SPH Expected Outcomes, we are called to help our students become flourishing learners who are equipped to fulfill their role as God’s image bearers.

Notably, current educational research has highlighted a growing pattern among college graduates often entering the workplace without the necessary soft skills to perform their job requirements. Interestingly, many of these same skills are behind lower performance in the classroom, which has inspired many educational experts to focus on skill development more purposefully during the formative years of primary and secondary school. Within an IB school context, these skills are most clearly articulated via the Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills framework, which provides valuable insights and opportunities related to cognitive, metacognitive, and affective development.

Our Student Services staff, who specialize in these target areas, also provide additional English language support and individualized career guidance. Whether you are a student or a parent, we invite you to connect with our staff at any time. The following is a quick summary of our support team:

  • Year-Level Lead Teachers
    While providing daily oversight of their designated year level, they also help by providing foundational support in the ATL skill area of self-management.
  • Learning Support Staff
    Using a tiered system to ensure universal monitoring and support, the focus is placed on a range of ATL skill areas, including self-management, affective skills, and reflection.
  • Career Counselors
    Focusing primarily on Grades 11-12, personalized career guidance and support is given to each family in preparation for student life beyond SPH.
  • English as an Additional Language (EAL) Teachers
    Provided in Junior School through Grade 8 in Senior School, additional English support is available to supplement language learning that occurs in the regular classroom.
  • Personal Counselor
    Provided on an as-needed basis, support is provided primarily in the ATL skill areas of social and reflection skills.

Get to know more about our Student Services Department and how our programs can assist your child’s learning by contacting us at

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Sekolah Pelita Harapan

Established in 1993, Sekolah Pelita Harapan (SPH) has become a trusted International Christian School in Jakarta providing Christian education for Indonesian and expatriate families. As a dedicated partner in education, SPH seeks to empower families with personalized programs and resources, fostering academic excellence, nurturing faith, building character, and facilitating their children's personal growth.