Many students go through four years of high school and strive to attain the highest Grade Point Average (GPA) possible. This is a great goal and it should be acknowledged by their school and their family. However, not all students with a high GPA, are students that will be successful in collegiate studies or even perform well on standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT. What causes this phenomenon? In many cases, the student probably attended a high school which failed to have the proper resources in place to prepare that student for the rigors of post secondary education. The student may have attained good grades during high school but failed to truly learn how to study. Also the student may have taken teachers in high school that did not offer rigorous coursework. There are many secondary schools across our nation that are placing students in Honors and AP courses, but the coursework being assigned to those students is not truly at an Honors or Advanced Placement level. Unfortunately, these factors are providing a disservice to our students and they will eventually be exposed for their academic ability or lack there of. As an educator, I have come to find that grades are not always a clear indication of a student's academic ability. We must begin to shift our teaching methods to cause our students to attain mastery of the content. This is not a simple task due to the focus on standardized testing across our nation (but that's another blog post for another time). When the students have a better conceptual understanding of the content we are presenting, they have higher rates of long-term retention of the content. Also, when students have been challenged with a rigorous curriculum, they will discover various ways in which they can persevere through learning tasks. I challenge parents, to focus less on your student's grades, and find ways to discover whether or not your child is really understanding the content they are being taught in school. Find ways to see if your child is learning to think for themselves and analyze tasks from a holistic perspective versus simply listening to a teacher spill a bunch of facts at them day in and day out. My title of this post is simply referring to the concept of whether you as a parent would prefer to see good grades on your child's report card and possibly risk them not understanding the material or whether you can accept them bringing home average grades, with the assurance of knowing they have struggled to attain mastery and understanding of the concepts. We often encourage students to attend college, but what are we doing to prepare our students for the academic rigor that comes with being a college student? The cost of post-secondary education is far too expensive to see your child attend for a few semesters only to dropout due to lack pf academic preparation. Teachers are going to teach the curriculum at school, but not all teachers are passionate enough to ensure that your child is getting a conceptual understanding of the content.