Wondering What Happened to Your Class Valedictorian? Not Much, Research Shows

"But how many of these number-one high school performers go on to change the world, run the world, or impress the world? The answer seems to be clear: zero."

“Valedictorians aren’t likely to be the future’s visionaries . . . they typically settle into the system instead of shaking it up.”

"So why are the number ones in high school so rarely the number ones in real life? There are two reasons. First, schools reward students who consistently do what they are told. Academic grades correlate only loosely with intelligence (standardized tests are better at measuring IQ). Grades are, however, an excellent predictor of self-discipline, conscientiousness, and the ability to comply with rules."

“Essentially, we are rewarding conformity and the willingness to go along with the system.”

"The second reason is that schools reward being a generalist. There is little recognition of student passion or expertise. The real world, however, does the reverse."