Decades ago in grade school when I got my standardized achievement test scores, I felt like a failure because I was above the 75th percentile in math instead of the 99th, as I was in language.
Now, when my sixteen-year-old son brings home a college Geology exam with two missed points and two extra credit points to balance it out for an indisputable “A,” he declares himself a failure.
“It might as well be a C,” he said to me gloomily, handing me his test.
I ought to understand, and in part I do. Yet I’m also mystified. His grade is clearly an A but he can’t seem to see the good work he did, any more than I could see that the top 25 percent was at least well above average.