Grades obviously matter, and for a very good reason. If you are trying to land a job as a doctor, and you failed an important test, would someone really want you to operate on them? Would they trust you with their life if you didn't study about heart surgery adequately and the evidence is gleaming on your report card? I think not.
To get into a university or college you should probably have good grades otherwise it will be difficult. Also grades create standards that students should meet plus it creates competition. If there were no grades there would be no point in doing any school work because you don't get anything for doing well.
If schools performed well in providing an all-rounded education, it does not matter if students are categorically sorted and sifted to A, B, C, D, E, or F. Constructive feedback, and encouragement is important. Especially in Scandinavian or Nordic Europe, students are not subjected to the standardised test, until at least secondary schools. Therefore, there is no homework pressure, a massive pile of worksheets, etc.
Im so supposed this is 100 to 0 right now. Grades really isn't everything. I mean what if you just don't perform well on the day of the exam itself then your grades doesn't have a good representation of you and not to mention the competition between students is very bad and it can make or break relationships. The worst part of course is the stress that is put on students. People get so worked up over grades and results that some may go to the extent of killing themselves. And so much stress on people just 12 years old is never a good thing in any country.Some students also have a speciality in other areas such as music or sports why is it that the grades of Science and Math matter most? There are people out there who are getting paid well for playing sports or music or even playing computer games.
The worst part of all is the fact that some subjects don't have good tests. For example in English comprehension is a very bad test as people comprehend a set of text differently and may not have the sam view as the marker so does this mean they are weak at English? NO! And we also learn things that are irrelevant to our future. Tell me adults have you ever used trigonometry in your life? How about logarithms? Don't lie to me i know you haven't. So don't it it all on grades.