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The idea is to take good results as evidence of effort.

Hmm, that one I could see more, but unless my schooling was very atypical, it often wasn't the case in K-12 that good results actually were evidence of effort. Would kids believe it if you told them?

If I remember, say, algebra class, the kids who did best were mostly kids who found algebra easy. Somehow it just made sense to them, and the concepts clicked with them as soon as they were introduced. If you praised them for putting in effort, would that be believable? Maybe it's different in classes which are heavy on memorization, but that was my experience in concept-heavy classes; the best students just got stuff instantly, and subjectively felt it to be nearly effortless.

Certainly in my own strengths/weaknesses, I felt that I put in the least effort in the classes I did best in. Where I put in more effort was stuff I wasn't as good at. Praising me for that might've been believable, but if someone praised me for putting in effort in the stuff I was really good at, my reaction would've been sort of incredulous, since I hadn't done so. Not consciously as "effort", anyway; though it's plausible there are things I did in my spare time as "fun" that shaped what I was good at (like puttering around with computers, and reading a lot of books).

I'm having a hard time thinking of classes where memorization dominated "being good at." Even history, if it was taught as a bunch of meaningless dates, treaties and battle names, was still amenable to learning through outside reading, because if you found the right books, they'd make those dull meaningless facts memorable.

In high school there were a lot of classes where memorization was the only real measure of "smart". Every test was a "remember the fact / date" test for history, social studies, and quite a bit of english. I have a really horrible memory for that type of stuff and just memorized a sheet I wrote before the test. Outside reading is a lot easier now, but at the time the school library was pretty pathetic for that type of stuff (no ref book checkout either and no study halls).

Before someone mentions the "local library", there was none during my high school years. The closest one (in the next town over) specifically barred people from my town from using it (taxes and another less happy social reason).

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