Have any /lit/izens been academically unexceptional at English, whether at school, sixth form, or degree level? Like, even though they read widely and assiduously, only getting average or just-above-average marks?
Is academia a good judge of reading ability?
Academia teaches skills, not processes. You don't truly learn how to read in the intuitive sense, just what the education board thinks will work for you. Most teachers are also shitty at what they do and don't know how to evaluate students placements correctly. The only decent education is saved for elites to place their kids in private schools.
In short, the only way to really be good at reading and language arts is to have your parents teach you from a really early age good vocabulary and reading you sufficient books, not dollar store shit. I believe this was the only way I ever was educated. I started kindergarten early and was always proficient in Lit classes.
I got a C- in AP Literature in 12th grade, got a Five on the exam, went to college and English is a second major where I write the essays an hour before they're due and I get A's. Decent college too. Really all you have to do is try a LITTLE BIT and you'll do well. English classes/majors are dumbed down since most majors are dumb as fuck and don't read.
I hate being an English Major for this reason but it gives me a LOT of extra time to read since there's almost no work
It actually depends on where you went. I was lucky enough to be sent in a competent private school where a strong dedication was required to get good grades. A lot of work and reading was expected, and hollow analysis was easily spotted and sacked. We were regularly challenged in text comprehension as well as oral and written production, with an emphasis on vocabulary and language mastery. Latin courses were mandatory, in addition to a second language—either French or German—to be taken in 5th grade. Overall, this led to successfully spot and evaluate literary skills among the students, and I can't think of a literary genius not good in school. Besides the nebulous myth of the bad grades I rarely see any evidences of, most that I know were renowned for getting straight A's. Even wild, young authors like Arthur Rimbaud who were often kicked out for lacking a proper behavior still were among the best students. As it has been said, if you're gifted, earning your grades won't be a problem.
Giftedness is a spectrum, ranging from underachieving to overachieving. a lot of gifted students will become very depressed and inundated with anxiety and will basically be too stressed in a classroom environment to do any work. however you will see them doing whatever in their free time, and the work will be above their age level. you must examine what the gifted student cares about and will actually make an attempt to complete. however much of a genius you are, you still must apply yourself to some extent. the work doesn't just do itself.
To answer your question OP, it really depends. Some talented people just hate the classroom or are riddled with problems and have trouble focusing. Some talented people shoot through school. Some teach themselves and create really fascinating and innovative theory. Others are just bad at the subject but talented in other areas. Asynchronous development is a huge problem for a lot of, if not most, brilliant people. DFW (he is a good example even if you hate his work) failed mathematics all of the time. Superior ability can mean several things, and doing well in everything is not crucial for many of the definitions.
Seconding this. An intuitive grasp of language is something you receive very early. My parents read quality books and poems to me every night and were grammar nazis. Books were the only think I could just ask for in a store and receive without argument (provided it wasn't pulp). Every Sunday was essentially an exercise in biblical analysis and memorization of the catechisms, psalms and proverbs.
It's a shame, but I don't think there's any way to catch up to such an upbringing when it comes to reading and writing. School will at best keep your head above water.
>the only decent education is reserved for elites to place their kids in private schools
Bullshit. Those schools are designed to prepare you to get into and make good grades in college, and nothing else. There's a smattering of gifted teachers, but those exist everywhere outside of the ghetto.
I went to an ok private school and didn't learn a damned thing in my English classes except technical grammar rules. My friends who went to Choate and Phillips Andover say all that did was give them anxiety disorders.
>all these pompous people coming to post pompous posts
Ah yes, 'twas a merry midsummer eve in the family abode. The ancestral hearth was blazing and my father's dick was already three knuckles deep in my anus.
Yeah, but AP classes aim to produce students who pass the exam. They assign essays and shit to hit a certain standard, but the skills they're implicitely supposed to evaluate are hardly the focus.
our tracked education system is so fucked, AP classes are basically the opposite of any kind of democratic method of learning
it's one thing to offer more advanced classes, but our pipeline system is quite another. nobody meets anybody, nobody learns on the same page as anybody else, nobody discusses anything. oh well, kids just need to learn how to teach themselves when they must