But in my experience grades.... well qualifications means everything.
In the Australian system, High School is Yr8-12 with yr11-12 the ones that matter.
But I dropped out in the 2nd month through yr11, and then went to TAFE (Like a optional pre-uni school).
TAFE and University work like this:
Diploma (Tafe or Uni)
Now for programming, to do the Diploma (1 Year) at Tafe, you need to of completed the Cert4 (1 Year), and to do that you need to of completed the Cert3 (1 Year).
Before i dropped out of high school, i had already completed nearly all of the part-time/casual Cert3 and Cert4 courses at Tafe.
When i dropped out i did the Cert4 (1 Semester) in WebDesign, and then the Diploma in WebDesign (1 Semester), with some more programming Cert3 and Cert4 units.
Now at Tafe, for all the courses i had already self taught myself most of the programming that we learnt, i just had to learn the alternative ways to do things in the different languages.
Yer but now after completing my Diploma in WebDesign I got accepted to Curtin University, Western Australia, for the Bachelor of Science (Information Technology).
But then I was shoked to discover they no longer do 'skill recognition' aka 'exemptions'.
But yer in all my experience you CANNOT get into courses OR jobs, unless you have the paperwork behind it......... (or if you excell and you make good friends with the lecturers and student services people [cough cough nudge nudge])
Yer even if you have the skills you either need good friends in the area who recognise your skill, or the paperwork aka certificates behind it.