Are Examinations a Fair Way of Testing Our Knowledge?
Last updated: February 22, 2017
Many students dislike exams and children of all ages seem to have a diet of more and more exams that they have to take. Coursework is being discredited as a way of demonstrating knowledge as it is becoming easier to plagiarise or even buy coursework over the internet. This leaves exams as the only obvious choice, but do they accurately & fairly test students' knowledge?
A formal system needs to be in place.
What this system encourages is practicing past papers in the hopes of mastering tests and not the subject. Tests do not encourage the pursuit of knowledge so much as the pursuit of great grades. Education should free the mind not restrict it to guidelines that are NOT transparent (As the pandemic of misunderstood Andagogy(opposite of pedagogy) keeps teachers from spoon-feeding or spelling things out).
Intellectual exploration is impeded with constant pulls towards
mastering guess work and memorising 'standard' methods of answering 'repeated types' of questions that were originally set to test a student's response to unfamiliar problems.
Subjective/qualitative papers with essay questions are not as easy to measure as mathematics or other quantitative papers. There are times when different examiners grade the same paper by the same student/pupil very differently.
Marks on tests are frequently altered on students' coercion or a teacher/examiner's admittance of human error on his/her part. Pushier/convincing students can push examiners/tutors into raising their grades and exercise this talent frequently.
Tests simply require students to cram when studying, and after the test is taken, the information studied is almost immediately forgotten, so the purpose of the test in the first place is gone.
this s a student point of view
considering the population and the great competition developed at present because of that population....we have to prove ourself through some efficient method even in order to get a job.....and of course we don't have any efficient method for that purpose except examination.......
lack of examinations may ...i'm sorry... will definitely cause some unsuited persons to get unsuited jobs and which 'll lead to improper development and will affect the country's development
hence to select the good environment for the students according to their ability examinations are must...and im toooo suffering with those stuffs guysssssssssssss.........
Students can cheat in exams
I never said the method had to be perfect, I said a system that is being replaced because it is vulnerable to cheating shouldn't be replaced by another system that is vulnerable to cheating. You wouldn't replace a faulty computer with another faulty computer.
The system of testing exists for a purpose, which it may not serve 'perfectly' but serves to an extent. Tests can be improved and cheating can be reduced.
Tests with certain test-takers cheating, are better than no tests at all. You might as well not sell anything because some people steal. It is unfair that students who do not cheat and vye for a fair assessment of their abilities and standing on a subject, should be deprived of being tested because of a few bad eggs.
There is a difference between 'improvement' and replacement. Testing/exams can not be replaced the conditions in which they proceed are different for different exam centers and different students as you point out that doesn't mean testing should be chucked altogether. efforts can be made to make stringent and similar test-taking conditions( a faulty computer can be fixed that won't stop it from gettting faulty again) for everyone everywhere however to expect perfect results is irrational.
It is not tests themselves that allow cheating it is the conditions in which they are conducted. You cannot say that a T.V lying on the road then getting stolen, is responsible for getting robbed. It is the condition(sitting on the road, entirely not the T.V's fault) that leads to the crime/theft.
The Right Discipline
However, examinations must not become regular.
Regular examinations result in students working toward exams and exams only. They do not work in order to learn. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is rid of in a system where examinations reign supreme. It becomes knowledge for the sake of passing the class, receiving an "A" etc.
Whilst coursework may easily be cheated on, it is ridiculous to suggest that the only other way of testing a student's abilities and knowledge is through examination.
Class discussions and debates are, with active class participation, one of the most effective ways of learning and retaining information. Through being forced to better one's own views and opinions, theories and answers, the student gains a deeper insight into their own arguments, becomes better at discussing their views, and the class benefits from listening to these views and thinking about how the views of their peers compare to those of their own. Through this they can alter their own opinions or form new ones. Class participation is a necessary requirement seeing as how even if one person refuses to engage in the discussion, their own ideas are never put to the test of both the peers and their teacher, and so receive no benefit for their own beliefs, and the class also receives no benefit from that particular student. And this is just one student! Full class participation is an absolute requirement.
How do we accurately test students? We test them through what they are best at and what they are happiest with through immediate student and teacher feedback during and after classes. Weekly or monthly the parents/guardians of those students will receive report cards, showing which subjects their son/daughter is best at, and which they need the most help with. It will also be noted which classes are that child's favourite. Parents and students must also be able to suggest ways in which their classes could be made better, so long as the suggestions are realistic, reasonable and that they contribute to the learning environment in such a way that the students learn more and at no cost to student/teacher and student/student relationships. For example, bullying must not become more common as a result of changes to the class.
Examinations should appear annually, but no more than that. If there are discrepancies between one's examination and one's school work, then this must be investigated, as it would be within the current system now. However, discrepencies are far less likely within this proposed framework, as all the progress and learning goes on during school hours and under the supervision and encouragement of the teacher. (This does not mean to say that kids should not be assigned homework, but the homework itself would be judged on how well the student can prove that they did it i.e., through class discussions the next day).
What do you do in cases where your favorite subject isn't the subject you perform best in? it might seem obvious that people will perform best in subjects they are enthusiastic in and try the hardest in because they like it, but my grades were almost universally best in subjects i hated - because i tried my hardest to 'get them over and done with' so i didn't have to think about them any more, which people mistook for efficiency, and i would write completely mechanically and impartially about them, which made me look more disciplined, especially when the subject was maths and it mostly was mechanical. the subjects i liked were the ones i was more relaxed in and quite often would assume beforehand that I would do well in, causing me to make less effort.
But how can you determine whether someone has absorbed information or attained knowledge and can eloquently reproduce it under pressure whilst being timed, without him or her being tested??
The fact remains the truth because
Given all that you've said the absence of exams/tests would ipso facto, be an even worse assessment of knowledge, potential and/or ability. Since there is no alternative measure that if it were given the importance given to formal testing would/does not fail in all the areas that exams have failed. It is important to know how people perform under pressure since work (and everything else that exams prepare and assess you for) is generally thought to be very stressing. It's not just that we have to give exams so that we can pass, but with exams we revise what we read and when we learn all these things they settle in our mind.
Flawed tests can defeat a good student
There are too many flaws
Examinations do not show if someone has truly acquired certain knowledge.
Surprise examinations are perhaps more effective in showing the candidate's knowledge.
The microscopic and responsive nature of examining does not reflect how we use intelligence and knowledge in the real world.
Perhaps this aspect of growing up is best provided elsewhere, such as the playground, where certain survival instincts and behavioural tactics are learned or beaten into you, but it seems incredible to me that the educational system couldn't go some way towards alleviating the disparity between how we are examined in the exam hall and how we come to use what we have learned in wider life.
Exams test memory more than analysis, creativity, or real understanding.
Coursework is a much more genuine assessment of a candidate
The pressure attached to A’levels and GCSEs is huge and causes many problems.
As well as causing personal problems, pressure can lead many bright students to under-perform.
Examination results depend on the opinion of the individual examiner.