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Do you think that examinations are an adequate way to determine the ability of students?

I believe that testing students ability solely through examinations is not a fair way to represent each students true capabilities. Each person learns differently and equally each person demonstrates their knowledge differently, some people excel in presenting their knowledge orally, others do extremely well in exam conditions. In my opinion too much rests upon whether a student does, or does not, do well in their exams and it is not fair on those who would do equally as well but in a more practical 'as it applies in real life' approach. Do you agree? And How could we make 'testing' students fairer?

I do realise that in many subjects courseworks are required and contribute to the final grade however, I find that exams do make up the largest percentage of the overall grade/achievement. How could we tailor assessments to emphasise the abilities of each individual student and not just the few who do well in exam setting?

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    May 3 2012: Does test performance reveal a person's ability? Do tests predict accurately a person's aptitude for success in life?
    NO! NO! And again I say NO! The best test of a person's ability is their obituary. Here's a trio who tested badly: Pablo Picasso; Albert Einstein; Richard Branson. Check out their established abilities. Here's a fun anecdote from an unknown source:
    It seems that a University president was talking to the entire faculty at the university. He said for them to be kind to the "A" students as they would make fine college professors someday. Then he said "be kind to the "B" students for they will be the future doctor's and lawyers." Finally, he said "be kind to the "C" students for one day they will donate a new building for the university."
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      May 3 2012: edward really liked your anectode and it conveys the present situation that prevails within the society.
      family members think+believe 'the student who does very well in his academics is the future successor in his choosen field rather the student who fails his parents expectations.
      but the reality is different from what we perceive.
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      May 3 2012: edward really liked your anectode and it conveys the present situation that prevails within the society.
      family members think+believe 'the student who does very well in his academics is the future successor in his choosen field rather the student who fails his parents expectations.
      but the reality is different from what we perceive.
  • May 22 2012: Exams show mastery of material, skills. They reflect ability only to the extent it takes ability to master the material.
    Capability is quite different from mastery. So - diplomas & degrees should require exams. Yes? Am I off base?
  • May 17 2012: I think that examination is the most important thing for the student. Because, after the examination you can learn your knowledge level, in this case the examinations are an adequate way to determine the ability of the student. But I think so in some cases it is not true. Because there is some subject's exam may not appoint student's ability or knowledge level. You can know very well , for example about any subject, but such questions are given you, you can't express it. And it depends on chance. There is such subject, I think that we must them for ourselves, for our development.I think that If you are nervous during the examination, it is may be student's responsibility.But depend on person's character.So, in some cases I am not agree that the examinations are an adequate way to determine the ability of the students.
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    May 31 2012: Society needs an objective measure to allow persons to exercise their skills. and exams provide that. Who ever claimed that they are adequate? The person then goes on to prove his skill for the rest of his or her life and the proof of competance is in the surgical record or in the bridge that collapses. The public bears the consequrces and i think sociiety at large deserves at least that initial certification.
  • May 23 2012: The best thing most exams test...is the ability to take a test....
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    May 18 2012: I agree with exams 50 / 50.
    When students think that exams will be at the end of term,they try to do their best.Of course,there are exceptions ;)
    And who prepares his/her lessons very well.He/she can afford all materials during the exam.As we know when students pass the exams there will be marvy smile on their face.It is also one of the advantages of exams.Thus,it gives a chance to be happy for students.But sometimes exams are not considered adequate way to appreciate knowledge.It kills the ability of speaking.I`m talking about exam which is taken a test.
    Finally,i want to stress to pass the exam of life much more important in life.
  • May 17 2012: I think examinations are an adequate way to determine the ability of student.How can student's knowledge be known without exams?I don't think exams consist of only learning something by heart and tell them.Exams can be in writting,oral form.You can also pass an exam with power of speaking.Exams shows person's knowledge,capacity,character,psychological moment...During exam someone can be nervous and can stutter,forget everything, be confused.But someone can be very relax and show themselves very well.
    Yes,exams are good way.But there are exception(s) as well as there is(are) in everything.It depends on people,condition,quality or form of exam.
    I also want to say that our all life is exam.We should be ready and try to pass all exams.
  • May 17 2012: I do not think that the examinations always are the adequate way to determine the ability of a student, but it may be sometimes. I think that it depends on students, because students learn a lot of things and prepare for examinations. If they worry during examinations, they can not get result as they deserve,but they are not illiterate. But some students don`t worry about anything and they can pass successfully.
  • May 17 2012: I think that examination is the most important thing for the student. Because, after the examination tou can learn your knowledge level, in this case the examinations are adequate way to determine the ability of the student. But I think so in some cases it is not true. Because there is some subject's exam may not appoint student's ability or knowledge level. You can know very well , for example about any subject, but such questions are given you, you can;t express it. And it depends on chance.I think that If you are nervous during the examination, it is may be student's responsibility.So, in some cases I am not agree that the examinations are adequate way to determine the ability of the students.
  • May 17 2012: I think for some students examinations are an adequate way to determine their ability, but for some students not. If a person becomes nervous during examinations for that persons it is difficult to remember everything. Because those people may forget many things they have learned and also they may confuse them. But it is individual. Maybe other students feel relaxed during examination. I think it is totally up to persons character.
  • May 17 2012: I think that examinations are the adequate way for testing student`s knowledge. It is said in the previous text that students are different and they can demonstrate themselves with different ways.But I think every student should improve either writing or speaking skills in herself or himself.
  • May 17 2012: I think examination are an adequate way to determine the ability of student.yes we learn a lot of things for a long time but we are examed for a little time.but if you have enough knowledge you must not worry about anything..because you know it...you can pass it...that;s all examination are not an adequate way to determine the ability of knowledge who has know enough knowledge for passing the exam....
  • May 17 2012: For many people examinations are not the most adequate way to determine the ability.But it is one of the ways. It depends on person. If you are so nervous in the examinations, it is only your weakness. I dont think that because of this weakness you can say that examinations dont determine the ability of students. If you are so nervous it means you dont have enough information about your subject. For me good way for determining the ability of students.
  • May 17 2012: I think examinations are an adequate way to determine ability of students. Because, if students have learned the subjects and worked hard, they want to determine how many percentages of them, they could understand. It doesn't matter this examination is orally or written. If students could have understood all the materials very well, examinations are really enjoyable things for them. I think examinations make you fell self-confident, if you have good knowledge. Just for me it is very good way!
  • May 17 2012: NERGIZ NECEFLI:From my point of view, students need to be examined. Exams check up students knowledge level. Because of exams they can know what they have learnt during the lesson, classes. To tell the truth, exams can't be enough to determine student's level. Life is full of "buts" and exceptions. People are individual. Some of them can express their ideas orally, some of them can think in a logic way, another part of people can guess in technician style. May be this is reality that none wants to accept, it may be ridiculous but just for me, exam is chance. You can face with too easy questions without preparing too much in another case, you can face with the too difficult situation if you have preparing too hard. During the exams you can fell too bad, you can be ill etc. This is the chance. Life is exam. Life is chance to escape!
  • May 16 2012: To me examinations areone of the many ways of testing knowledge. I would however be asking the question slightly differently - Are results from examinations interpreted correctly and used appropriately?
  • May 15 2012: I do not think that the examinations are the adequate way to determine the ability of a student either. I agree with Sehrin Zeynlova. In some cases, excitement destroys everything. You can know many things. But if you are excited you will confuse them. It is connected with that person's character.But it does not mean that the student is not clever enough to pass the exam. In the other hand, tests make us memorize many things and it is not so good. In general, tests have bad and good sides.
  • May 15 2012: I do not think that the examinations are the adequate way to determine the ability of a student. because I have a friend who failed entrance exams. But she was one of the most talented students of the school. It doesn't mean that she didn't know the subject or she is lazy. she was very anxious about the exam and she didn't sleep all the night because she was learning and repeating the exam materials. But the result was the failure.
  • May 5 2012: Hi Emma,

    The ideal design and environment for school and college (and home) for the student is all about learning things about the real world. Vital to learning is academic achievement. The most fair and honest way to determine your personal achievement is via classroom professional exams competing with your peers. Those in your class who score higher on the exam likely wanted to learn the material and studied harder for the test than those who did not.

    Is one's physical and mental abilities augmented by excelling on academic exams? What do you think?

    Suppose you were required to go down the runway and take off in a small airplane with only phone contact with your instructor and circle around and land it all by yourself and you have never flown an airplane before! You would have one week to prepare. The only aid prior to entering the cockpit would be a professional pilot's instructions and a training manual. Here's what I would expect from you. Given a test on the contents of the manual prior to the flight you would get an A+. You would listen to your instructor carefully. Your test flight would be scary, but you would be successful.

    Most challenges in life are not so dramatic, but do not underestimate the value of book smarts and personal help in becoming all you can be. The right attitude and good work habits will serve you well.

    Incidentally, I like your field of study.
  • May 4 2012: In the U.S. it may not be the same. We use standardized tests and grades. Lots of things can go in the later.
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    May 3 2012: i think examination are meant to test what one has learned and what one has acquired through the learning procedure.
    its just meant to test the knowledge not the intelluctual level.
  • May 3 2012: It is one of many ways to measure
    • May 3 2012: Yes it is only one of many ways but examinations do make up the most of the overall grade. I'm saying that too much relays upon the scores you get in your exams, such as whether a university will even look at your application, or whether or not you will be considered by an employer. There is not enough focus on other important factors like practical skills, how well you can present your ideas, applying your knowledge to a real life situation. It's all well and good answering a question about it on a paper but how would you fare with the problem in front of you?
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    May 2 2012: Are you asking about testing as a measure of ability or of mastery of specific content? I don't think anyone believes that a single measure provides more than a fuzzy picture of what a person knows, understands, or can use. In settings involving assessment, I think most people would endorse a variety of measures but would not want to cut too drastically into learning time by swelling the amount of time invested in the assessment of growth. Assessment is supposed to serve learning rather than the reverse.
    • May 9 2012: This is a really timely thread, as is the presentation it is attached to. I'm a teacher who is currently struggling to assess students who I know have more content in their head and understanding of that content than the test is showing me. I know becuase they answer questions in class, are doing the questions from the text with ease and so on. The issue is that the 'system' as Ken Robinson also describes, requires the examination/testing process to provide the evidence of understanding. As technology changes I think options for testing improve, including filming students being successful versus sitting them in front of a peice of paper. However, it's about changing expectations of the people in charge before that can happen. And that, I think, is a whole new can of worms!
      • Timo X

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        May 17 2012: As Fritzie Reisner points out, examination is a form of measurement and all measurement is prone to measurement error. It is, however, possible to create measurement tools that are supposed to measure what they measure and provide a reliable and reasonable estimate of the thing that is to be measured, i.e. a valid and reliable measure. This is exactly the aim of standardized tests and some of them succeed very well in achieving this.

        If you'd ask me what is wrong, I'd say it's not the testing, but what the tests are being used for. Grades are used as future performance indicators by education institutions and employers alike. A relevant test may provide some information of future performance, but most don't. Take, for example, the inaptly named General Management Aptitude Test (GMAT). The test is not designed to test an individual's management capabilities or talents (a feat that no test I know can accomplish), it tests knowledge of the English language, knowledge about trigonometry and number properties and the ability to evaluate arguments. So basically, it is a test of mathematical and verbal knowledge, not a test of management skill. Does anyone really think that someone who has a perfect score on this test will be the next Steve Jobs? I don't think so. Knowledge, skills, motivation, luck and a whole host of other factors affect both grades and job performance, but not both in equal manner.