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Should school exams be abolished?

Recently I feel like many children have been feeling more and more stressed due to examinations. I also feel that examinations are encouraging children to be taught in a specific way, rather than to be taught to think about the method they use to solve an issue. Examinations focus on certain skills rather than the application of those skills, restricting creativity and lateral thinking. I believe that examinations are doing our society more harm than good.

However it also seems to me that exams also have their benefits, for example, to assess a child's skills and progress, and to prepare children for the pressure of universities, and future life.

Yet it appears to me that there must be some other way to do this, rather than causing a child such trauma about examinations, on top of the hormones, social problems and worries about the future.

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    Nov 29 2012: I think students can be assessed in a variety of ways and that how they feel about exams can be adjusted by how teachers and parents present them or react to them.

    The purpose of a test is typically for teacher and student to determine what the student knows, understands, or is able to do, depending on the content and style of a test. Most tests could be considered status reports- what in education is called formative assessment. It isn't a finished picture but a guideline as to where the gaps are that need work.

    When it comes to standardized tests that bear little relation to what the classroom or school curriculum is, I would tell a kid just to see what he can do but not worry about it.

    I agree that some districts do way too much testing of a sort that is not measuring important things and that consumes way too much valuable time that could be used more educationally.
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    Gail .

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    Nov 30 2012: i don't think that tests should end, but their purpose should be changed. As a life-long learner, I appreciate tests to show me how well I understand the subject and to point out areas that I should investigate more. If a test were to be used to judge me, as they are used today in schools, I would hate them as much as I did when I was a child. Anything can be a weapon or a tool. Our schools use tests as weapons.
  • Nov 30 2012: For me, exams do not refelect the actual level of a child, there are many factors thay may interfere the day of the exam and thus restrict the child's abilities. So a bad grade does not necessarily mean that a child is not a good student. Also, i think that grading should not be made in numerical characters, especially when it comes to children. They may feel offended or lose self confidence if their mates get better marks.
    I think that remarks are enough.
  • Nov 30 2012: "Should school exams be abolished?"

    No, they are essential for maintaining a meritocracy, other forms of assessment are too advantageous for pretty faces and smooth talkers. Exams should, in general focus less on memorizing (though in some fields memorizing is the most important) and more on showing you've understood the material and can apply it.
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      Nov 30 2012: If this was the case, why are so many 'pretty faces and smooth talkers' still around these days? :o)
    • Nov 30 2012: Pure meritocracy is not existent in any civilizations. We have aspects of meritocracy in some countries, but we still suffer from a strong caste and class system in every country. I agree that exams are necessary, but I think the matter in which we test our students is flawed. I do not think exams should abolished but rather transformed to better fit the students and teachers.
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    Nov 30 2012: Yes.

    Reduce the number of students in each class and assessment and evaluation can happen effectively.

    Data collection is not assessment and retention of a packet of knowledge is not learning.

    It's time to utilise the power of video and audio in assessing whether students have grasped the concepts/synthesised information/developed a system and so on..
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      Nov 30 2012: Teachers evaluate students all the time in these more comprehensive ways, even with large class sizes.

      The reason standardized tests are so popular as an ADDITIONAL measure of performance is to use a common yardstick that is independent of the teacher's evaluation. This gives everyone, potentially, a window into how a student is doing relative to state or national norms or learning objectives. It's like getting a second opinion from a different doctor.

      There are legitimate reasons for seeking a second opinion. The first year I taught secondary school I had one class of eighth graders who were in the lowest level offered for that grade. Within a month of the start of school I received several inquiries from parents as to how it was that their kids had gotten As from the seventh grade teacher and were barely getting Cs with me and also got the lowest possible score on their standardized tests after the seventh grade year.

      The actual reason seemed pretty clear to me. Their grades from the previous teacher were not actually measures of their understanding the course material. Maybe they were "feel good" grades. As Robert suggested in his response, anywhere schools are evaluated by students' grades, there are particular incentives to inflate grades. Further, if you give high grades you can avoid messy conversations with worried parents.
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    Nov 29 2012: It is important to note that in a school or any learning environment:
    1. learners have to be assessed.
    2. No method or manner of assessment would be without inadequacies.

    There are some issues parents have to deal with. The abolition of exams would not end peer problems and all the hormone issues of teens. No society makes progress by constantly changing things because of the discomfort of a few.
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    Nov 29 2012: It is important to note that in a school or any learning environment:
    1. learners have to be assessed.
    2. No method or manner of assessment would be without inadequacies.

    There are some issues parents have to deal with. The abolition of exams would not end peer problems and all the hormone issues of teens. No society makes progress by constantly changing things because of the discomfort of a few.