Are Examinations a Good Way of Testing Our Knowledge?

If you are familiar with students, one thing that you are going to notice with them is the overwhelming dislike or fear of examinations. At the same time, school teachers argue that examinations are needed for the assessment and testing of the pupils’ knowledge, but not all of them agree with this position at all. 

More vocal positions are being taken against the assumption that coursework is an efficient way of knowledge demonstration. Some argue that it is stress-free to engage in plagiarism or even pay for such services online. This means that examinations remain the only viable choice for the tutors but are examinations a just way of testing our knowledge?

The Pro-Exam Camp

Those who state that examinations are very good when it comes to the assessment of knowledge base their argument on the following points: 

Formal Structure is Vital 

Intelligence and academic prowess are not direct when it comes to measurement, and no system is comprehensive enough to cover all parts of the students’ ability. However, there is the need for a structured system, no matter how formal it is, because the absence of this means a collapse of the academic system. 

The argument is that there is a need to stratify ability levels and the amount of knowledge, skills, and experience that the students possess. If this is not in place, the students will find themselves in a condition that is not optimal for academic pursuit. 

Examinations are the only way by which students can be graded according to intellectual ability in a just and fair manner. This way, the main advantage of exams is that they can be precisely measured and the results are not ambiguous. 

Realistic Method Considering Population

Those who think exams are useful to consider the population of students. Since millions of students can take an examination simultaneously, they argue that there is no other method that can be that efficient. They state that examinations are the only realistic ways by which the sheer numbers of students worldwide can be reasonably assessed. 

The Anti-Exam Camp

On the other side of the debate are those who believe that exams are unfair when assessing our knowledge. This camp based their argument on the following points: 

Immeasurable Nature of Examinations

It is argued that guidelines are very unclear and cannot be measured. Students are deceived into believing that their intellectual abilities can be tested when the assessment is on nothing but physical traits like the ability to cram, confidence, and ability to follow instructions or take tests. 

A system of examinations encourages the students just to cram past question papers. In doing so, they just focus on how they can memorize the tests instead of gaining mastery of the subject itself. What this means is that examinations do not encourage or promote the pursuit of real knowledge but it makes students place more emphasis on getting excellent grades instead of having a full comprehension of what the subject is all about. Education should be in a way that the mind is free to absorb real knowledge and not just follow some rigid guidelines that remain opaque. 

Examinations do not lead to deep intellectual exploration and it even inhibits the efforts towards such because all the attention is placed on just memorizing things and guesswork. Examinations are also influenced by errors from the teacher or even insistence on the students so they cannot be said to be reliable systems. 

Examinations mean that the students have to focus mainly on cramming without doing in-depth and intensive studying to grasp the subjects fully, but that is not all. The students seem to immediately forget everything that they have crammed immediately after the examination is over. What this implies is that the students are not even able to retain much knowledge and information. Hence, the purpose of the examination is defeated. 

Widespread Cheating

Another major point against examination is the widespread practice of cheating. Although it must be stated that there are stiff punishments and intense scrutiny surrounding examinations to deter students from cheating, this has not stopped students from engaging in all kinds of malpractices. 

Exam papers can be stolen or even forged before they reach the exam centers. There are reports of computers that have students’ exam grades being hacked into before they are officially released. Invigilators also find it difficult to police the students in the halls when examinations are going on. All these are pointed out as flaws of the examination system. 

Tests Can Damage Students’ Confidence

A bad grade can lead to long-standing damage to the psyche of a student. This has been pointed out over time by researchers in the field of education who have dedicated an impressive amount of time, energy, and resources to studying the effect and impact of results on students. 

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