Are Exams A Relevant Form Of Assessment In The Education System?

2381 words - 10 pages

It was on a clear sunny day, when I peered out through the window adjacent to my study desk and there in plain sight, the hostel’s jacaranda trees were in full bloom. After having spent two years in a hostel at my former high school, my fellow classmates and I had come to associate the blooming of jacaranda trees as a sign of the beginning of mid-term exams. It is ironic how whenever I looked at the beautiful scenery formed by the blooming jacarandas, it sent shivers down my whole body as the exams approached instead of me enjoying Mother Nature. Exams were upon us and all one could hear throughout the hostel in the different dormitories, was the frantic flipping of pages as we all tried to maximize on our “last minute studying” time. I for one had been procrastinating and was trying to “stuff” my brain with all my notes and the complex formulas in preparation for the chemistry mid-term exam that I was sitting for the following day. The time to face “our demons” arrived. As my classmates and I entered the exam room and from the looks on people’s faces, one could almost accurately separate those that were prepared for the exam and those that were not. Nonetheless, we all sat down in our designated places and took the exam under the watchful eye of the invigilator.
A few weeks down the line, our teacher gave us back the exam results that were in their own way a bag of surprises as those who were dubbed as intelligent students had done poorly on the exam and the not so intelligent students had scored high. My teacher was puzzled by these results and to help him comprehend fully what had happened he asked each student for an honest feedback about the exam. He soon discovered that the reason why my classmates and I (his top students) had not performed well was due to lack of preparation which translated to minimum time spent cramming concepts. Those who had scored highly on the exam did not understand any of the concepts, but had effectively crammed the information and simply regurgitated it for the exam explaining the almost perfect scores. The other category of people had not done well on the exam, because of stress and anxiety. This turn out of events gave rise to my teacher and me questioning the effectiveness of exam taking to gauge how intelligent one is, and whether or not it shows that one has fully grasped the concepts taught in class. In light of this, we can see that there are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to taking an exam. Exams, are they the best form of assessing one’s intellectual capability or assessing his or her academic prowess?
Students like me, these days are concerned about the amount of time that is spent on exam preparation, and all the stress that is suffered because of it. It is well known that a majority of young people become frustrated when they fail an examination which they might have prepared for a whole year in advance. Gabriel Brum, a former student himself and holder of a Master’s Degree in...


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