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Exams - Are these really the way forward??


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#1 Bladesfan

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 03:36 PM

It occured to me that I picked up my results today that my dad would probably not be happy regardless of what was on the little white slip. As it was, my college results from my January exams weren't too bad, an A in Sociology (ecstatic) and a D in Maths (not great).
My dad went ballistic at the D in maths, and seemed to expect an A from me in both results, showing no emotion towards my sociology grade. It was at this point, sat on the sofa, I realized what is, in my opinion one of the biggest failings of education: exams.
Exams gear us towards learning specific information relevant to a subject in a specific way. In my eyes, they channel us towards learning the minimum required to pass the exam. Instead of focusing on teaching a wide knowledge of a subject, teachers second-guess what they believe will be on the exam and teach solely that information.
But what I find most frustrating about exams is that you could have one off day (like I did on my maths, felt rotten all day, though this didnt seem to lighten the blow from pops in the slightest >.<) and your grade is blown. The whole system of education, and jobs, revolves around earning grades in order to gain a job, with stigma attached to courses (such as english and maths) and the older, more traditional universities. Education is no longer put in place to inform, but simply as a means to an end.

I understand I've created a very biased opinion through this post, and hope that you either strengthen or counter this argument in your posts :D
Are exams beneficial or destructive to education?

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#2 chris13579

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 07:00 PM

I don't think exams help school for the most part.  They only test tiny pieces of what you actually know on a subject and depending on how the test is written they can be very inaccurate.

#3 PneumaRaven

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 03:15 AM

When it came to the exams in my report cards in the K-12 system, I tended to do well in every subject BUT math, and I felt that a single bad grade kind of canceled out all the others in the eyes of the school district (e.g. you may be seen in the same category as someone who gets ALL D's and F's, even if you have only one F and the rest of your grades are A's and B's). Hence, you might be disqualified from some academic programs and opportunities. This can be VERY demotivating.

Heck, I'm still horrible with algebra, but that hasn't stopped me from pursuing my B.A. I even pulled off a B in the single required math course (not algebra, thankfully).
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#4 blight

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 08:22 PM

This may or not apply to this lol its about 7 yr olds taking exams in the uk....ok Not no more but ya lol :P

http://www.thesun.co...icle1754258.ece
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#5 lovingfamilyof5

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 09:42 AM

I don't think exams are really worth the time for others. In my opinion you learn throughout your school years and what should matter is the grades you get during those times not what is on a silly test that they give you once in a blue moon..

I think someone with an average education has a greater chance of getting a job then someone with higher or lower education.. Haven't you ever see people get turned away from a job even with a education higher then 80% of the US because the employer was too worried that you would be a replacement for them?? An others with lower education well as all knows you cant have a person with a elementary education working to make something we use on a daily bases.. Yeah don't want to buy a broom only to get it home and it cut your hand off or something because a first grader put it together.. (though that would be pretty funny to see in a weird kind of way.. I have a weird kind of humor..morbid maybe?) :P

#6 Mistybabe

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 03:24 PM

I had friends in high school who's father was the high school biology/chem teacher. Those poor girls weren't allowed to hardly sleep for 3 weeks leading up to exams. If they got less then 95%..they were grounded.To me.. exams are a waste. All they are is a tiny iota of information taught to you over the course of the year..or 1/2 year..however it's done everywhere. It's a "recap" and not always of the information and stuff you learned that you really do or will need to know. As a parent .. exams aren't "all that" to me. I'm more impressed and pleased with what they do throughout the school year. It's quite easy to get nervous/anxious when facing a huge final..easy to forget and draw a blank on question any other day of the year you could answer immediately.

I wish exams were eliminated..or at least didn't have that big of a count towards a final grade. I know for myself sometimes it was that final exam that caused my grade to drop.
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#7 Bladesfan

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 04:52 PM

These replies have been fascinating, cheers guys! Wish I had the nerve to show them to my dad :P XD

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#8 JerrySizzler

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 01:43 PM

I got pretty good grades all through high school and college (3.8 GPA), but I can honestly say they're weren't too many exams that I felt were actually a fair test of my knowledge.   The problem is an exam cannot really test how well you understand something it just tests how well you recall something at that particular moment.   Essay tests are a little better than multiple choice tests, but still usually focus on memorization.  I rarely "studied" for tests, because I found that "cramming" right before a test worked just fine..   There were some classes where I barely even cracked open the textbook yet I still got an A in the class because I figured out how what sort of question to expect on the test...  But if you asked me now to recall what I learned in some of those classes.... well, not much.

I understand that teachers need some semi- objective way to rate your performance, but I don't think tests are the answer... they should move towards more papers & projects because I think that's where I really learned stuff.

Edited by JerrySizzler, 01 April 2009 - 01:45 PM.

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#9 Makaveliarts

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 12:35 AM

I don't think exams are totally useless. They ensure people know the most important facts. I do agree that exams are over used and not helping education.
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#10 lhanie09

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:11 PM

i don't really believe that not all exams are the right tools to test the student's knowledge. A student can perfect an exam, but that doesn't necessarily mean learning has occurred. For me, there are different types of learning in life. Exams are just a part of learning in school. I've met people who didn't excel in school but became very successful in life. As for my part, I used to excel in my student days, but right now I haven't been successful. So for me, exams really mean nothing. Whether you got perfect or zero, all students are equal.




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