Why we have exams
A few thoughts on why exams are both a useful tool to help society place the right people in the right jobs and at the same time can cause misery and mis direction when they are mis used and mis placed.
So often public exams such as GCSE and A levels can be accused of not testing what they set out to test. Public exams have the high aim of testing subject knowledge. Which, if tested well will allow for the intelligence of the candidate sitting the exam to shine through.
When exams are done badly or sat in in a punitive spirit the public exams, typically GCSE and A levels can be seen to be a punishment for life. A badge of dis honour.
Anxiety of exam sitting have distorted plenty of children’s summer fun plans of mucking about while waiting and revising for their GCSEs.
Plenty of pupils have not played a summer game of cricket to sit down and revise for their A levels or GCSEs. While in the worst case, pupils have felt so utterly horrified of seemingly failing the exam that they have self harmed.
And yet we continue to find the services of GCSEs and A levels exams grading tools to select for professions and courses at university.
A subject well taught and suitably tested in an exam will provide the pupil with a full breadth of the subject at the suitable level. With the pupils intelligence and the teachers guidance, the pupil will get to grips with the subject and be able to demonstrate this in an exam.
How else can we test the intelligence and subject understanding for pupils without using exams? No doubt, that suitable sensible testing at some point to give guidance for the future learning pathway of a pupil has value. While working to keep in check the rise of study drugs as performance enhancers in exams.
We owe it to the future generations to find a way of testing intelligence we can free up the summer time of youth and provide them with the a more anxious free teenage life while getting the guidance that universities and professions want.