Should Exams be Abolished in Favor of Another Form of Assessment?

Should Exams be Abolished in Favor of Another Form of Assessment?

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Should Exams be abolished in Favor of another Form of Assessment?

            Most students are not fond of examinations because of the stake they hold on their future. The first examination assessment is traceable back to Ancient China is 605 AD. In England, the examination system was adopted in 1806; they were put in place for people who were serving in the royal service. Later on, the exams were modeled for students, and this spread to other parts of the world. Currently, exams are the most important form of assessment. Oral examinations were the norm for institutions until 1850 when British Universities adopted standardized written exams for the learners. To date, tests are still established as the best form of assessment, and the benefits to students make it difficult to abolish.

            Teachers can know if students have understood concepts using exam assessments. The population of classrooms does not make it tenable for teachers to have a one on one interaction with each student (Krishnamurthy & Subbarao, 2015). Consequently, it is impossible for teachers to know how well individual students have grasped the concepts. Exams expose the strength and weaknesses of individual students. In that regard, the teacher can make a follow up with individual students with specific weaknesses. Some teachers also prefer to group students according to their strengths and weakness in class discussions to improve their understanding of concepts.

            Examinations are also an essential tool for self-assessment. Students use exams to understand their areas of weakness. From the assessments, students can understand the areas that they need to improve on (Pugh, Desjardins, & Eva, 2018). In that aspect, they may seek help from their teachers or fellow students. Additionally, more effort and time is put in at the areas of weakness. The student is an all-around performer. Education aims to improve on areas of weakness and to improve on strengths. Examinations can achieve all that.

            Examination assessments improve the level of competition among the students. The ability of students is measured at an individual level. Consequently, students try to do their best to emerge the best (Thompson, Kelso, Ward, Wines, & Hanna, 2016). Competition improves the focus of individuals because emerging as one of the best is a form of gratification. On the other hand, performing poorly is depressing, and it pushes people to put in more effort in future. However, cutthroat competition has been seen as one of the disadvantages of examination as a means of assessment. Nevertheless, the advantages of examination outweigh the avoidable disadvantages.

            Examination assessments are also used as criteria to assess the ability and gifting of individuals. Human beings have different strengths and weaknesses (Klinger, 2017). Consequently, students gifted in one subject might find challenges in understanding another subject. Similarly, a student might be poor in academics but gifted in other areas such as art or music. Examinations provide parents and teachers with the opportunity to figure out the ability in individual students. In that regard, students are redirected to classes that suit their gifts and talents.

            Examinations assessments are used by companies and other hiring entities to pick members of staff best suited for their organizations. For instance, a good performer in mathematics would most likely do well in a finance company (Birenbaum et al., 2015). However, in evaluating the suitability of a member of staff other criteria such as character and personality traits are assessed. However, the most important is academic qualifications. Individuals are advised to perform well in education first before venturing to their interests.

            The pressure in examinations is seen as one of the main disadvantages. However, it is helpful for students because it prepares them for future challenges. Life is full of difficulties and individuals are required to cope. Students are shielded from the challenges by their parents, but once they are done with school, they have to measure up to the world on their own. The pressure of examinations is almost like the challenges since one has to face them alone. In that regard, individuals can stand tall when they are put to the test by the difficulties of life.

            Incorporating other means of assessment with education is possible. For instance, students in institutions of higher learning are taken through industrial attachments to assess their qualification in a particular field (Birenbaum et al., 2015). The industrial assessment is done together with written evaluations. In the end, the performance of the student is checked based on the weighting merit system. For this reason, examinations assessments are flexible, and they can be altered to meet the demands of a specific area of specialization.

            Examination assessments can be standardized for all of the people taking it. Standardization is a measure that guarantees quality (Birenbaum et al., 2015). Institutions of higher learning and potential employers are guaranteed that individuals who have attained a specific mark are all able to accomplish a particular task correctly. Additionally, standardized examinations ensure equality. Students have assured fairness if all of them are assured the same kind of assessment. Consequently, excelling in the exam is a head start in attaining certain dreams and ambitions.

            The performance of teachers and tutors is also assessed by how well students do in the examinations. Qualified and competent teachers guide students to good levels of success (Birenbaum et al., 2015). However, some teachers have little regard for the well being of the student, and that derails the performance. Parents can tell if the student is receiving the required quality of education judging by their performance in examinations. Parent-teacher conferences are arranged to discuss the performance such concerns are raised.

            Examinations as a means of assessment have proved its worth throughout history. However, some challenges have emerged about the system of evaluation, but it is outweighed by the utilities. It is not possible to substitute examinations with other modes of assessment because none has attained the same level of success. On the other hand, entrenching a new system requires significant investments in labor and equipment. Additionally, it would take a considerable amount of time to align the new system with the market demands of an employee. Examinations instill a certain level of discipline in the students that is necessary for performance. Virtues obtained from education are helpful to an individual at all stages of life, for instance, on the importance of practice to ensure perfection. Abolishing exams in favor of other forms of assessment would mean that the system is no longer useful to the students or the society. However, that is not the case, the means of assessment is still competent is evaluating students and it is churning the required level of personnel to the society. However, more can be done to improve the quality of the system regarding compatibility and relevance to the current market trends.


Birenbaum, M., DeLuca, C., Earl, L., Heritage, M., Klenowski, V., Looney, A., … & Wyatt-Smith, C. (2015). International trends in the implementation of assessment for learning: Implications for policy and practice. Policy Futures in Education13(1), 117-140.

Klinger, D. (2017). The evolving culture of large-scale assessments in Canadian education. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, (76).

Krishnamurthy, K., & Subbarao, K. S. V. K. (2015). Assessment, evaluation, and examinations: Points to ponder. Narayana Medical Journal4(2), 60-68.

Pugh, D., Desjardins, I., & Eva, K. (2018). How do formative objective structured clinical examinations drive learning? Analysis of residents’ perceptions. Medical Teacher40(1), 45-52.

Thompson, A. R., Kelso, R. S., Ward, P. J., Wines, K., & Hanna, J. B. (2016). Assessment driven learning: The use of higher-order and discipline-integrated questions on gross anatomy practical examinations. Medical Science Educator, 26(4), 587-596.

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