Aside from the debate about whether or not students should have school homework, another persistent matter has been discussed in the last few years: School Examinations.
Examinations, mainly traditional or standardized tests, are commonly used to assess a students’ capabilities, knowledge, and level of intelligence. It’s a conventional system widely practiced in almost all schools in many countries. And while tests have always been a part of the education system, their effectiveness has been debatable.
Some argue that tests serve a valuable purpose in improving students’ learning and evaluating students, while others believe tests can negatively affect the students and provide inaccurate results.
Below, we’ll discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks of giving examinations in school to help you better understand how exams affect you over time.
There is a poll at the end where you can vote and comment on this important debate question.
Pros Of Examinations
Improves Memory Retention
Studies have found that testing can help improve memory retention better than just studying the school material because the tests ask our brain to recall what we have read or learned over time from our memory. This process is called the testing effect.
As we try to recall what we have previously learned from our memory, also called retrieval practice, our brains organize the information and create cues and connections that form stronger memory traces. Because of this, the information we try to recall will be transferred to our long-term memory.
Think of it as a computer. Once you have saved files into your long-term memory, you can easily retrieve those files and apply the information for later use.
Examinations help broaden students’ knowledge because they are encouraged to study hard and focus on learning to pass the tests. In addition, the students’ knowledge increases by reviewing every material and researching new information to understand the lessons better and obtain answers.
Without exams, students will not be prompted to review and concentrate on their studies. Instead, they would rather spend time on other personal matters, such as socializing, playing games, and many more.
Identify Students’ Strengths And Weaknesses
Tests allow teachers and students to assess a student’s capabilities and strengths in terms of knowledge in subjects. It also helps teachers identify which areas need improvement or subjects to work on by looking at the student’s scores and providing feedback after.
Creates Healthy Competition
Exams, like games, create healthy competition among students and even among themselves because they are motivated to learn and strive harder to achieve high grades and give their best. It will also help prepare them for the current world, which undoubtedly, has competition too.
Provides Scholarships And A Bright Future
Students who score well in exams and can maintain good grades have higher chances of receiving scholarships to study at prestigious universities or any institute the student wishes to apply to. Scholarships allow students to study in reputable universities without worrying about the expenses. After graduation, students also have higher chances of getting a good job, resulting in a brighter future.
Cons of Examinations
Causes Anxiety And Tension
Even just hearing the word exam may bring stress and anxiety to students because they are pressured to perform well and achieve high scores. Preparing for exams can also be overwhelming for students, especially when there are many subjects to review.
Moreover, the thought of failing an exam may also cause more stress and more likely lead to serious health problems, especially if the students become solely focused on studying that they forget to take care of themselves. Due to stress, students are also more likely to suffer from burnout and mental health issues.
Negatively Impacts Students’ Confidence
Test scores can negatively impact students’ confidence, especially if they score low or fail. In addition, it can demoralize them as the assessment of the student’s capability is associated with their score.
Students are more likely to focus more on memorizing to score well in an exam, but, in turn, will hamper learning because they will not be able to comprehend the concepts better.
It also restricts the effectiveness and creativity of teachers because they will likely stick to traditional teaching techniques rather than trying new ones. This can limit the potential of the student’s learning.
Moreover, it creates a culture where exams and test results are more valued than learning.
Comparison Among Students
Test results can create comparisons about the learning capability among students. For example, students who got a higher score will be compared to students who score lower.
There may also be instances when parents are more likely to compare their children with other kids. Also, students may compare themselves to others, which will create problems and frustrations in life.
It’s important to remember that every student comprehends differently and learns at their own pace.
It Doesn’t Measure Intelligence
A student’s intelligence cannot be measured through test scores alone because scores are easily impacted by external factors, such as stress, the difficulty of tests, tiredness, hunger, and other factors, resulting in lower scores.
Some people are just better at taking tests and score well even if they don’t truly understand the material. They may only study what is likely to be on the exam. Students that take longer to learn things, or have a learning disability, often understand the material better and in greater depth than quick learners. They can apply it in highly creative ways that are not measured on tests. Thomas Edison never attended college and his teachers thought he was a slow learner, but went on to be one of the greatest inventors of all time.
Exams also only measure a limited scope of other important learning skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
What are your thoughts on this? Please vote below and give the reason or any thoughts in the comments.