It’s that time of the year again when kids are stressing themselves out into a break down. The pressure they put on themselves is enormous, but the external pressure is extraordinary. Students spend hours revising topics that may not even come up on the day of the exam. Whilst exams and tests will always remain ingrained in schools, there has been a recent trend of students being able to do more vocational activities and maybe its time to review our traditional education system.
Although I enjoyed much of my education, as I grew older it was clear to see that my education was changing. I was no longer being taught to learn things, I was being taught how to take exams. The teaching syllabus would be less about us learning new topics and more about how we answer questions when they come up in an exam. It’s important that teachers are allowed to teach and students are allowed to learn. For me, the current education system isn’t allowing that and we are not seeing enough teaching of skills and knowledge.
Another complaint is that exams just aren’t the best gauge of skills. To get into certain jobs you must have a certain amount of qualifications, however some of these qualifications aren’t necessary for the job and are harming kids career choices. There’s no qualifications for critical thinking, hard work and dedication, things that are important in the work place. A student may be the best at those three things, but if they aren’t the best at science then they can be immediately overlooked.
Another problem is that students can have incredibly poor attendance but still pass. If they don’t show up, they don’t learn, but all students have to do is look at the exam criteria and know what they need to do in order to pass. Thus they are not learning and growing as humans, but passing anyway.
Tests allow for no creativity. All students have to do is answer what the marker wants to hear. However, they are a good measuring device to know a students knowledge on certain areas of their education, even if they do block creativity.
The whole exam process and build up can be exhausting and physically and mentally draining. Pupils at Britain’s schools are suffering from a rise in self-harm, anorexia, and other mental health issues because of a focus on “constant testing”, a study has found, according to the Independent. The pressure of doing well in numerous exams in the short space of a month is causing mental health problems amongst students. Whilst I was growing up there was a student at a local school that took his own life due to the pressures of exams. Needless to say there is definitely a pattern that exams can cause illnesses amongst students. It’s damaging.
Thankfully we see alternatives with some subjects, such as coursework, dissertations and vocational activities. However, exams are still largely the main part of education. Education needs to modernise. Tests will always remain a large part of education, but it’s important we establish alternatives so we are not restricting future generations. Exams shouldn’t decide their fates.