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The usefulness of examinations

 
Examinations have been part and parcel of formal education for centuries. From this long history, it is obvious that examinations are thought to be necessary in education. Today, however, there are some arguments against the use of examinations alone to gauge the ability of a student. In my opinion, examinations have both advantages and disadvantages.

To begin with, examinations provide a convenient way of measuring what students know. To my knowledge, there is no easier method of checking how much a student has learnt. The students' performance in an examination also allows a teacher to check the effectiveness of his or her teaching methods. If necessary, the teacher can improve their methods in order to ensure that the students learn better.

Examinations are also a motivation for students to work hard to learn. Every parent is familiar with how difficult it is to get a child to study if there are no upcoming examinations to make them work. Without examinations, most students would not see the need to study. Besides the fear of failing examinations, the promise of rewards from teachers and parents for excellent results also serves as a powerful motivation for students to put more effort into their studies.

Nevertheless, examinations are limited in what they can test and are therefore not perfect as a means of gauging a student's ability. For one thing, examinations tend to evaluate a rather small part of learning. For example, an examination can test whether a student knows the steps in carrying out a scientific experiment, but it cannot find out if the student has any problem actually doing the experiment. Furthermore, there is no way that a written examination can test a student's soft skills such as social skills and the ability to work in a team.

In conclusion, examinations have had a long history in formal education, and it is unlikely that they will stop being used. They are useful for checking on what has been learnt and as a form of motivation for students to study. However, examinations have limitations. Hence, it is only logical to use other methods of gauging a student's ability along with examinations.

     
 
 
 

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