Are examinations effective tools to measure learning? Well, Yes and No. Ideally, learning should be spontaneous. However, there has to be a proper system to assess the effectiveness of the youngsters’ learning in school and hence examinations are introduced.
A very common debate among parents and educational specialists often revolve around whether examinations are the cause of learning or merely a platform to check on learning progress. Would learning become less stressful and more enjoyable if there were no examinations to take and hence no grading to compare with our peers? On the other hand, some critics have raised their concern that if learning can be done casually with no examinations, would the young learners then take it seriously?
Examinations have been a crucial part of the formal education system for many years although the way they are conducted has been revised many times, ranging from the paper and pen assessment to project-based and even mentoring and tutoring! Most of us have came to accept that it is a valid accreditation process to witness that the learning process has indeed taken place. However, the flip side of the examination system has also created a group of ”exam-smart” students who ”specialised” in tackling examination questions and strived to be an expert in these techniques but gradually ”forget” the facts that are studied or learned in the process as it is deemed to have achieved its objectives after they have passed the examinations.
Perhaps, the crux of the issue lies on the level of emphasis placed on the learning process itself and the examination results that follows. Unless the level of participation in the learning process and the ability to apply the knowledge gained to solve actual live problems are given greater emphasis than the examination results, the learning process may not reach its ultimate objective.
Conversely, it is sad to note that on the other side of the spectrum, there are also people who develop examination phobia or dislike learning due to the stress brought about by school examinations! As such, it all boils down to the proper acceptance and enforcement of examinations as well as the correct attitude towards learning. Last but not least, one cannot deny that carefully crafted examination formats can certainly be a good gauge of one’s learning!