Opinion Essay

Continuous assessment may be better than final exams

The current trend in education is to move away from traditional exams and instead have a continuous assessment over the school year. What do you think of this trend?

A school system that we may all be used to is one in which we are taught various subjects for an extended period of time and at the end of that period- be it a semester, trimester or year- we are given an exam that would test our understanding of everything we’ve learned so far (or our understanding of specific topics in the syllabus). This is the system that is followed by a majority of schools across the world. However, there are many problems with it.

The first problem is that it leads to students adopting a notorious study technique: cramming. Students are not given the incentive to stay up-to-date on what they are learning throughout the year. It is sufficient that they know enough of the required content for the exam to pass it. Of course, some ambitious students with a good work ethic may choose to revise consistently throughout the year so that they learn the material effectively. The vast majority of students, though, don’t. Instead, they wait until a few weeks or even days before the exam to study for it.

Of course, we can say that students should be self-motivated enough to follow the right study methods and revise the content regularly. But can we blame them when the system itself is designed that way? The traditional testing system motivates students to leave all their studying to some time before the tests. Moreover, it instils in their minds that the primary purpose of studying all these subjects is to get a good grade in the final exams.

This is problematic, which is why I believe that continuous assessments throughout the school year are more effective in maximizing student learning. Students will now have the motivation to study routinely as they want to get a good grade in these assignments. Hence, this is a positive trend.

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