This evening, I learned that the exams my daughters wrote last week, will not be returned. For the sake of maintaining the security of the exams, which I presume will be used again and again, exam-writers will never see how their responses were graded.
Am I alone in shaking my head at this reality?
Why I Dislike Exams
Too often, exams test 'facts' which any student would be able to find via Google.
Too often, exams are completed only with paper and pencil.
Too often, exam results comprise a significant proportion of a student's final grade.
Too often, exams are most stressful to those least likely to benefit from the experience.
Too often, exams are ineffective in their attempts to assess learning that took place throughout an entire course.
Too often, the knowledge and understanding demonstrated through exams, cannot be repeated in days following the exam.
Too often, exams test language skills, rather than course specific expectations.
Too often, final grades are the only feedback students get on their exam experience.
Too often, exams measure knowledge and understanding, completely devoid of meaningful context.
I've heard the argument that we need exams to prepare students for university... Yet, in some places policies exist to exempt the very students who might one day have to write post-secondary exams. Are exemptions a way to reward high achievers, or a way to penalize low achievers?
As observant teachers grow in confidence, assessing the learning of their students through rich day-to-day experiences, perhaps the authority long held by written tests, will be gradually diminish...
Photo Credit: Jon Oakley; COCOEN