No exam, no effort

This post is rather late, since the big education discussion has come and gone.

I still find it ridiculous that all the adults involved seem to have completely forgotten the common attitude during their school days, when “will this be tested?” was the #1 question on every student’s lips. Woe to the teacher foolish enough to say “no”, because no student will be paying attention afterwards.

Non-examinable subjects like Art, Music, Physical Education and Home Economics have often been viewed as a chore by those students who are not inclined towards them. Some students and parents even think of them as a waste of time! The schools also devote the bare minimum of time and effort to teaching these subjects to the majority of students, except for the obviously talented prize-winning students.

When there are no consequences for poor performance (fail grades), and no rewards for good performance (“A” grades), how much effort do you think an adult, let alone a young child, will put into studying?

Not everything can be made fun and interesting. Basic mathematics still requires memorising multiplication tables and repeatedly practicing long division. Will students still have the motivation to go through hours of boring drills without the carrot-and-stick of exams? Without repeated drilling, will their foundations be good? Without exams, how will you judge whether the students have learned anything?

Examinations have their purpose. Let us not be too hasty in getting rid of a useful tool.

1 thought on “No exam, no effort

  1. Pingback: No exam, no effort (II) | Mad Science Laboratory

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