APPROACHING the year end, one probably knows how most children and their parents are feeling: more and more stressed due to all-important examinations.
Unfortunately, to most people, exams appear to hang over children’s minds as something that will make or break their future.
Exams do have a positive purpose, for example, to assess a child’s skills and progress, areas in which a child might
need help and to prepare children for the pressure of higher education, work and future life.
|If the child want to sleep during lessons, let them sleep ....
Learners have to be assessed not only for their own benefit but also to evaluate the efficacy of teaching.
But evaluating through exams and other forms of assessment, the children’s ability to learn and acquire knowledge should go hand-in-hand with learning to think about the methods they use to solve issues, the application of those skills, and encouraging creativity and lateral thinking.
Education should give everyone equal opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills, common values as well as a sense of responsibility to succeed in life and become responsible and productive citizens.
That being the purpose of education, it is necessary to identify and institute the means to evaluate the extent to which the teaching and learning processes have fulfilled the aim in ways that won’t cause a child trauma, besides creating social problems and undue concerns about the future.
Students, from their earliest schooling years, need to be attuned by teachers and parents as to what learning is all about, what their expectations should be, and what’s expected of them, including the purpose of, and how they should respond to, exams and assessments.
Data collection of a series of test results is not assessment and retention of a packet of knowledge is not learning.
Making regular evaluation of a child’s capability, potential and interests is typically for teacher and student to determine what the student knows, understands or is able to do, depending on the content and style of, for instance, a test.
Most tests can be considered status reports or what is termed “formative assessment”.
It isn’t a finished picture but a guideline to the gaps that need working on.
Standardised exams, on the other hand, measure performance using a common yardstick that is independent of class or school tests and assessments.
This gives everyone, potentially, a window into how a student is doing relative to wider national norms or learning objectives.
The ways to objectively evaluate students — utilising the power of video, the Internet, interactive means, group interaction, project learning and other methods and techniques — should show how well they have grasped concepts, synthesised information, developed ideas they can articulate coherently and intelligently, and found approaches to solve problems.
In that context, while it is necessary to recognise that no single method or manner of assessment is without inadequacy, exams, tests and the like have an important and complementary role.
In any learning environment, learners have to be assessed comprehensively and objectively, not only for their own benefit but also to evaluate the efficacy of teaching and the education system as a whole. Rueben Dudley, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. The NST Letters 1 OCTOBER 2014 @ 8:11 AM