After the initial clusterfuck in the UK around cancelling the summer exams across the board, things have now started to settle down. Teacher assessments have taken the place of exams. Not counting the stress of the initial clusterfuck, how easy was that!?
Imagine studying all year, having a great relationship with teacher(s), and getting assessed, knowing your progress throughout the year and getting guidance without a continued plunge into the terror of the examination abyss. Nothing wrong with the odd quiz here and there to gauge individual points. Nothing wrong with the odd project here and there to teach the skills required in the real world. But exams? Seriously if the teacher doesn’t know the state and potential of the student, then there’s something wrong.
It’s also about respect. From my point of view in my 40’s (yes I’m old(ish)), the children of today seem to have a problem with teachers, with violence in classrooms etc. Would those attitudes leave the room if the children in question knew their future depends on the teachers? Would removal of both coursework and exams, and their replacement with bite sized quizzes and continual in-person assessment in turn remove the stress causing the bad attitudes? Would removing exams and coursework reboot the system?
It’s my opinion that it would also work for higher level assessments, there’s nothing to stop the teacher assessments and bite sized quiz system being worked all the way up the educational system, and into the professional post-education world. How many brilliant people (and yes, it’s all about individuals) have fallen from professional fields where they may have been shining stars through failed exams. It’s simply not right that a three hour exam determines futures of an individual who has diligently studied, and in some cases practised their craft for years – surely the tempered and peer reviewed assessment from their mentor / teacher would be more accurate?
Humans are a funny animal – daily we navigate mazes of our own making, we’re making each other into lab-mice. WE put in place these systems to put each other under stress – Admittedly I sound like some kind of space-hippy, but whatever, it’s time for a change, and perhaps we can break the human condition in this one tiny example – bright enough to know what’s happening – too stupid to do anything about it. Come on Humanity, break the stupid and move on.