What if…

What if we lived in a world where exams didn’t exist?

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.


  1. Totally disagree! You’ll be telling us to become vegans next! Stress, pressure and discipline is learnt through study and indeed exams. Being slightly older than you, pre GCSE exams. Coursework meant nothing. The terror and fear of an exam room is character forming. It meant you had to actually work to get results and not lick some teachers arse. The only person that had your future was you and not some tree hugging pastoral figure that likes suck ups. In fact, bring back the cane to educational institutions. Stop pandering and pampering to our future Prime Ministers and Presidents. Harden them up. Teach them, don’t just hand things to them on a plate. If something ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it. Record high results in the U.K. this year? Yes, cos no brat sat an exam. How well does a teacher need to know a student before grading their future? Nah, make them sit the torturous exams and harden them up. There are enough privileged brats called Rupert and Alison shopping at Waitrose, we don’t need any more!

    1. That’s like saying if one was were, then all who follow must be abused. Break the cycle ???? There are many hardships and experiences which break you in life, why make artificial ones? They’ll soon learn when they get graded down because the teachers agree they’re little pricks… later on in life not getting a pay rise Because they can’t apply themselves… just the same result, possibly more gentle.

      1. I still believe in teaching them young to apply themselves for results and not just accept what’s given to them. It’s like plaiting snot, it’s ethereal and has no substance. As a form of abuse, I believe that exams are a much underrated form that do need to continue. The cycle doesn’t need breaking. The little pricks need to learn before they get to real adulthood in a workplace or else workplaces will suffer with their inadequacies. They may not get a pay rise as they didn’t apply themselves but to what did they not apply themselves? Poor Customer Service, poor work ethics, poor construction. Don’t let it get that far. It’s like a little chip in your car windscreen. If you don’t get it sorted then it gets bigger and bigger. It becomes a safety issue, you fail your MOT, the whole windscreen shatters. Get it when it is small and deal with it. Same with a young persons mind!
        Just for the record and for other Spabbit subscribers, I am NOT a parent! I wasn’t allowed to breed, not sure why, but I do shop in Waitrose!

        1. It’s still the same result at the end of the day, those who aren’t worthy will still fail and have to pick themselves up from the floor to continue, or not. No exams means a more genuine assessment of the individual over the course of their experience and output – an exam in most cases tests only what an individual can cram in the days before it, not genuine aptitude and ability.

          Don’t look at me, every exam or test I’ve had from the age of 17 onwards I’ve not studied for, and usually got smashed off me face the night before – if you don’t know your shit at the end of the course, it’s dishonest to just cram.

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