Is it the question of necessity?


By Kavya Prasad

Congratulations to The Young Vision for opening a ‘Straight Talk’ on one of today’s most trending topics – Are examinations necessary?  I was just following the news of the recently held 10th board exams in India and the mass copying and cheating adopted by students of some state schools there.

Why is this happening? Is it because students can’t cope or aren’t motivated enough? I believe exams must be progressive, not regressive. They must be standardised tests that use methodologies appropriate to student ages or levels irrespective of curricula. This will lead to exams being recognised and accepted widely rather than being marginalised and masked by country, syllabus, or cut-off ranges. Exams must be more subjective – to show the way forward, and not objective – caging the capabilities of a student.

Today, different curricula follow different strategies. Some don’t have tests at all until students finish primary levels of schooling, whereas others have an overload of the same. Where and how do we find the right balance? If only there was more commonality, the vast majority of high schoolers wouldn’t have to sit for other external exams such as the SATs at the end of a dozen years of “regular” study.

Educators should come up with some common rules across different boards to simplify the same. Indian schools have rigorous testing even for moral values and physical education, which according to me are more practical than theoretical subjects and can only be tested for behaviour or aptitude respectively and over a period of time, rather than marking them against a readymade answer key!

Students today copy and paste assignments from different sources and are more bothered about deadlines rather than grasping concepts. Vast portions and the lack of time have resulted in the mushrooming of tuition centres. Unless senior educators and subject experts are stirred to act and innovate, exams will only be a bother causing stress and not a breather leading to fulfilling careers ahead of us.