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How examinations can be considered as a parameter of holistic development

Traditional exams are designed in such a way that students need to merely memorise information and not develop a comprehensive understanding of the concepts.

How examinations can be considered as a parameter of holistic development
Concepts should be given the utmost priority.

By Anirban Aditya

Examinations should address the individuality of students

A class has many students, who are different from each other and perceive knowledge at their own pace. Examinations are designed in such a way that they do not address the uniqueness of each student. A question paper would be perceived differently by different individuals, which would produce different answers. Currently, the prevailing education system has a tendency of limiting the answers to certain keywords, which when not written would not be considered right. However, examinations should not be blamed, as they are the only way to measure the learning of students. The things that need to be changed lie in the way examinations are executed.

Concepts should be given the utmost priority

Traditional exams are designed in such a way that students need to merely memorise information and not develop a comprehensive understanding of the concepts. It has been seen that the concepts that students memorise without understanding do not stay in their minds in the long run, countering the entire notion of learning. The outcomes of tests get the utmost priority in traditional exams, which needs to be changed. Teachers should not specify keywords for the right answers as it restricts students’ urge to perceive knowledge. Instead, question papers can be designed in such a way that they can rightly judge the knowledge of the students rather than their skills to memorize. That would be a fair mode of assessing one’s knowledge or learning. 

Changes that need to be implemented while conducting examinations

The traditional style of exams fails to assess the knowledge gained by students accurately. Usually, students memorise their syllabus and write down answers as specified. Their critical thinking skills are not being embraced through such practices. Therefore, certain changes need to be brought in the way examinations are designed to ensure a holistic learning experience for successful individuals of the future. 

These changes need to be implemented: 

Incorporating questions to evaluate logical reasoning and critical thinking skills among students: Most students tend to memorise concepts without understanding them. They write the answers that they memorise without even analysing the question properly. This shows that traditional exams assess the capability of students to memorise and not their understanding of the topic. In order to solve this, question papers can include questions that can evaluate their logical and critical thinking skills.

Exams should be a choice: This statement might sound like a sin but we see that the academic calendar that is provided to students at the beginning of the academic year marks the different seasons of examinations. Providing a specific time to learn various topics counters the individuality of students. Every student is different from the others even if they are of the same age, culture, or background, as every child’s brain is designed differently, distinguishing their capability to learn and perceive. Thus, students should be given the required time to study and exams should be conducted whenever they feel ready. 

Focusing on practical exams is more important: The ability of students to solve a question paper efficiently does not prove that they can implement this knowledge in real life when required. Therefore, the practical experience should be on top of the priority list. Thus, colleges and universities have implemented practical work experience in their academic curriculum to understand whether they can implement their learning effectively. Moreover, presentations and reports have gained more popularity, as we have been trying to bring a change in the education system.

Education should be an experience and not just a mere necessity

School culture can shape students’ lives in various ways and so can examinations. A rich curriculum full of new experiences, resources and expertise in the form of teachers apart from theoretical learning can provide students with a unique experience of learning. We should thrive to provide such an experience to students making their academic life a memorable one with less stress and more memories.

The author is chairman, Aditya Group, India. Views are personal.

Also Read: British Council partners with Tamil Nadu to enhance English communication skills and teaching methodology

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