In schools, most courses finish with a final exam to assess a students ability. However, some people do not do well in exams. Therefore academic success should not be measured by exam performance but by an overall grade based on the whole period of study. Do you agree or disagree?
Formal testing has often relied on an end of year assessment of a candidate's knowledge, but in many respects this is perhaps unfair, as will now be explained. The principle argument against using exams is that some students, although competent, simply do not respond well to formal testing. Exam nerves are common, and in extreme cases can cause a form of mental paralysis in which the student is unable perform at all. In an average class of 20 or so students, there is statistically at least one or two students who do not manage the pressure of exams well, and fail to produce results that are a reflection of their true abilities. Another strong argument is that some areas of study do not lend themselves to traditional exams. A clear example of this can be seen in certain trade based courses, where a long written examination is not an accurate method of assessment, and a more practical approach would be preferred. Carpentry, for example, would be best assessed by what the trainee has made over the course of study, not what they can write about in a two or three hour exam at the end of the year. Granted, there are some fields of study that are perhaps best tested in the traditional style. For example, science or medicine based courses require a level of academic knowledge that can be evaluated through a formal assessment. In conclusion, although certain subjects may be assessed in the traditional manner, it would perhaps be more balanced to assess a student's ability based on work they have completed over the whole period of study rather than a single written exam. (276 words – band 9).
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