Why Tests / Exams are Bad for Students?
Why Tests / Exams are Bad for Students?
We are breathing in the modern era where all aspects of human lives have evolved. Old-fashioned norms are changing rapidly in all spheres of human life. Like change in all other aspects of life, the education field has evolved with passage of time. Modern approaches and theories for learning brought significant changes in the field of learning. In some regions of the world, old educational norms are still in practice. We should quit old-fashioned learning strategies like annual tests, cramming, excessive dictation, and memorization. We should adopt a different approach to prepare our children for a better life rather than focusing on getting good grades on a piece of paper. In this article, we will highlight some bad impacts of the annual, bi-annual or semester based examination system on children and young students.
Annual Examination System
Exams are one of the most important parts of school life. Students at schools and colleges strive to achieve good grades, which determines their academic success and shapes their job career. Annual exams are held after a period of twelve months and bi-annual exams are held after six months of the start of classes. In the semester examination system, an academic year is divided into two parts and each semester exam is taken after a period of six months.
All types of above exams have an enormous impact on the lives of students. They have good and bad sides being constructive as well as destructive for the students. Constructive examinations prepare a student for a bright future while destructive examinations create unnecessary stress and competition among students. These exams and tests are sole determiner of students’ success and sometimes this system fails to show real potential in students.
The last month of the academic year is completely devoted to final exams that leave a bad impact on students. Bad impacts include unwanted stress, sleeplessness, unbalanced diet, excessive work, fatigue, health problems and lack of confidence. After exams, waiting for the result is also destructive. Let us discuss all these issues in detail.
Impacts of Exams on Lives of Students
Now we will discuss the bad impacts of exams on the lives of students.
1. Source of Stress and Pressure
Exams are a source of stress and pressure for the students. Fatigue, stress, pressure, and mental tension create fear and hatred for the exam. Stress and pressure leads to loss of interest in studies. The fear of failure after exams also becomes a cause of stress and anxiety for the students.
The stress of exams creates an unproductive environment for studying that leads to poor exam results. The poor result leads to loss of confidence among students. The stress of exams ultimately leads to physical symptoms such as headaches and numbness.
2. Exams as a Formality
Many students are unable to identify the real purpose of education. They took it as a formal routine of their life to pass exam over exam to find an admission in a university or a good job. Examinations do not measure skills among students but only superficial knowledge achieved by cramming. A student who is good at cramming will get good grades while a student with a creative mind will end up with unsatisfactory results. Some students fail to get a good score even knowing all because they do not face the pressure of exam.
In the examination system, all the students are tested with the same pattern while each student has different abilities. This approach is unjust for those students who do not perform well in written exams but they are good in laboratories and have innovative and creative approaches. When a creative mind student is bound to a syllabus book to pass an exam; his creativity dies. Some students are good at arts, some are good at mathematics, some have good communication skills, some have creative minds and some are good at cramming a book in a few days. Therefore, each student should be tested according to his ability.
In exams. Only one boy gets first position but many have different abilities. Each student should be evaluated according to his ability and awarded accordingly. However, in the examination system, it is not possible.
3. Loss of Confidence
Building confidence among students is one of the main objectives of school education. However, many students fail to gain confidence due to the bad examination system. Failure in exams leads to loss of confidence for many students. Some students perform well during the whole year and if they get low grades, they lose their confidence and face criticism from society.
4. Tendency of Suicide
The tendency of suicide among students is increasing day by day. The only reason for suicide among students is exams and the result of exam. Sometimes it happens that a student cram a whole book of mathematics but when one or two questions in exam are not from the syllabus book; students fail to solve those questions because they are not prepared to solve a problem. Such education has no use in real life if a student gets good grades only by cramming a book in a few days.
According to the information on the BBC website, 29% of the 201 teen-age student committed suicide in 2014 whilst waiting for exam results, or the exams themselves.
5. Friendship into Rivalry
Examinations lead to a competitive approach among students and these traits ruin friendships among students and they struggle to cross each other. Students strive to grab first position and do not focus on the basic purpose of learning. Many students have A+ grade but they have no ethical manners, communication skills, planning strategies and creativity.
6. Lack of Measuring Creativity skills
Annual examination system fails to test many skills that reflect a student’s intelligence. These exams are based on memorization that is not a real indicator of knowledge. Students memorize concepts, facts, statistics, and ideas to pass the exam and do not practice these skills to perform in after education life.
Moreover, short questions, MCQs, and true / false are the tools of measuring a students’ knowledge. Many other skills, such as creativity, planning, communication, teamwork flexibility and thinking cannot be tested through written exams that require objective responses. Annual tests fail to exactly reflect students’ knowledge and therefore cannot be the merely determiner of their educational success. Employability skills also cannot be tested through a written exam system.
7. Health Problems and Diseases
In the annual examination system, students remain relaxed for eleven month and reserve last month only for study. Because of lack of study stamina, they face a lot of health issues when they become bookworms for the last month. Only a few students keep an equal pace across the academic year. Excessive time for study leads to numerous health issues like headaches, chest pain, fatigue, restlessness, sickness, loose motions, etc. Students sacrifice their own sleep to get good grades in their exams and in return they lose their health.
Some students do not leave their room or library and do not move to dinner that causes energy loss ultimately leading towards loose motion and weakness. Some students buy a lot of foods and drinks like burgers, pizza, chips and energy drinks during the exam week because they don’t have time to cook. Intake of readymade food for a long period also causes health issues.
Some university students take caffeine to overcome stress but too much caffeine is dangerous for the heart and creates blood pressure diseases. Some university and college students like to use alcohol or other prescription drugs to cope with final exam weeks. This causes different side effects, even causing death.
8. Old-Fashioned Strategy
Finally, the last reason why exams are bad is that they are unfair. It is the age-old dilemma: some students do not perform well in their exams. A student could be very intelligent and a hard worker, but he might not perform well during the exam because of any external matter like sickness.
Examination system does not measure creative skills among students but only cramming skills. Engineering students who are good at practical jobs might not be interested in a written examination that results in unjust results.
Abolishing exams and tests is not the only solution. Although some examinations do test students’ ability to solve problems under pressure. However, examinations cannot be the sole determiner of students’ knowledge, and thus their future prospects, whether in the working or academic world. The ability of exams to determine someone’s intellect is limited.
Universities and colleges need to take a variety of different approaches to test students. By using examinations in combination with other approaches like weekly or monthly assessments, career building opportunities, environment for polishing creativity, and other skills.
Lastly, final exam results should not be solely a parameter to allot grades. It should be a combination of different analyses throughout the academic year. Same test should not be imposed on all students. The format of test or exam should be based on creative approach rather than memorizing or cramming a book. There should be different options for students to opt for the test according to their choice and level of their intelligence.
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