Elizabeth Bray: Why have examinations been left in the Victorian era?
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Teen Talk with Elizabeth Bray:
Earlier this week, Boris Johnson announced national examinations are to be delayed three weeks from the original date and I couldn’t help but think exams are bogus anyhow.
The pen-to-paper test we all begrudgingly know runs parallel to the same exams taken five monarchs ago.
These methods are completely ancient. Reciting years’ worth of notes just to cram it all into a two-hour paper seems unjust.
Yes, examinations are there to challenge and showcase intelligence, sift the hard workers from the idlers: but doesn’t this confidence in the examination process seem ill put?
Primarily, we regurgitate facts, spending hours memorising, rather than absorbing. Creativity and originality are sought-after characteristics in a system where individuals are to conform to the same routine questions and subjects like art and photography, where they promote such factors, do not hold the same value in comparison to core subjects like history and geography.
Coursework is also discredited. A fear of plagiarism seizes this method from being held to the same integrity as examinations but isn’t this a fairer indication of a student’s all-round ability?
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The months of lugging around suitcases of stress for one week of exams, albeit crucial, cannot justify this weak corner of education.
No matter of the A* grade you have repeatedly achieved without fault for two years, an E grade on exam day is cemented.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was forced to issue an apology after 39 per cent of A-levels were downgraded by the computer system after the Government announced a U-Turn on GCSE and A-level results this year.
It seems schooling isn’t as black and white as sifting the hard workers from the idlers; the algorithm doesn’t benefit either.
After the invention of driverless cars, 3D printing, and even the iPhone, why have examinations been left in the Victorian era?
Education is a headline on every government’s manifesto, a priority of each aspiring PM but fundamentally, primary school teachers are still having to buy pens and pencils for students, some even their lunches out of their own under-payed salary and currently, the support for university students is not even acknowledged by our own elected head.
The education system has been neglected and, now on a positive note, it is why I am grateful for the available support South Devon College offers to make education accessible to its learners.
I see this in its nursery for parent learners, free bus passes for underprivileged households, bursaries and importantly, its cordial staff; one of whom has set up a Covid helpline, and another runs a foodbank.