Examinations Essay Outlines:
1. Introduction. Examinations are an integral part of our system of education but they are extremely faulty.
2. They fail to give an accurate assessment of a student. They do not test a student’s intelligence or ability. They test only his cramming power. Judging by the examination results, many of the great scientists were quite dull.
3. The element of chance in the examinations. The making of scripts is never uniform. Some examiners may be strict, others very lenient.
4. Examinations make the work round the year uneven. Students just study near the examinations and idle away their time during the rest of the year. This makes their work round the year very uneven.
5. This system adversely affects class teaching. A good teacher feels hampered by the limits imposed by the examination system.
6. Examinations are a necessary evil. If there were no examinations, students would not study at all. And it must be said to their credit that, in spite of all the drawbacks in them, a good student has not usually failed nor a third-rater topped.
7. The need for reforms. Instead of completely doing away with the system, we should try to introduce certain reforms: (a) Semester systems can make the work round the year more even. (b) Marking scripts should be made more accurate and uniform. (c) Examinations may be accompanied with viva voce, particularly in the case of marginal students. (d) Unfair means should be checked.
Examinations Essay with Outlines
Examinations have come to stay as a part of our education system. They are considered to be a big nuisance and both the teachers and the students detest them. It is really possible to discover a large number of defects in them; still in the absence of any other satisfactory system of evaluation, it is impracticable to abolish them. They are perhaps evil, yet they are indispensable.
If we accept the aim of education as the harmonious development of human personality, we observe that examinations fail to assess this development accurately. They neither take a measure of one’s physical and spiritual development nor even of one’s intelligence. All they can claim to do is to test one’s memory or one’s capacity for cramming. Since a student is aware of the type of questions he will be asked and he can fairly successfully anticipate a few, if he has the knack of pleasing the examiners, he will come out with flying colors. But another student, more reflective and analytical, more inquisitive and industrious, will perhaps cut a sorry figure. It is but a well-known fact that Einstein once failed in Mathematics and Hegel, one of the greatest philosophers of the world consistently secured poor marks in philosophy. Judging by the results, Einstein and Hegel could be condemned as poor students, although later in their life, they achieved singular success in their fields of study.
Examinations are often condemned on account of the very prominent role of chance involved in them. The marking of the scripts can never be uniform. Even if we grant that all examiners are sincere and earnest – in fact, many of them are whimsical and willful – we can still not affirm that examinations are scientifically impartial to all examinees. The possibility of the personal prejudices of an examiner beclouding his better judgment cannot be excluded. If an average script follows three brilliant scripts, it will be awarded poor marks; if it follows two exceptionally poor ones, it will earn a better reward than it deserves. Mr. Shahid might be too strict. He will bewail the poor standards and make fascinating crisscross patterns on the scripts. Mrs. Nadia might be a bit too lenient. She would like to give every student a pass on humanitarian grounds. How far can the awards are given by these two examiners be accepted as a fair index of the relative ability of their examinees?
Under the prevailing system of examinations, the students enjoy a ten-month holiday and have a two-month working session. They merrily skip around and flirt their time away for the first ten months. Then, as the examinations approach, one can sniff a chill of seriousness in the air. The atmosphere starts getting heavy, the infection is gradually rife and the students start pouring over their books. They skim through their syllabi, just to get the hang of what they are about, manage to stuff their brains with some ill-digested facts temporarily, then forget all about them once the examinations are over. But these two months play havoc with their physique. The whole period is spent in extreme nervous tension. Shave and hair-cut, cosmetics, and coiffures are all forgotten. Chemists are pestered to procure pills causing sleeplessness. The erstwhile lotus-eater suddenly becomes a Ulysses. But to his utter dismay, he often discovers that he is no match for the giant that examination is and collapses with acute nervous exhaustion.
This system exercises an adverse effect on the class teaching in two ways. First, a good teacher always finds himself hampered by the limitations imposed by the examination system. He does not teach, he prepares the students for the examination. Secondly, a number of students, by virtue of having a good memory, get into a class where they do not deserve to be. Their lessons being beyond their comprehension, they feel bored in the class and create mischief. It is these students who pollute the atmosphere in the class and are responsible for the widespread indiscipline found in colleges. But even the devil must be given its due. It must be acknowledged that the examinations do compel students to study a little. Or they would not study even this much. Secondly, despite all the tricks played by chance, it is never noticed that a good student has failed or a third-rater has topped. Thus examinations may not be scientifically accurate or impartial, still, they do substantial justice.
If we spread out our examinations and minimize the element of subjectivity involved, we could make this system fairly satisfactory. Let us have biennial examinations with a viva-voce and let us give due to weightage to classwork. It is also desirable to have an interview with the marginal cases before their final result is declared. If the examiners could once go through the whole script before they started marking individual questions one by one, they could improve their judgment. It involves more time and labor but the labor would not be wasted. With the spread of education, there has been a fabulous increase in the number of examinees. This has brought about further deterioration in an already not-so-sound system. Examinations are often conducted in very poor conditions. Invigilation and supervision leave much to be desired. The leakage of question papers has gone up.
Examiners are appointed en masse and they often do a bad job of the work entrusted to them. But then there is no better substitute for this system. We cannot abolish these examinations. All we can do is to improve upon them so that they cease to be a lottery indiscreetly doling out a few lacs with innumerable blanks. Related topics. The uses and abuses of examinations. Examinations are a necessary evil.
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