Write about the following topic:
During the last twenty years, the assessment of students has undergone a major transformation. Many educational institutions have shifted their focus from traditional examination towards a variety of innovative assessment techniques, as they believe traditional examination results are not often true to student’s ability.
To what extent do you agree with this belief?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
You should write at least 250 words.
Sample Answer 1: (Agreement)
For more than a century, traditional examination to assess student’s ability was in place and this is still in use in many parts of the world. However, a more suitable and modern approach has been adopted by many schools, and this is often regarded as a better technique to evaluate a pupil’s learning ability and knowledge. I personally believe that the innovative modern assessment technique is more suitable.
To begin with, the conventional exam system has a major flaw which is its inadequacy to evaluate the true knowledge of pupils. For instance, in the conventional paper-based exam system, students can memorise answers to a few questions and pass the exam with a good grade. Someone with little knowledge of a subject can get a higher grade by memorising answers. On the contrary, innovative approaches like group assignments, sudden quiz, hands-on tests etc. can reflect the actual level of student’s learning. This is why many educational institutions are shifting towards these assessment techniques from the traditional exam system and I really believe that this will, in the future, become the main evaluation technique in schools.
Moreover, the paper-based exam system allows students to cheat the exam and pass it without even studying hard. On the contrary, a student would not be able to pass a hands-on test or an open-book exam where he needs to propose a solution to a problem rather than writing answers from books. From my experience, I can tell that I had to study more to pass the sudden class tests than my term-finals as I had no clue what teachers would assess on these sudden tests. Many schools have already introduced a few innovative assessment techniques due to their experience from the traditional tests and their limitations. The latest methods are in place because they are more suitable.
To conclude, the right technique to evaluate students is an important issue, and no stone should be unturned to introduce the most effective way of doing it. Something is missing in the conventional exam system, and I believe this is where the modern methods of evaluating fits in.
Sample Answer 2: (Agreement)
A change in the student evaluation process could be observed in the last two decades and formal examination has been less frequently used in many educational institutions in different parts of the world. The result of the paper-based exam, though used extensively in many schools, is believed to be less suitable for assessing the ability of learners, and I believe that it should be replaced by the modern approaches of assessment.
To begin with, formal examinations, in many cases, do not reflect a pupil’s true ability and knowledge. Examination or any assessment criteria is meant to scrutinize a student objectively, but a formal test fails to do it, especially because it involved memorise-and-pass technique. Further, formal exams do not consider someone’s health condition on the exam date and thus is unsuitable for many. Some students take more time to produce any result and though they take a longer time, they have a better result in producing capability. Traditional exams would also score these sorts of students poorly.
On the other hand, the unconventional assessment systems to test a student’s skill and knowledge can be quite effective and bring out a better result. For instance, oral presentation, assignments, sudden quizzes, class tests, course work, and other modern methods of evaluation can examine students from various perspectives and when the result is combined, the indication is far more accurate. These tests scrutinise a learner’s creativity, depth of knowledge, creativity, ability to use the knowledge in the practical world, and are important parameters of a student’s reasoning and reflection of learning ability.
In conclusion, evaluating a learner accurately is important and the best method for this should be in place. No doubt the formal examination system had been used for a long but the time has come to adopt a more accurate and practical assessment system and hence the shift towards a combination of innovative assessment systems is inevitable.