Think of all the amazing developments in science, then think of all the innovations in our examination system. Yeah, exactly, which innovations? That is the big problem, and the 5 fails below are some consequences.
1. Grading is very Unreliable
The inter-rater reliability in grading is deplorable, especially given how reliability is such a cornerstone of science. What are you talking about? Well, inter-rater reliability refers to level of agreement among graders, i.e. a B-paper should get a B regardless of who grades it. Unfortunately, grades vary significantly between graders, even as much as multiple grades in some instances. Even though this problem is reduced in more mathematical tests, and multiple-choice, that does not erase the fact that the grading system is seriously flawed.
2. Morning Exams is a Terrible Idea
We have all heard that some are early birds, while others are night owls. Who do you think have an unfair advantage during those 9am exams? Exactly, the early birds! People really differ in their internal biological clock (circadian rhythm), with some having a longer natural cycle, and some having shorter. Those who have a circadian rhythm on the long side, are more likely to be night owls. While early birds have shorter ones.
3. We still rely on 16th century Technology
When taking your exams, you have to use pen and paper, even though you virtually never use that in work-life. These are ancient and antiquated technologies. Students should use computers, given how it is easier to detect cheating, and offers better methods for grading.
4. The Happier the Merrier (examination methods)
Is it not uncommon for students to only have 1-2 graded examinations per course. Even though the best option is to grade the student in a wide variety of ways, and different times. Whether the examination method is multiple-choice, written or another method, we do end-up giving their fate into the hands of chance. Some people have very good memory, but really struggle to articulate themselves, while others have beautiful handwriting, but will crumble if tasked to give an oral presentation. We need more methods to grade fairly.
5. Too often, the Exam Questions are Bad
We have all experienced it, especially in regard to written exams and hand-inns; you might get lucky or unlucky regarding the exam question itself. I have personally been fortunate only to experience the former, though I feel pity for the latter ones. A bad exam question is either one that is poorly formulated (confusing), or one which gives some students an unfair advantage over their other peers.
So, there are 5 epic fails about our examination system. Join the force to change it.
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