True value of ex­ams is not in the score

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEWS -

As usual, the per­for­mance of their chil­dren in the fi­nal ex­ams has dom­i­nated the emo­tions of their par­ents ahead of Spring Fes­ti­val. The fam­ily at­mos­phere, par­ent-child re­la­tion­ship, con­sump­tion and even the kids’ food are all closely re­lated to their scores.

But do par­ents re­ally see the value of exam scores and the role of ex­ams?

First, exam re­sults re­veal a child’s aca­demic progress.

For pri­mary and sec­ondary school stu­dents, in­ter­est and con­fi­dence in learn­ing are more im­por­tant than the test re­sults. For chil­dren whose test re­sults are less glam­orous, the ex­am­i­na­tion has proved their de­feat. But no mat­ter if their chil­dren achieve good scores or not, their par­ents should cher­ish their chil­dren’s hard work and study ef­forts.

In fact, chil­dren need their par­ents’ love. Par­ents shouldn’t make any deroga­tory re­marks, or show an an­gry or dis­ap­pointed face to their chil­dren. In­stead, they should fo­cus on any progress their child has made. Maybe in a cer­tain sub­ject the re­sult is bet­ter than be­fore, or the study at­ti­tude has im­proved a lot?

In short, par­ents should fo­cus on the best as­pects of their child’s per­for­mance, pulling chil­dren out from un­der the pres­sure of the ex­ams and giv­ing them con­fi­dence in learn­ing.

Sec­ond, par­ents need to bear in mind that ex­ams are away to find the weak­nesses in a child’s learn­ing process.

There is a va­ri­ety of test clas­si­fi­ca­tions; in gen­eral, they can be di­vided into tar­geted and se­lec­tive ex­am­i­na­tions. Se­lec­tive ex­am­i­na­tions re­fer to ex­am­i­na­tions, such as the col­lege en­trance ex­am­i­na­tion, used to iden­tify ta­lent. The mid­dle and fi­nal ex­am­i­na­tions in pri­mary and sec­ondary school years are to check whether the knowl­edge and skills ac­quired by stu­dents af­ter one se­mes­ter of study have been ob­tained ac­cord­ing to the re­quire­ments of the syl­labus and whether they have reached the es­tab­lished teach­ing ob­jec­tives. These are phased aca­demic ex­am­i­na­tions which are tar­geted tests. Of course, in or­der to en­cour­age stu­dents to learn, schools of­fer some in­cen­tives based on the re­sults of these ex­am­i­na­tions as the ba­sis for se­lec­tion, such as awards to the stu­dents who gain the high­est scores.

The tar­geted ex­am­i­na­tions present a child’s learn­ing out­come at a cer­tain stage. There­fore, re­lated to the re­sults, the prob­lems found in these tests should be val­ued by par­ents. Through these ex­ams, a child’s learn­ing weak­nesses, which may af­fect their fu­ture stud­ies, can be iden­ti­fied.

Learn­ing is a con­tin­u­ous process. The pre­vi­ous stage of learn­ing will in­flu­ence the next stage. There­fore, if the par­ents only fo­cus on their chil­dren’s low­est scores, and only feel sad or dis­ap­pointed and vent their emo­tions by mak­ing life dif­fi­cult for their chil­dren, tar­geted ex­am­i­na­tions lose their true pur­pose.

Third, iden­tify a child’s strengths and fully de­velop them.

Par­ents should talk with their chil­dren as well about their study ex­pe­ri­ences: why they like one course more than an­other, what learn­ing meth­ods they pre­fer, which sub­jects their chil­dren are in­ter­ested in. It is un­nec­es­sary to force chil­dren to de­velop any skills they are not in­ter­ested in at all. If there is gen­uine ta­lent and in­ter­est in a par­tic­u­lar area, par­ents should try and help their chil­dren tap and de­velop their po­ten­tial.

Par­ents’ per­cep­tion of chil­dren’s exam scores re­flects their un­der­stand­ing of dif­fer­ent stages of de­vel­op­ment, thus the ex­ams are also ex­ams for par­ents now.

For pri­mary and sec­ondary school stu­dents, in­ter­est and con­fi­dence in learn­ing are more im­por­tant than the test re­sults.

The au­thor is di­rec­tor of the Fam­ily Re­search Cen­ter at the China Youth and Chil­dren Re­search Cen­ter.

CAI MENG / CHINA DAILY

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