A life-enriching skill
IT is examination season at international schools and colleges once again. Years 11 and 13 students have nearly completed their International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and A-Levels examinations by the various examination boards.
The examinations bring an end to one stage of their education and prepare them for the next. Examinations improve learning and help students focus on their learning. Without these, there is no challenge.
Examinations are a summative assessment that puts a grade to learning, which is a symbol of attainment by many parents, giving them bragging rights. More importantly, that number tells the child where he stands against the rest of the cohort and how much more he can achieve.
Life is a series of examinations where you are assessed constantly and evaluated before being judged.
After completing Form Five or Year 11, you take another programme – perhaps the A-Levels. Then, you move to the university of your choice and study for another three or four years, cramming for your year-end examinations before you graduate.
When you apply for a job, your resume is assessed, answers evaluated and abilities tested.
Now you settle in your new job, where you are constantly being evaluated and assessed. Your decisions and leadership skills are scrutinised. Your performance is discussed formally at appraisals. Just as examinations never end, so does learning. We are learning all thetime.
Your first paper qualification, be it the IGCSE or GCSE, is merely a stepping stone to the next stage of education, which not only prepares students for the subjects they have studied over the past few years but also to face the next cycle of challenges.
With this first set of examinations out of the way, students will recognise that they have overcome the hardships they faced on the road to this very moment and survived the odds, thus making them stronger individuals.
Some schools have gone on to having coursework. This is merel another form of assessment on a long-term basis. The constant assessment and feedback can ta its toll on a student who does not have the right kind of work ethic suited for coursework.
Another student may thrive in that environment but not in a summative examination. We ar all different, so finding the right type of assessment for yourself is paramount to finding a measure of success in school.
Coursework can help prepare student for the next stage in education. However, examinations have always been the go-to when separating the wheat from the chaff.
Let’s face it, examinations are tough. Their detractors say that examinations differentiate the goo from the wea act
f life o which we can ver run. Life is tough. Life is unfair. A simple solution? Deal with it.
– By Chong Soh Nee, head of secondary at elc International School.
For more information, visit www.elc.edu.my.