At Parents many schools, colleges , and universities assess their students by means of
end-of-year written Examinations.
These can be very stressful and many students fare worse in exams then in other forms of Assessment.
On the other hand, perhaps it is good training for later life when success depends on being able to deal with stress and perform well on big occasions.
Exams test memory more than analysis, creativity, or real understanding.
If you have a good memory you can get away with doing very little work throughout the course and still gets very good grades.
Coursework is a much more genuine Assessment of a candidate because it takes into account research, understanding of the issues and ability to Express oneself, not just ability to answer the question in a very limited period of time.
The pressure attached to A-level and GCSCs is huge and causes many problems.
Some students have breakdowns and, in extreme cases, attempted suicide because they cannot handle the pressure, especially with university places relying on grades.
AS well as causing personal problems, pressure can lead many bright students to under perform.
Exams test your ability to keep your cool more than they test your intelligence.
Examinations results depend on the opinion of the individual examiner .
The same paper marks by two different examiner could get completely different results.
This is exacerbated by the short time that examiners spend marking a paper.
Things such as open book exams, viva voces, and question which ask you to evaluate information are not testing merely memory, but your ability to apply your knowledge.
Coursework can involve alot of pressure as well, especially with the meeting of deadlines.
Schools should, and go, teach pupils about relaxation and stress management for both exams and coursework.
Pressure is a fact of life and children must be prepared for it. Pressure only increases at university and in the workplace and we must teach children how to perform well in these conditions rather than protect them from them.
Coursework must also be mark by individuals, so the same criticisms applies.
It is not sufficient however, as moderation and examiners meeting ensure that papers are marked to the same standards.