Experts debate the value of final exams

The all-night cram session before a final exam has long been a rite of passage for many college and university students, but it could soon be a thing of the past. A growing number of educators are pushing for final exams to be abolished. Last month, Alberta reduced the weightings of its standardized final exams for high school students, and Ontario plans to pilot an alternative method of evaluating students. Cognitive science seems to support the idea that exams are poor measures of learning; however, some critics argue that the pressure of an exam situation helps prepare students for the “real world.” Exams increase students’ anxiety levels, and can trigger a “fight or flight” response. For some students, this can contribute to improved performance, while for others it can have the opposite effect. Some educators therefore suggest that students must be taught to better cope with stress, or to understand stress as part of success rather than failure. National Post

VCC – School of Instructor Education

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