Defects and Improvements in Examination System
Examinations are inevitable despite the fact that no one has ever expressed an unqualified liking for them. Examinations being a test of ability provide tangible proof of fitness of a student for higher classes. Sir Winston Churchill calls examination “the inhospitable regions” through which every learner is destined to journey during the course of his academic career. Examinations based on clarity, brevity and transparency guard the students against wasting time and being verbose. But the present examination system is a stumbling to genuine learning of the youth. Examinations require “cram and dump” engagement which according to Meyer obviously involves short-term memory and inhibits creativity. If education guarantees enlightenment then ill-conducted examination, sub-standard evaluation and cheating sap the vitality and potential of examinees.
Educationists believe that nothing can be learned which is not attained by a slow and systematic assimilation. Students waste their precious time in non-academic activities and when exams are imminent there begins an unnatural excitement and feverish haste for their preparation. Students burn midnight oil to memorize only important questions. The rest is left for devil to learn. They spoil their health and appetite by under-eating and over-working. And finally when exams are over they conveniently forget everything they have feverishly memorized in order to pass the exam.
The questions asked in examination are mostly stereotype which do not check the intelligence or reasoning of student but the capability to memorize and reproduce.
In so doing our examiners encourage mugging of books. They are misled by the false expression displayed by dunce crammer. An honest effort to master the subject thoroughly is usually looked down upon. Moreover, the method of evaluating scripts is faulty. Even the atmosphere affects the moods of examiners and the evaluation is arbitrary, subjective and inaccurate.
The centralized marking at Matriculation and Intermediate levels is also replete with faults. The education boards in their pursuit of preparing result in a short span with cheap labour do not put a limit on maximum number of papers to be checked per day. And examiners mark maximum number of papers in order to make money. This practice has opened flood gates of reckless marking which certainly affects the quality of evaluation.
Equally unsatisfactory is exam-calendar. The universities and education boards hold exams in the scorching heat of May, June or July. Candidates drenched in perspiration are put to prolonged torture for three hours. Frequent power failures add insult to injury.
The improvement in the examination system is the crying need of hour. Some of the suggestions in this regard are as follows:
Some sort of internal evaluation system should be evolved instead of annual exams. Class room lectures should be supplemented by student-centred activities such as presentations, group discussions, simulations and role playing. A complete record of student’s activities and aptitude should be kept to judge his sustained intellectual development. The system of prescribing text books should be revised in such a manner that students are obliged to read more than mere text books.
To sum up examination can be the index of ability if they are conducted in the words of Burke on the principles of ‘restraint and discipline’. As far as so long the present system of education continues, the present system of examination is inevitable. Any change in one involves the change in other. This is the real point. So the change should come from the top. The exams will always horrify the students but if conducted in a right manner they can produce a talented generation of such people who could lift their heads with pride that they are no cheats and know what their degrees symbolize.