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Stop setting exams – get students to think instead!

February 8, 2015 by Mike

keep-calm-and-study-for-exams-31-9436768It’s one of my pet hates these days… students seem to study just to pass an assessment, rather than to actually learn something new and be able to apply it.  Can’t really blame them.  We live in a merit-driven world and students are bound to work strategically to get the best results ‘in the bank’ to further their careers.  It was nice to see this issue highlighted in the Guardian by the Secret Teacher, though.

Exams in particular come in for severe criticism in this piece and, in my view, quite rightly so. Exams are on the increase in universities, mainly as they are a lazy way for us to try to make plagiarism more difficult – a rather naive assumption anyway because it just encourages students become more innovative and skilled at plagiarising, doesn’t solve the problem at all!

I think it’s time we called a halt to such nonsense, personally, and had a serious rethink of assessment in universities before it’s too late. We are training a generation of graduates to recite and regurgitate – we should be helping them to think and develop problem-solving skills instead.