112. Exams as memory test


This pic is from one of my student’s facebook status. After reading this, I felt pretty bad about it. Almost guilty because I know that at the end of the semester, these students will be judged by a final standardized examination and their papers will be evaluated by some outsiders who don’t even know these students.

And I am very skeptic about external examiners who check the answer papers.

One, the general mentality in these externals is to be very strict while giving marks. As if being generous while marking is a cardinal sin. (They also go after hand-writings and length of the answers.)

Second, they are not liable. There has been a lot of cases of ‘re-totaling’ and ‘re-checking’ but there has never been a case of holding the externals responsible for being careless and even biased while checking the answer papers.

So, to make the matter worse, most of the time it depends on the externals whether a student will pass or fail the exam or will pass with good grades or a very low grades.

Therefore the double-trouble for students: if your memory isn’t that good, you are doomed. And even if you did well in the exams, your external might turn out to be a grumpy miser who is worse than stingy Scrooge McDuck.


6 thoughts on “112. Exams as memory test

  1. I am convinced with your idea as every one is different in terms of intelligence. Thus, similar type of test to every individual can’t test intelligence rather memory.

  2. I feel like we are not taught to “think outside the box”. We don’t go beyond what there is in the books. And we don’t go searching for answers beyond the books either. This slowly feeds itself into just memorising the questions and their answers. So its true. Exams can feel like a memory test.

    • Yeah but most of the times teachers don’t even ‘think outside the box’ themselves. We are so focused on examination and testing our students that we only teach what comes in the exam (technically called backwash effect).

      • That’s very true. And I guess that is because, that “think outside the box” was not the the environment that the teachers were themselves schooled in. The new breed of teachers would hopefully think different.
        I am not an expert in this field but I also think the mentality that anyone with good grades can become a teacher needs to change. Just an ace report card – with no passion for teaching are the ones that will just try to get the students to pass the exam and nothing beyond. (I have been in this position. Thankfully I was able to quit in a month)

  3. ” am not an expert in this field but I also think the mentality that anyone with good grades can become a teacher needs to change.”

    Yes this has to change. But we face even a worse situation. The mentality that if you can’t do anything else, you can be a teacher, and teaching as “time-pass” until one gets another job.

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