The debate for and against the holding of examinations continues to rage on with a growing number of people who support the arguments that examinations serve very little importance to the student, do not accurately measure a student’s ability, and place undue pressure on them.
However, it is the view of elc International School that society has not evolved significantly enough to warrant a reduction in the number of examinations held, let alone its total removal or replacement.
Chong Soh Nee, Head of the Secondary Division at elc International School says, “Life is a series of examinations where you are assessed constantly and evaluated before being judged as ‘good’ or ‘needs improving’.
“You leave school after completing Form 5 or Year 11. Then you head to a college to take another programme, perhaps the A Levels. You write the A Levels (exam) after 18 months and then you move to the university of your choice.
“There you study for three or four years, cramming for your year-end exams, then you finally graduate. You are free! The world is your oyster! You can have the life you have always dreamt. Think again.
“You apply for a job, and you are called in for an interview. Your resume is assessed, your answers evaluated, and your ability tested. You do this a few times, then hopefully you finally get a job.
“Now you settle into your new office. Is it all over? Not by a long shot. In your new job, you are constantly being evaluated and assessed. Your decisions and leadership skills are scrutinised. Your performance is discussed formally at appraisals. That is when it finally hits you. Examinations never end.”
To do away with examinations without first adjusting the way society operates is asking for trouble. It will also jeopardise a student’s chances of success later in life.
Change on this scale is likely to be slow and fraught with challenges. It would also be unfair to expect employers to understand the changes made at the level of academia and to evaluate new recruits accordingly.
Logically, any campaign for change should start from the top and work its way down. Until such time, examination success will continue to have a direct positive impact on employability for most students.
Of course, some schools have moved towards pure coursework, but this is merely another form of assessment on a long-term basis.
It could be argued that this constant assessment and feedback can take its toll on those who do not have the specific work ethic suited for coursework. Yet, there will be others who thrive in this environment but not in a summative examination.
As every student is different, finding the right type of assessment is paramount to achieving a measure of success in school.
In elc International School, examinations are one method of preparation for life that continues to help students achieve success and cope with after-school pressures.
It must be said, that without the support of parents and teachers, it would be impossible for students to cope and so there is a balancing act always in play.
Students’ mental health and the development of social skills continue to be of prime importance at elc International School. As such, their development is tempered with some degree of pressure so that they develop resilience in tackling hurdles head-on.
It is a winning formula that has continued to churn out academic success and well-rounded students for over 30 years.
The recent IGCSE examinations is testimony to this. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, over 78% of all papers taken, across both campuses, were distinctions at the A* to A grades.
Over the last 10 years, elc International School has achieved an average of 75% distinctions in all papers. This is a remarkable feat that firmly underpins the school’s claim of delivering continued academic excellence.
Change is inevitable and all the evidence suggests that elc International School will successfully adapt when required.
In the meantime, the school continues to deliver academic excellence with a team of dedicated teachers and like-minded parents, forming a formidable support system for the benefit of its students.
For more information on elc International School, visit www.elc.edu.my