Christina Quaine

Are exams inherently unfair?

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Exams are supposed to be a fair way to judge learning, but Christina Quaine has found that variations in children’s processing speeds mean some students are disadvantaged by the tool of assessment – leading to inaccurate judgements on learning

GCSE and A-level exams: Some students' exam anxiety may be down to their slower processing speed in the exam environment

Exams are supposed to be the ultimate leveller – a standardised, anonymous way of working out just how well a student understands a subject. That line of argument poses a problem: exams have now been cancelled for the second year in a row. Does that mean that we have no fair way to objectively assess what students are capable of?

But, then again, how fair are exams, ever? Are some children at a disadvantage in the exam hall, not because they haven’t swotted up on Shakespeare or aren’t au fait with algebra but because they struggle with handwriting or getting their thoughts down on paper in ...

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