'Too many students get hurt on the exam obstacle course'

Our obsession with exams has created a high-stakes assessment system that fails to adequately recognise skills and puts young people’s mental health at risk

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As another season of public exams begins, let’s spare a thought for our hardworking students. Far from fading away from our 21st-century education system, exams are back with a vengeance.

We have ancient China to thank for inventing public examinations, originally designed to select young men to serve in the imperial government. British imperialists were so impressed with this when they came across it in the 19th century that they imported examinations wholesale into our educational culture. Recruitment into Queen Victoria’s civil service was officially based on merit determined by a ...

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