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Exams: we're sick of them

Do assessment methods put people off learning, or can they motivate them to achieve? We don't really know, according to research carried out for the Learning and Skills Development Agency. Most students prefer coursework , but there is little evidence to show whether assessment methods affect recruitment, retention and achievement.

Researchers say tests cause fear for many and can cause drop-out and impede progress. "There was a feeling that exams still make you sick but results and certificates give you a boost and confidence," says research cited by the report.

Even academically successful students try to avoid exams. Some choose Advanced GNVQ rather than A-levels because of coursework; many find modular courses less stressful.

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