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Students should discuss answers and access the internet in exams, says Harvard academic

Students should be able to discuss answers and have access to the internet during exams, according to a leading US academic, who said too many young people were learning to pass tests only to “fail at life”.

Eric Mazur, area dean of applied physics at Harvard University, believes that a major rethink is needed of the way pupils are assessed if schools and universities are to properly prepare them for the working world.

Students should be able to openly discuss the solution to a problem and have access to Google. Assessment should be focused more on giving feedback than on ranking candidates by giving them an A, B or C grade, he added.

“Let’s mimic more real life in our assessment practice. If you look at students taking an assessment, they’re set out in rows, separated by a gap and isolated from any source of information,” Professor Mazur said. “Once you get your diploma you never face that situation again."

Read the full article in the 5 December edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents. 

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