Are exams needed?

5th November 2004 at 00:00
I have noticed an increasing antipathy over the last few years particularly among older students towards testing. In some cases this has led to them dropping out. I am spending more my time reassuring students of their worth. I feel that we should push for an alternative, particularly in basic skills where we have so much to lose.

A: I don't think there is an alternative and even if there was, with so much money at stake, I doubt that anything other than quantifiable achievements would be acceptable. In our attempts to democratise education even A-levels have been dumbed down

For those who have already failed in the system I have plenty of sympathy but the whole idea of GNVQs for example was that they made it easier to achieve a qualification.

Succeeding does sometimes require support from others, something which colleges through their pastoral services do excellently. But the rest is up to the individual. Time to get real!

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