Our educations system is designed to help teens accumulate data as much as possible and the examination systems are designed to indicate how much data they’re been able to remember. Examinations have become a terror that teens go through and there have been too many cases where they’ve broken the spirit of the child in the process of helping students assess where they stand and how they can improve.
Fixed form tests like the pen and paper ones do not cater to all the students, because all students do not start at the same point and are not good at the same things. The need for a dynamic testing mechanism that allows the student to truly showcase one’s learning with a comprehensive report for teachers and parents to truly understand the child’s interests and areas of development, becomes essential.
Exams need to be able to provide differentiation in structuring, to include even those children who are undergoing problems like dyslexia, ADHD and other learning difficulties, especially with the huge number of children who fall through loopholes and go undiagnosed. This would help the teacher figure what kind of help the student needs and plan engagement accordingly.
Is this the kind of change that can happen overnight? No, it is a process that would need to be repeated at various points of time throughout the school year. But there are educational tools available to help teens with their assessments and aligning them to learning outcomes out there already.
Even without the software tools, with an assessment of strengths where you are waiting to catch students doing something right, will alter the mind sets of students towards how tests and exams are perceived. They become a tool for improvement – which is what tests and exams are ultimately meant to be. This later starts reflecting in their perspectives on everyday challenges they face from life as well, because they’re used to an evaluation system that helps them positively reflect on their learning and apply feedback to constantly improve, in order to make a difference in life choices like career, family, relationships and other areas.
So it comes down to the question- Do you want to go the tried and tested way of pen and paper terrors, or adapt according to a child’s needs providing them education with character? – your choice.
- Rashmi Ramesh