Boon or Bane ? Promoting students without examinations

Vijay GarG
The ongoing second wave of Covid-19 pandemic is changing the way the world functions.
Should students be promoted without exams ?
Examinations, tests, assignments are words that are probably dreaded by almost every student across the world. The best way to define an examination is that it is an official test of a student’s knowledge, skill and intelligence.
Examinations can be of varied types – written, practical or oral examinations. With the advent of the online school ERP systems–schools also have the option of conducting online exams for the students. Irrespective of the type, structure, length or difficulty level of the exams, there are many advantages of examinations for the students and the school alike.
1. Examinations help students to strengthen their grasp of a subject or a concept.
While a student may say that he understands a concept, it is only during the process of testing and exams, when the students diligently study that they get a true understanding of the topic.  Exams serve as a reflective process where the students can see how much real learning has happened in the term. It also allows the students to understand where they stand as compared to their peers in the classroom, or the district.
2. Examinations build the personality and confidence of the students
Examinations reflect the pressures of adult life where the children learn to work hard, push the limits and do their best. Examinations also create a sense of competition for the students. This sense of competition goes a long way in building the confidence of the students.
 3. Examinations serve as the gateway to scholarships and further studies
For students interested in pursuing further studies, competitive exams and entrance exams are a gateway to esteemed institutes across the word. Scholarship exams also give students who are unable to afford fees, an opportunity to learn without stressing about their finances.
4. Examinations allow the teachers to assess the effectiveness of their teaching methods
Periodic tests and examinations allow the instructors to measure the effectiveness of their teaching methods. This can be done by linking the students’ performance to specific learning goals. This enables the teachers to change their teaching methods–institutionalising effective teaching choices and removing the teaching tools that do not work.
5. Examinations give the school a glimpse into the interest and the aptitude of the students
Examinations are important because they provide feedback to the schools and the teachers about the interest and aptitude of the students.  The schools also get an in-depth understanding of the strengths and the weaknesses of the students. This valuable information will help the school to create programs and courses that help bring out the best in their students.
The Downside of Exams
Examinations also bring plenty of stress for the students. This can lead to various health problems such as headache, nausea etc. Often failure in exams can lead to a loss of confidence for students who do not perform well. In the worst-case scenario, this loss of self-esteem can also cause suicidal tendencies.
The Conflict
In the current scenario, Governments across the world are deciding to cancel the exams. Examination halls with multiple students from different parts of a city have the potential to transmit the virus at a very rapid rate. Conducting exams involves handling papers by several human beings which is also extremely dangerous.
Currently, institutes have also realized that the spread novel coronavirus is unpredictable. In this situation, planning out an exam schedule for the year can be extremely difficult.
Considering all these concerns, many institutes have decided to promote their students without any exams. While the decision makes sense in the current scenario, but without exams, there is no way to assess the learning of the students. The school also loses out on all the other advantages of exams.

The writer is Retired Principal, Government Girls Senior Secondary school MHR Malout Punjab. He can be reached at 9465682110