Since time immemorial, our Indian Education System has followed a pattern of conducting examinations to evaluate students’ abilities, potential, and talents. A student is considered bright and is assumed to do well in life if their academic marks are excellent. But can we measure the true potentials of a student based on the answers they write on that piece of paper? Are examinations the correct way to evaluate whether a student is talented or intelligent? Does scoring good marks are the ultimate goal every student must have?
It has always been a trending topic to discuss whether the pattern followed by our Indian Education System needs an improvement. We came across one such student to get her views on whether the Indian Examination System needs a new approach and whether examinations reflect the true abilities of a student. . Here is what she had to say:
SchoolMojo: So what do you think, Muskaan, regarding the Indian Education System? Does the system justify the understanding of a student’s true potential?
Muskaan: Well, Albert Einstein was suspended from his school because he failed his examinations. He had the talent to make a difference, but it did not reflect his actual ability since he failed his examination. Today, all we know about the theories of space and relativity is due to his contributions. What does that tell you?
SchoolMojo: Albert Einstein was a genius without any second thoughts. That is one example that we can consider as an exception. But does that stand true in every case?
Muskaan: I believe that some marks and grade pints on a mark sheet cannot justify the potential a student might have within them. Examinations can evaluate our overall academic performance or if a student is capable of being promoted to a higher level of studies in a rigid system of education. Still, they weren’t designed to evaluate a student’s abilities and potentials in life.
SchoolMojo: So, do you say that examinations are just a step stone for attaining a degree?
Muskaan: Examinations do not test the true abilities of a student. It tests the knowledge that they have obtained in their classrooms and lectures. That knowledge is not sufficient to excel in real life. Real-life includes applying knowledge that a student can prove without securing excellent marks in an examination. To quote Albert Einstein, ‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’
SchoolMojo: That is a different and exciting perspective. Why do you think examinations are not the correct way to understand a student’s potential?
Muskaan: Every system comes with pros and cons. The Indian Examination system also has some advantages. Still, majorly there are a few reasons for which I believe it is not the ideal measure for the true talents of a student.
School Mojo: So in this case Muskaan, being a student what do you think you need to elevate your learning experience and give you the utmost our of your schooling experience?
Muskaan: Practicality! The only thing we would need is – Practical knowledge. We are given a lot of homework and assignments. We are spending the major part of our day in our schools. But if we get an idea of how much we manifest, its probably very less. So why does that difference come in?
Lack of practicality in whatever we do! We are taught things we never use in our real life and what we need is often ignored. Though this is shocking, this is the sad reality!
Pros of the Indian Examination Systems:
– A formal system: Academic qualifications can never be measured 100% accurately. However, a formal system helps in setting measurable guidelines. It helps streamline the process to understand the different levels of abilities and knowledge a student can possess. Without a system, the academic environment cannot function.
– Creates a suitable environment: Every student can indeed possess different levels of abilities. Not every student can be suited for every job in real life. Examinations might not measure a student’s capabilities accurately, but it streamlines the process to an extent where a student suited for a particular job is placed according to their qualifications. It eliminates the ruckus of finding undeserving students at various business positions.
Cons of Indian Examination Systems:
– Cheating: Every student, including you and me, has been created in the examination at least once. The system does not have the necessary resources and patterns for eliminating cheating. This exists due to a stigma that ‘Unless you score marks, nothing else matters.’ Thus, the students do whatever it takes to score such marks. There is always an underlying risk of leaking papers or promoting students who might not deserve to secure positions with the traditional system. The system is vulnerable to cheating and can be replaced with a better version.
– The constant race of winning: We have all seen instances of students forgetting everything they have learned right after they step out of the examination hall. The reason this happens is that we all study to qualify the examination. Thus the true meaning of attaining knowledge is lost in this constant race of winning. It also does not show that a student is well equipped with abilities as they do not retain the knowledge after the examinations. We care for scores rather than concepts.
– A test of memory: Examinations are not the analysis of creativity and understanding of concepts, but a mere game of memory. Having a good memory can quickly help you pass out with flying colors. This creates barriers for students who possess the creativity to make a difference.
– Creating mental breakdowns: Examinations have been a reason for the majority of mental breakdowns for students. The system of categorizing ‘A’ grades as excellent and attaching the students’ abilities with high percentages and grade points has created severe pressure on them. Students who fail to live up to these standards often consider themselves incapable, which results in depression, suicide attempts, and self-destructive natures. Do you still believe that examinations can be the true indicators of what a student can do in life?
SchoolMojo: Do you think the Indian Examination System needs a new approach for assessing its students?
Muskaan: The examination system we follow in India has evolved over the past many decades, and it keeps getting better with technological advancements every time. However, there are a few changes that the system is demanding:
– Change in the pattern of question paper distribution: Using modern technology, question paper can be designed digitally and distributed using electronic mediums and encryptions. This prevents the risk of leaking question paper and cheating to some extent.
– Surprise assessments: The traditional evaluation method comes with a loophole where students might mug up answers, only to forget them later on. As we have discussed this point above, I believe conducting surprise assessments can be a true test of how much students are retaining from their lectures. It can also evaluate the amount of knowledge a student could gain and can apply in real life.
– Concept Testing: Modifying the system to test the students’ concepts can help the invigilators identify the potentials and abilities of a student better rather than assessing the retention of bookish definitions by the students.
I believe these a few steps can make the Indian Examination System a better evaluator for a student’s abilities.
SchoolMojo: That was quite a healthy discussion, Muskaan. I believe many students will agree with you on your points. It has enlightened us and broken many myths that we were carrying regarding the examinations patterns and systems. It was good having you with us. We hope to see you around!