Agrumentative Essay on “Are Exams The Ideal Form of Assessment?”

An Essay


The essay talks about an argument which arises from the relevancy and practicality of the current assessment system and the need for a new assessment system. The introduction discusses about the origin of the examination system. The body of the essay initiates the argument by analyzing the current state of the education system and the true purpose of conducting exams in an educational institution. This is followed by an argument about how the current summative examination system and how it has become outdated depicting the need for change in the current system.
The latter part discusses the possibilities and option of changing the current assessment system through either modifications on the current system or through the introduction of a new assessment system. This brings the attention to the formative assessment system and the response to intervention framework. There is thorough discussion about how these models are appropriate for the current education system and enhance the education experience and makes it relevant for students.


The education system requires a method to determine the skill level of students or the basis of certain factors which rely on the examination system. This leads to a brief terminology regarding the examination system and an analysis of the current condition of educational institutions specifically about the examination system and their ruminations. The predefined and standard examination system denotes a method to take skill based exams on the end of terms but there have been a lot of arguments regarding the system being outdated, unfair or not practical. There are several argument by scholars regarding how the old summative assessment system is not the ideal paradigm for an educational system. This has led to the introduction and application of newer assessment systems in the educational scenario of many countries.
Several scholars have argued about different methods specifically about the methods being appropriate for every child that passes through the educational system. The new assessment systems that are being considered for the future are formative assessment systems and modifications to the standardized summative assessment system. There is also an argument for the introduction of a Response to Intervention model for assessing students in an optimized manner.


Measurement of skill and learning capabilities has been a constant endeavor to analyze the ability of students or individuals in general for attaining a degree or passing barriers of education. The standardized method to do that in educational institutions has been the arrangement of examinations based on the myriad of knowledge provided in specific subjects throughout a given period of time. The earliest record of examinations has been derived from China but the initiation of examination systems in educational institutions was brought forward by the standardized intelligence tests formulated by Alfred Binet who was a French psychologist. (Fletcher, 2009) The application of these tests in an educational set-up was established in the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs) which later spread to other countries with modified parameters and standards. Due to a changing need to revolutionize the assessment system for bringing forward an optimized method for determining the skill level of students, there has been a wide discussion of a new educational framework.

Introspection of the Current Examination System

The current educational paradigm is governed by an examination system which has been in practice since the 1930’s. It originated in the form Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs) and the American College Tests and in the current scenario diverse forms of these tests can be observed. These forms have been modifications of the predefined summative assessment system. Due to that, the educational framework takes skill based examinations at the end of terms or twice during the terms and the scores are denoted either in the form of a percentage or a grade. The grades and percentage scores are considered as a benchmark of the skill level of students. The examinations check the skill level of students based on their level of knowledge in subjects like language, mathematics and a myriad of subjects which depend on the choice of students.
In general, an examination is an assessment of the skill, aptitude or fitness of an individual on the basis of the knowledge provided to the individual by an educational body. The purpose of an examination is to correctly examine the aptitude and skill level of the students studying in schools and colleges. The debate originates from the point that the current examination system serves the true purpose of the exams or not. This also brings up the point that the examination system that is in practice should be fair to students as it forms the pillar of the method of studying the students adapt. (Mansell & James, 2009)
In alignment with the standardized summation system, the schools and colleges take examinations at the end of the term or semester and the results which originates from these tests are taken as a basis for deciding how well a student has performed and whether the student is fit for going to the next level. If has been a belief that this system promotes a behavior trend on the part of students to study extensively when the exam is nearing and the amount of focus applied to studies during the rest of the time remains low. (Newman, 2007) This behavior trend being projected by students has been perceived negatively by education experts as student focus on scores when they attend classes and study rather than focusing on the importance of retaining knowledge and ignore the practical aspects of the subjects that they study. (Wolk, 2011) believes that this can be corrected by a ground level change in the examination system which has the potential to change the manner in which students perceive examinations and education in general.

Fletcher, D. (2009, 12 11). Standardized Testing. Retrieved from,8599,1947019,00.html
Mansell, W., & James, M. (2009). Assessment in schools Fit for purpose? London: Economic and Social Research Council, Teaching and Learning Research Programme.
Newman, V. (2007). Exam Technique. THE LEGAL EXECUTIVE, 24-27.
Wolk, R. A. (2011). Wasting Minds: Why Our Education System Is Failing and What We Can Do About It. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.


Posted on

March 7, 2018

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