World's best school system has gotten rid of grading, should we do the same?
The best school system in the world has gotten rid of grades so should Ireland do the same?
Singapore which was ranked first in the international PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests have gotten rid of standardised testing in their schools.
Many in Ireland have argued over the years that tests, particularly the Junior and Leaving certificate are no real reflection of a child's intelligence, so should we follow Singapore's example?
Singapore is one of several countries, including Finland to ditch standardised testing from its schools and maybe it's time that we thought about doing the same.
Examinations not only put huge pressure on students but they have never been a one size fits all way to determine intelligence.
In fact, this type of testing hinders many students who may be more creatively minded or those with learning difficulties.
Even Einstein, who is believed to have been dyslexic, was told by his school teacher he would never amount to anything as he didn't test well. He is now considered one of the most intelligent people of all time.
In fact one of his most famous quotes touched on this subject;
"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree it will live it's whole life thinking that it is stupid."
Another problem with standardised testing is that they don't take our everyday lives into account.
A student could have an off day or be dealing with a personal issue and while on a different day they may have done well in an exam, on this occasion their mind can't focus. This bad exam, if it is something like the leaving cert, can then go on to affect their chances of being accepted into college.
The stress that they cause students is another huge concern. Only recently I heard about a sixth-year student who was so panicked before an exam that she took sleeping pills to help her sleep. She ended up taking too many and was unable to take her exam the following day. This instance is unfortunate but it could have been much worse as young teenagers should not feel the need to take such drastic action to get them through examinations.
Many experts have said that this form of testing just doesn't work, so why is it still commonplace in so many countries?
According to W.James Popham, professor in the Graduate School of Education at UCLA the standardised testing system is deeply flawed;
"These days, if a school's standardized test scores are high, people think the school's staff is effective. If a school's standardized test scores are low, they see the school's staff as ineffective. In either case, because educational quality is being measured by the wrong yardstick, those evaluations are apt to be in error."
Ireland is considered to be the sixteenth best country in the world for education but could we do more to improve our current global standing?
What do you think? Do you think that examinations should fall by the wayside or are they an important part of the educational process?