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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why The Monthly Tests Should Not Be Abolished?

First of all, i am going to introduce myself. My name is Ong Ru Shan and. I am 17 years old and I am a student who is studying in secondary school. I am going to sit for SPM examinations in this coming November. My hometown is at Alor Star, Kedah. I am interested in studying biology and chemistry. Today, I am planning cautiously for what am I going to study after SPM examinations and what am I going to be in future. Thank you.

Why The Monthly Tests Should Not Be Abolished?

by Ong Ru Shan for Writing Contest 2008

Mentioning "tests" this word to any student and instantly you will get irritated response. Does anyone of us think before why nowadays student detest tests so much? To them, tests are a source of endless worries, anxiety and stress. Students feel that tests disrupt their comfortable and enjoying life. Besides, parents and teachers place a tremendous amount of pressure on them to excel. They have no choice, as a result, they heed the advice that the parents and teachers give in order to success in future. For students who are poor in academics, they do not have any alternative except to score with flying colours. It is not surprising for they have to spend torturing and yet sleepless night burning the midnight oil at eleventh hour. They are worried about the penalty that would greet them if they fail in the examinations. Some students are so miserable when they fail that they even resort to commit suicide. Despite of all these adverse effects of tests, I still strongly of the opinion that the examinations should not be abolished because its advantages far outweighs its disadvantages.

Monthly tests are very useful to teachers who use it to pinpoint the weaker students in the class. The absence of monthly tests makes the teachers not be able to differentiate the standard of pupils in academics. The teacher would then pay more attention to the students who did not do well in the class. At the same time, teachers would be able to help them to keep abreast with the rest of the class. This way, no one is left behind. Every teacher is helpful and kind, teachers will ensure their job is done by transferring their knowledges to students and help students to improve in their tests.

Besides, parents use the monthly tests to measure their academic progress at school. If parents see any decline in the marks, parents would immediately take proactive actions to nip the problem in the bud. This is done by parents in order to stop the decline before it is too late. This way, parents can always be assured that their child always do well and do not misbehave in school.

Contrary to common belief, monthly tests are beneficial to students themselves. Monthly tests make students study hard constantly and not to do the preparation for the examinations at the last minutes. Monthly tests help students to revise the works easier and will not be so nervous to face the public examinations. Though consistent studying, the students would not do poorly in school.

Based on the reasons mentioned above, it is clear that monthly tests should not be abolished. These tests are invaluable to teachers, parents and most importantly, students themselves. Last but not least, if we do not hope to see our educational level drop in a sudden in future, we should not abolish monthly test.
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1 comment:

  1. Howdy there,

    First of all, let me congratulate you for this very thoughful article, though there are some noticeable grammatical errors in your article.

    Being a student who's gone through almost anything (tests, exams, preps - you name it), of course I do concur with you that monthly tests shouldn't be abolished, but that's not just about it.

    If our monthly tests (or exams) in schools are to be put under microscope, they are invaluable tools to help students and parents to ONLY help to measure and keep track of how much someone has learned in a series oflessons. Problem is, academic performances in Malaysia (plus elsewhere) are measured via how well you score and maintain your scores in archaic, rigidly designed tests/exams. Having said that, tests have become the necessary evils that we seem unable to dissociate with - we are too used to measure somebody's worth through how good of a Band or grades you have under your belt. I'd of course advocate that we (students, parents, policy makers and everyone) to re-look at the goals of our education system, because tests (monthly or grand ones) are just some of the means to tell if somebody is good enough in a series of pre-determined learning. Instead of using tests, students' portfolios and ongoing assessments should also be considered as alternative forms of assessing a student's achievement and progress in a subject/discipline. There are many government and research sanctioned reports and research that prove that on-going, holistic assessments have helped learners to achieve learning goals as set by the testers. I could go on and talk about these research, but not to hog your space here - I'll try to summarize why on-going, holistic assessments are better than tests:

    1. You go to school to learn, not to see how better you are than everyody else. True pursuit of knowledge means acquiring higher knowledge and is impossible to measure by the way.

    2. A one time test in many cases are worse than an on-going assessment in assessing a learner's true learning progress and ability; test validity (you can google this)is affected by how fair a test is. A method of assessment's fairness and validity is much affected by a lot of factors, and any established researchers in the area of testing will tell you that tests are by themselves not perfect and not the ultimate mean of assessing, if you even care to assess a learning progress mathematically and systematically in the first place.

    3. Monthly tests do not help parents to check on their kids' misbehaviour(s) - tests can only do so much and they only measure if a student has studied what he/she was supposed to study in the first place. An on-going assessment will instead report a student's competency in many areas at a glance - namely academic, people-relationship, spiritual, EQ management and etcetera. Even then, an ongoing assessment does not necessarily do this very well as you can't measure everything under the sun (or moon).

    4. You mentioned that students will not do poorly in school if they study well. But then again, there are again many dimensions to what "doing poorly" means. Do you mean that a student does poorly in school he/she fails exams (as based on a set of indicator) that he/she works so hard on while keeping him/herself out of troubles like drugs and violence? Again, you have to revisit the 1 million dollar question - why do you even attend school in the first place? What goals of learning should take precedence and why?

    5. As an academician/scholar, I find that your statement "if we do not hope to see our educational level drop in a sudden in future, we should not abolish monthly test" is very much unjustified. "Educational level" can be measured in many dimensions, again, and I would like to caution everyone else reading this that TESTS are not the ultimate mean to tell if somebody is doing well or not. The pursuit of knowledge is for the purpose of doing a common good. A welder/fisherman is much more valuable to a country's economy and well-being than a student who does well in "exams" (in the narrowest sense of definition) but could not at all deliver changes/benefits for the good of the mass.

    So to conclude, monthly tests shouldn't be abolished if they do help the learners, but again should not be preferred over other available means for the purpose of measuring a person's academic competency alone. You, my dear by the way deserves my salute for being able to write a thought provoking piece of article, and please don't be discouraged by my comments. We are all still learning and I look forward to converse again with you in the future.

    Keep up the good work (and writing)!

    Charles. C


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