Are exams even testing the right things?


At this time when kids are being put through hell and stress with exams and being told how important these are going to be their life, it’s interesting to review why we are setting these timed stress points as useful indicators for future success.  It seems pretty clear that exams are not indicators of anything useful – unless life is about memorising facts and spitting them out in tightly timed pressurised conditions. It is not what is important in life for success, or making a good balanced living or having happy relationships or managing health and good life choices.

Here’s a list.

It’s all of the aspects of human character that are not measured in regular school testing.

Creativity
Critical thinking
Resilience
Motivation
Persistence
Curiosity
Question asking
Humour
Endurance
Reliability
Enthusiasm
Civic mindedness
Self-awareness
Self-discipline
Empathy
Leadership
Compassion
Courage
Sense of beauty
Sense of wonder
Resourcefulness
Spontaneity
Humility

Source: Maria Montessori

I am stumped why are we are still using archaic testing systems in stressful exam conditions in schools to measure our children’s abilities. What message does this send out to the children about what we believe are the priorities in this world? We adults have a lot to learn from children who know how to play, to pick themselves up, to be present in the moment and cry when they need to. We are kicking creativity out with our learning systems.

It’s time for changes in our style of teaching our young ones. Make it more fun, more creative, more interesting and worry less about grades and exam performances perhaps. Encourage happiness, playfulness, empathy and understanding emotionality.

Should we look at this education system thing once again? This time with a little more of a creative and contemporary eye and urgently. With someone like Trump potentially rising to become one of the most powerful people in the world, we need to take some action in education for the younger ones so that we can plan for a better stronger world now.

Children need creativity and to be supported in knowing the first and foremost priority is to be a good human-being and know how to make great choices for themselves and the good of all.