Private schools in Dubai are researching new ways to test their pupils after finding out that traditional examinations fail to measure true potential of a student.
Rather, teachers are checking children’s practical knowledge by presenting them with real-life scenarios and problems to resolve. Across developed nations, it’s a growing trend. Finland is famous for its high-quality education system. It has done away with sit-down tests for pupils below 18 years of age.
Last year, Singapore scrapped school rankings and by 2020 over 50% of primary schools and over 90% of secondary schools will get rid of half-yearly examinations.
Experts mentioned that exams may soon become totally unnecessary.
Dubai’s Dwight School has got rid of examinations for pupils between pre-kindergarten and Grade 10. Janecke Aarnaes, the head of Dwight School stated that end-of-year exams are not the ideal way of evaluating student outcomes. Janecke further added that an exam would only give a brief piece of information about the pupils and it would be vastly related to how the student might feel on that particular day. A good-performing student might give a bad exam because of being too stressed or for not having slept, and it’s unfortunate that it would define their future.
Ms Aarnaes stated that an added benefit would be sparing the pupils end-of-year stress. Her school’s focus is on measuring the progress of student with passage of time. The school creates a portfolio of work submitted throughout the year that would be the base of the pupil’s end-of-year grades.
Another school to have ended with examinations is Gems Modern Academy, an Indian curriculum school in Dubai. This year, its middle-school pupils won’t have to sit for exams at the end of the first term. It has been replaced with a challenge-based learning, which would be valued as a grade in the pupils’ report cards. Challenge-based learning motivates pupils to find answer to a problem linked to the UN sustainable development goals or in their own environment.