The Instigator
anachronist
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
ScarletGhost4396
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Exams are an unfair way of assessing the abilities of students in GCSEs

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/2/2012 Category: Education
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,394 times Debate No: 24019
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

anachronist

Pro

First round is for acceptance, this will be a short debate as I can't be arsed to drag it out for longer than a week.

I will be arguing from the position that GCSE students are being dealt a poor hand by exam boards, as exams are an unfair way of assessing a student's knowledge and ability regarding any particular subject, and other methods of assessment should be used in addition to written exams.

For those of you who live outside the UK, GCSEs are the qualification received by high school students after 2 years of study at the end of their school career in year 10 & 11 (9th grade and 10th grade in America I think). Students normally take about 8-11 of them, depending on individual ability. GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education.

My opponent would preferably have participated in GCSE studies in the UK, as that is the perspective I am arguing from.
ScarletGhost4396

Con

I accept the round.
Debate Round No. 1
anachronist

Pro

Firstly, written exams only assess one facet of a student's ability in any given subject: writing. For example, there might be a student who is incredibly knowledgeable on the subject of science, but finds it difficult to articulate themselves when writing an extended answer. If, instead, a member of the exam board had a conversation with the student, or just asked them a few questions verbally, this would eliminate those "silly mistakes" that students who are otherwise perfectly capable make during written exams.

Secondly, exams are a luck based system. A student may be incredibly good at answering questions about evolution in a biology exam, but not so good when it comes to,say, the reflex arc. Since a large portion of marks in a biology paper is allocated to each topic in the paper, if, by chance, there is a large section on evolution, the examinee will score high on the test. If, however, there is a large section on the reflex arc instead of evolution, the student may lose a significant amount of marks. In my experience, this can be the difference between getting an A or an A*. I have seen exams where students just happened to get all of the questions they were good at, and walk away with an A*, similarly, I have seen students get a series of question they were not so good at, and walk away with a B, even though they were just as good at the subject as the A* student. This kind of luck based assessing could be eliminated if, as I earlier proposed, examiners had a conversation with the students about whatever topic they are being assessed on.

Thirdly, the way exams are marked is by taking all the marks in that particular academic year, and allocating grade boundaries to percentiles. This is an unfair system, as in any given year, there ma be a large percentage of smarter people, which would make the grade boundaries extend to a point where it is much harder to get an A*, even though in any other year a large number of the students could easily attain one. Similarly, if there is a large influx of less able children, the bar will be lowered, making it easier to score high marks. How is it fair that students from one year will get an A* even though in a different year they would get a B, and how is it fair that students from one year will get a B, even though in another they would get an A*.


To clarify, I don't want to get rid of written exams, just make the criteria for a final grade more diverse than just written work.
ScarletGhost4396

Con

ScarletGhost4396 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
anachronist

Pro

Since my opponent has posted no counter arguments, I have no points to refute. I can assume they either concede the debate or wish to continue it in a separate debate. If my opponent chooses to post an argument in this round, I request a second debate in order to make rebuttals. If, however, my opponent has yielded, I request that they post "concession" so the debate can be over as soon as possible.
ScarletGhost4396

Con

ScarletGhost4396 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
I'm tempted. But I am, ironically, too busy with exams to be debate tbh.
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