The Instigator
cammylewis
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
JackOfDiamonds
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Exams should be changed for the better

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/27/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 301 times Debate No: 74277
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (0)

 

cammylewis

Pro

Hello everybody
I believe very strongly that GCSE&GCE awards in the UK should not be based off exams as you may know what to put but have the wrong exam technique and fail the exam all together. I think that many people would agree that while exams do test knowledge they should be based purely off knowledge of the course and not require any technique to actually sit the exams to begin with.
(Your Turn Argue cons)
JackOfDiamonds

Con

Thank you for this debate.

I will argue that the current system of GCSE awards in the UK has it right, because knowing facts is not what education is about. Public examinations aren't compiled merely to test whether you know what happened in the Yom Kippur War, or whether you know the first 10 Amendments of the US Constitution off by heart: the purpose is to teach you how to apply your knowledge, as that is the skill education really looks to develop. Anyone can learn a sheet of facts and claim that they have a lot of "knowledge", but actually that knowledge is useless unless you can apply it in the correct way. In fact, the technique is perhaps the most important thing you learn from GCSEs, at least when it comes to essay subjects, as when you have to write reports or statements in university or in a career, it won't be the factual information, but the techniques and skills you learnt with the facts that will help you complete the task.

Schools don't teach subjects for the sake of letting people know about a period of history or a the reactivity of certain metals: they teach them so that those subjects act as carriers for the skills which come along with them, and those skills are what education is really about.
Debate Round No. 1
cammylewis

Pro

Thank you Mr Jack
Yes Having the ability to apply yourself is a very looked upon skill but what if the people who sit these exams have 0% interest in the subject (for instance your forced into an art specialist school but have no interest in art ).If you have no interest in the subject then you can't fully apply yourself to that subject which would lead to no understanding of course.That said presenting these students with some form of essay on the whole course would allow them to pick up more marks overall because they can reference everything that course has to offer (even with little understanding) other than the limitations the exams have witch ask you specific questions they may not know the answer to .Stronger students would be to apply their knowledge and pass with A and B while the others would still be able to just about pass the course with a C where the exams could refer them with a U
(Maths is pretty much the only exception)
JackOfDiamonds

Con

But that [having 0% interest in the subject] is why most schools give you a choice of which GCSEs or A levels you take. If your school doesn't then that isn't a criticism of our current educational system, but rather your school in particular. At the school I went to, we had to do English, Maths, at least 2 Sciences and 1 Modern Language, but beyond that it was up to us to pick what really interested us. I agree that if you have no interest in a subject then you can't fully apply yourself to it, but that doesn't mean that taking that subject doesn't broaden your knowledge and increase your analytical skills to some degree. Even if you absolutely hate it, you will still be improving the skills which will help you in other subjects, and careers in later life.

Moreover, exams are really necessary as a standardised form of assessment. Universities and employers need a way of summing up your academic credentials, and since everyone sits A levels/GCSEs, they are a consistent and pretty accurate grading of a person's academic ability. What you are arguing is that exams disadvantage those who do not work for them, or those who are not intelligent, and that those people should be more advantaged, but that simply doesn't make sense. Why should a student who would get a U in an exam deserve a C, when people work exceptionally hard for C grades? We don't want to enable lazy students to get by with a vague knowledge of material and low levels of work and still get a passing grade. Exams aren't made for you to pass them - they're made to test and assess you, so that in the world of employment or university admissions people can see how academically apt you are, and if all of a sudden swathes of bad students receive C grades it completely devalues to entire system.

The current way GCSEs are set, however, basically make it so that if you revise hard you'll get good results, hence why they are so fact-based. That is the way it should be, because the exam boards want to reward eager and hard-working students who may not necessarily be very intelligent. Students who do not work hard do not deserve even decent grades, because that will be misleading to universities/employers when it comes to selecting applicants. If you want decent grades at GCSE, work for them, but you can't complain that the system is flawed when students who don't work hard enough don't receive good grades.
Debate Round No. 2
cammylewis

Pro

cammylewis forfeited this round.
JackOfDiamonds

Con

To conclude, GCSEs, in their current state, are an effective representation of ability. Thank you for the debate, cammylewis.
Debate Round No. 3
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