The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

THW: ban written examinations in educational establishments

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AaronTanKY has forfeited round #2.
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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 9/17/2016 Category: Education
Updated: 1 month ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 145 times Debate No: 95458
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)




Full text of resolution:

"This house would ban written examinations in educational establishments".

Round 1- Acceptance only. No need to ask for permission.
Rounds 2-4: Main arguments and rebuttal.
Round 5: Rebuttal and summary only- no new arguments.

Sources should be placed in the comments section.
Voters should ignore any arguments made in Round 1 or the comments section, or any new points made in round 5.
"Select winner" voting system.
Open to the first member to accept as con; no need to ask my permission.

Good luck, and enjoy the debate!


I accept your challenge
Debate Round No. 1


My main three points which I will expand on are as follows:

1) Written exams are have an adverse effect on the teaching of a subject, and are inefficient at testing one's ability in a given subject.
2) Exams test skills which are no longer as important as they used to be- such as memorising information.
3) Exam weeks often have a severe effect on a student's physical and mental health.

As a supporter to this motion, I have a duty to propose an alternative system to written examinations which serves the same role, and will do this either in round 3 or at the end of this round if I have space. Please note that despite my efforts to propose a specific alternative system, I need not convince the voters that said system is better in order for the motion to be carried; if the voters can themselves think of a more workable system than the one I propose, but I have still convinced them that it would be better were written examinations banned, then the motion would, of course, still be carried.

Now, to develop my main points further:

There's no denying that students are currently taught, for instance, how to pass a French exam, rather than simply being taught French itself, because of the focus on the final exam at the end. This has a detrimental effect on the students' learning in this area, as the ability to speak French can be extremely useful in day to day life, but the ability to pass a French exam is not. Languages may be the most obvious example of this- with thousands of students gaining a qualification in French every year despite having no idea how to speak French in everyday life- but it happens in all subject areas: chemistry students are spending time learning that the colour of the flame produced by burning potassium is "lilac" rather than "purple" because that's what the exams want them to say, rather than actually learning more chemistry.

When written exams were first implemented centuries ago, internet access was not something that anyone had. Therefore, one of the most important skills to test was memory- the ability to recall information on demand, rather than having to search through libraries for hours, was extremely useful in one's professional life. Nowadays, however, almost anyone who's sitting a written exam has internet access 24/7. Therefore, the ability to recall that Margaret Thatcher was born on October 13th 1925, is no longer useful because it takes seconds to find that information online as I just did.

Lastly, I come to the point of the health effects exams have on students- the pressure of having sometimes as many as 15 exams over a few weeks all of which have a considerable impact on one's future employment prospects is extremely stressful, and is therefore associated with an increased risk of mental health conditions. The sheer amount of time spent studying indoors in darkened rooms, sometimes at the cost of a good night's sleep, has severe effects for both a student's physical and mental health.

I have enough space, so I will begin proposing a better system:

A better way to assess a student's ability in a subject would be to have their teachers write a detailed statement, kind of like a school report, about a student's skills in that area. Something like:

"Daisy is extremely good at the theoretical side of physics and shows a natural talent for the various mathematical processes we use throughout the course. She seems disinterested in experimental physics, and hence under-performs in that area. Quantum physics is an area she seems to have an intuitive understanding of..."

...and so on in that manner. This is clearly more useful to any potential employers than: "Physics BSc. 2-1" and removes all of the problems associated with exams as outlined above. It is for that reason that I urge the voters to side with the motion that we should ban written exams, and hence replace them with this or a similar system.
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Snazzy 1 month ago
What do you mean when you say written examination?
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