The Instigator
gdcintl
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
SashaD
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The unit system is better than the end of year exam system.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/9/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 595 times Debate No: 56288
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (0)

 

gdcintl

Pro

The point of this debate is to argue whether the unit system is better than the end of year exam system. I will be taking the pro side (that is, the unit system side) of the debate. There will be four rounds, the first for initial arguments, the second for rebuttals, the third for additional arguments, and the fourth for final rebuttals. I have several reasons for claiming that the unit system is preferable. The first is that is easier on the student. When the time comes for a test, the student studies just as diligently as they would for a final exam, and also will care as much about the results of a test as the results of a final exam, because if they fail the unit, they cannot pass. The difference is that the student will have less to study, allowing them greater chances of passing, and the topic of the test will be something just learned, instead of something learned several months ago, which leads into my second reason. This reason would be that the results would render the final results of the year as more accurate to the student's best abilities. If a student has less to study, and has just learned the topic, they will be using their best possible abilities, as opposed to just what they can remember from a topic studied months ago, which will yield vague results on how much they knew when the topic was being taught. Finally, the unit system is easier on a teacher. When writing an exam, a teacher has to add questions from several different topics, meaning they have to work to balance the amount of questions for each topic. Furthermore, the teacher may accidentally cover a topic that was focused on only briefly, as another result of the subject being taught months before and the limitations of human memory. When writing a unit test, the teacher has just taught the subject, so they know what facts to cover, and also don't have to balance out questions, as a result of not having to cover multiple topics at once.
SashaD

Con

For highschoolers it is essential to obtain good habits that they will be able to maintain throughout their furthered studies in college, and then later apply these habits to real life situations. What is the point of passing something and never talking about it again? In a unit by unit test system with no final exam, there is no way to see if the student actually absorbed the essential information learned over the year. The unit test system does give better grades, as you just have to prepare for a very specific set of information. However if the unit is not 'thick' (considering most units are covered over a period of a two weeks on average) this lets the students have a stress-free studying time because honestly, they will be able to cram most of the information the night before the small unit test. Unit tests are good I agree with that, but they should not substitute a final end of year exam. Instead, the unit tests should be quizzes that serve as little check ups for the teacher to see how his students are doing. The quizzes would be just like a unit test, but it shouldn't hinder the student from advancing to further subjects unless the teacher thinks so (if the student failed the quiz, that would be a good idea). Then at the end of the year the student would go back and look over notes, projects, powerpoints and study for the final exam. The point of the final exam is not to make sure the student remembers every single piece of information presented in the classroom, but to see if the student understands the bigger picture or the concept. The main purpose of final exams is to see if you are ready to advance to harder classes. The one big disadvantage for end of year exams is that it puts a lot of stress on the student, which could lead up to them doing bad on the test. However this should not discourage students. Instead they should find ways to study that will fully prepare them for the test. That includes paying attention in class and taking notes that you will be able to use for studying. An end of year exam also encourages students to manage their time better. If you have a finals in a month it would be a good idea to spend a few hours to study everyday instead of cramming for hours the night before. This will prepare the students for problems in life that are more stressful in life which is essentially the whole purpose of school. To prepare kids for life in the real world.
Debate Round No. 1
gdcintl

Pro

I do admit that you make some good points there. However, there are a few points that are made that I disagree with. First off, your comment on how finals will somehow apply to real life situations. In real life, you are not going to have your knowledge tested at all; people aren't going to come around and ask you questions about your knowledge of physics; in your selected job, people are going to assume you know the basic fundamentals of your job after training, they're not going to quiz you at all. I also disagree with your assumption that students will never talk about a subject again after taking the test. I would have to say that what subjects you talk about will be what you are most interested in, and will therefore be subjects you will use most over the course of your life, the subjects forgotten will be ones you hardly ever need to use, as your chosen job will reflect what you as a person are interested in. Also, if students will forget a subject after they finish, what's to stop them from forgetting after taking an exam. The answer would be nothing; if people aren't interested in remembering something and aren't given a reason to, then they'll forget it. Finally, I disagree with your assumption that exams teach kids studying skills more effectively than unit tests. The amount of studying a person does and how they organize they're studying time reflects their desire to pass. A student will care about passing just as much for a unit test as with an exam, as failing either means failing the grade. If a student is going to cram last minute, they're going to cram no matter what kind of test they are taking. The difference is that for a unit test, a student will have to spend less time figuring out how to effectively study for everything.
SashaD

Con

Yes, unit tests are easier on the student. That is the problem. The student studies just as diligently as they would for a final exam? That sounds like an ultimatum and I disagree with it completely. Obviously a student will strive to pass ANY test, but the amount you have to study for a unit test is significantly less than for a final exam. What's the point of giving more chances in passing a test if it doesn't help the students learn? In no way does it render the final results of the year more accurate because once they get to the end of the year, the students won't be able to go over the same unit they did six months ago with the same ability that they took the small unit test with. No doubt that they will not be able to remember things from each unit. But then again why do they have to? After all there is no final exam test so why should they bother relearning something they went over before just because they forgot it? No, that is not what we should be encouraging students to do. On your statement that students have to rely on what they can remember on the topic studied months ago yielding vague results is inaccurate. They don't need to remember. They need to look at the notes that they took during that topic and go over it again if they forgot it to make sure this topic is not vaguely answered. The whole point of school and tests is not to be easier on teachers, in fact final exams can be used to evaluate how well the teacher is teaching his students. Any test should have a good balance of questions from the topic/unit. If a topic on the test is in there that was briefly covered, then the teacher is at fault. I'm sure the teacher remembers how much time he spent teaching a topic and if the teacher is not writing down a syllabus or some sort of plan and relies on pure 'human' memory then this person should not be a teacher. Students should strive to learn information to remember it in the long run, not just for a small unit test and then never have to cover all that information again. There is no point in making something easier and show better grades when really they mean nothing.
Debate Round No. 2
gdcintl

Pro

Not only will a student following the unit system have all the aforementioned bonuses, the student will also have several additional bonuses that grow from one simple fact: a student studying for a unit test won't have to spend as much time at home studying as a student studying for an exam. Studies have shown that a student should not spend more than 10 minutes per grade level (that is 10 minutes for first grade, 20 minutes for second grade, and so on and so forth) doing homework, which includes studying for a test/exam; working/studying more actually cause test/exam scores to go down. Studies have also shown that the best students do not have tons of homework, but instead have a modest amount of homework, reasonable amounts of free time, and get a good night's sleep every night. With less studying time comes less time working, and therefore, more free time as well as time to sleep.
SashaD

Con

Final exams are excellent in preparing a student for difficulties in the real world. You mentioned that nobody will be going up to you randomly and fact checking you, however I think you missed the whole point. My point is that it helps students deal with stress. There will be a lot of stress in college, and a lot more workload. Teachers should not be holding the students hands and guiding them through every step like with small unit tests. Small unit tests have very specific information and the student will be able to easily manage that with a couple hours of studying if even. A final exam doesn't only test the knowledge and memory of a learned topic, but how good the students are at taking a huge load of information and studying them by bits (just like small unit tests!) by learning how to manage their time wisely. Sure the student might get less time to socialize but that is also a skill. The ability to block out things that are not very important at the moment to do something that has greater value. It would be wise to skip parties or doing random stuff with friends to get extra time for studying/sleeping and eventually passing the test. This teaches students how to prioritize the important things.

We have been talking a lot about the students, but what about the teachers? Teachers benefit from final exams as well. Perhaps not as much as the students due to the countless pages they have to accurately grade, but the final exam can determine if the teacher has been doing a good job going over the topics/units. If a majority of the students do poorly on the test then that could be a good indication that the teacher should change the way he teaches the material (or the teacher should be changed). Even though a final exam causes a lot of stress on both the student and the teacher, its benefits outweigh the negative effects.
Debate Round No. 3
gdcintl

Pro

I think you are missing the basic points of what I'm trying to say. You claim that exams help deal with stress, but you don't ever give an explanation as to how. You even admit that exams are more stressful. My inferred explanation is that adding stress will help someone to better deal with it. This doesn't make any sense whatsoever, yet this seems to be the explanation you lean on. I also don't understand your logic as to how the teacher is guiding the student through every step when taking unit tests. Also, you make a point as to how exams measure how well the students are at taking large amounts of information and studying it in smaller parts, and you compare it to unit test. This unravels your argument, as if the students are going to study information bit by bit for an exam anyway, why not just break those smaller pieces of information into unit tests. Together, the unit tests do make a whole, and to pass the whole, you need to pass all the different parts; much like exams. In addition, your argument that exams teaches the students to block out unimportant stuff to pass is flawed, as unit tests teach this as well. Finally, you say that exams can test the teacher and teach them how to teach better. In today's world, mandatory province/statewide standardized tests are becoming more and more common. These tests are meant to test not the student, but the TEACHER. At this point, teachers don't need results from exams to help to teach them how to teach well, simply because of how common these tests have become.

By the way, in your last argument, you rebutted statements I made during my last argument as well as my previous rebuttal. This was against the rules of the debate, as in the last round you were supposed to only provide additional arguments for your side. However, I am willing to let that slide just this once. However, I will make it very clear to you what I'm about to remind you of by writing it in caps: FOR THIS ROUND, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO REBUT THIS REBUTTAL. ONLY USE STATEMENTS THAT I GAVE IN THE LAST ROUND OR IN MY PREVIOUS REBUTTAL.
SashaD

Con

"Not only will a student following the unit system have all the aforementioned bonuses, the student will also have several additional bonuses that grow from one simple fact: a student studying for a unit test won't have to spend as much time at home studying as a student studying for an exam. Studies have shown that a student should not spend more than 10 minutes per grade level (that is 10 minutes for first grade, 20 minutes for second grade, and so on and so forth) doing homework, which includes studying for a test/exam; working/studying more actually cause test/exam scores to go down. Studies have also shown that the best students do not have tons of homework, but instead have a modest amount of homework, reasonable amounts of free time, and get a good night's sleep every night. With less studying time comes less time working, and therefore, more free time as well as time to sleep."

You have nothing to back up any of that information and I could not find any studies relating to this. Please don't make up information in a debate. That alone should forfeit your whole argument. Also how does one student get less homework than another? I believe that in a class the teacher assigns all the students the same homework, therefore proving your point about how some marvelous studies you decided not to cite that the best students get less homework and all the other statements in that sentence are false. Please refrain from making up absurd studies and fact check before posting any arguments. I also don't see anywhere in my third round argument where I rebut your third round argument. I was responding to your second and first rounds and adding more information because this round was dedicated to additional comments but never does it say that it is limited to them. If I had the opportunity to call you out on your false studies, I would have done so without hesitation but I respected your rules. I still stand on all my previous statements and have sources backing them up just below.

http://www.educationspace360.com...
http://paulrheller.com...
http://www.psychologytoday.com...

Thank you for this debate.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
No votes have been placed for this debate.