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Madinat Khalifa Secondary Headlines | Week of 7 May

Examinations – A Shared Experience

Since formal structured education began, students have found themselves at desks, in straight lines, in silence, demonstrating their ability to recall information and answer questions. Our current Year 13 and Year 11 students are no exception to this tradition.

It is without question, tests are still considered a ‘rite of passage’ in our modern world. As parents, we have all found ourselves in silent lines, searching for answers and hoping for the best results to secure our next steps in life. But is formal traditional testing the best way to make judgements on learning?

Do we currently find ourselves at an educational crossroad where we are questioning ‘the test’? Does ‘the test’ give us the best answers? Does ‘the test’ tell us what we need to know about an individual? Does ’the test’ limit opportunities for us to express our knowledge and understanding?

It is accepted that we learn in different ways, at different times, within different subject areas but we still have to head towards that test in the same traditional way. What could a future alternative look like? How will future generations sit ‘the test’ in the years to come: virtual answers that are uploaded, tests which are downloaded or will they be completely scrapped? Maybe we will be able to download an app on the iPhone 27 that can remotely access our knowledge and present information for assessment that identifies to our place in society selecting careers that don’t even exist yet … who knows?

In the meantime, we must look at the advantages ‘the test’ brings to us in the present. As a society, we must look at examinations as a shared experience we can all relate to: the studying; the nerves; the painful hand from writing; the searching for that elusive answer and the dreaded anticipation of results day.

As parents and teachers, we get the privilege of supporting our children through, what is essentially, their first experience of real life pressure.  Having the opportunity to say ‘we have been there and know exactly how you feel’ does help. Believe me, teachers are still just as nervous on examination day for their students. Reliving this experience every year does not make it any easier.

So until the iPhone 27 hits the shelves, Compass International School will continue to work hard in providing a curriculum which is full of creative learning experience that is rich and varied but is shaped towards a clear focus on the end result: ‘the test’. To prepare our students for this, we have our Assessment Week at the end of every school year. This allows our students to begin to experience the pressure and nerves in a progressive and supportive way so that when the ‘real’ examinations come, they feel comfortable and ready to achieve their potential.

Today, you will have received an email explaining the Assessment Week schedule and how this will impact the end of year school report. We hope that you can support your child as they begin preparing to sit exams and feel the emotions we have all shared. This is a unique time in school when, regardless of age or role, we all know exactly how each other feels and support from home is essential if our students are to find success.

Have a great weekend!