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Examination Results

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January 10, 2016

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Examination Results

Every day of life is a test of your endurance, ability, sensitivity, humanity, tolerance, skills, knowledge… What are we preparing them for – a periodic exam at school!! – Let’s make exams so routine that life and its ups and downs become just another day to live, enjoy and move forward!!

The day the examination results are announced is even more dreadful than the days scheduled for the examination. Parents and children wait for the results with bated breath; it’s a culmination of their tireless striving towards success. Would you be able to say proudly to everyone about your child’s performance or would you avoid phone calls? For children it’s about would they get the promised ‘prizes’ or would they be subjected to a week of so called ‘counseling’ by parents, relatives, friends’ parents, tuition centre coordinators, teachers, principal. They would be told that they have potential, they are intelligent; if only they could concentrate more on their books, manage the time they waste on facebook, internet, games and sleeping. Its déjà vu for a lot of children; they go through this process year on year and yet are unable to break the trend. First let’s look at the whole concept of examination and the purpose of examination and then examine the ecstasy and the travails of marks.

EXAM: The most dreadful four letter word!!! Even before we grew up to realise what a ‘four letter word’ meant – this four letter word ‘Exam’ had more impact on our mental, physical and emotional state than any other four letter word in the world.

The stress of examinations has only increased. The number of suicides because of examination / stress of education is only increasing year on year. Depression, psychological disorders, stress, high blood pressure and diabetes during childhood – it’s all increasing. The educational thinkers of our times thought they have cracked the ‘examination stress’ code by inventing the CCE (Continuous and comprehensive evaluation) – a system which would take away the load of measuring only the academic excellence and give children who are not academically ‘gifted’ some relief. Great thought! Sadly from thoughts to action the entire context has been lost!

Now we have started measuring children on all aspects of life – values, participation, self confidence, appearance, projects, sports, etc. and again the only measure we have is ‘marks’ and promotion to the next grade based on the marks.

What goes wrong again is that these aspects which are supposed to be an assessment tool – have become the end, measuring how well the child has done! And that brings about the end of the intention and thought behind CCE.

Come examinations – actually it doesn’t matter if you call them Unit tests, 1ST term examination, midterm examinations, half yearly or SA (Summative Assessment)! It’s the same old story or rather an old story with a few new punches.
‘It’s a competitive world out there!’
‘You need to be the best’
‘You have the potential, if only you could concentrate/work a little harder’
‘You are taking this too lightly’
This kind of communication starts with children from class 2 onwards. No sports, no television, no parties, no movies, no outings. The list (read restrictions) is endless.

Examination the paradigm shift

Examination is just a process to measure yourself – where you yourself are and where you want to be. It’s not about the other person faring better or worse. It is a process for a student to measure himself and then formulate the way forward. If a student scores 60% in the examination, the assessment tool says – the student knows / scores 60 out of 100. Now if he wants to be at 80 or a 90 then the results can be used to chart out the future course of action. Help him assess the gaps so that the student can focus on the gaps and achieve what he wants to instead of being adjudged a failure.

Examination is an assessment tool for the child himself and not for the teachers or parents to make a judgment on the knowledge, skills, attributes, attitude of their child. The second part of the equation: is the focus on marks as applicable to life as we think it is? Remember your school days. We had our classmates scoring less than us, scoring higher than us and their position, success, fulfillment in life has no relationship with the marks they scored. They may have scored much less than us but when we meet them twenty years hence we can’t help but say, ‘You! At this level! Doing this! I can’t believe this!’

If you really examine, it wasn’t marks which gets us anywhere (true that it provides an opportunity) but it’s our attitude, skills, confidence, self esteem, and endurance which upholds us in the long run.

The way forward:
1. Let’s focus on and nurture the child’s self esteem, self confidence and the will to get up and face a setback instead of pointing out his deficiencies.
2. Let’s look at examination results as an assessment tool to plan out the next steps.
Every day of life is a test of your endurance, ability, sensitivity, humanity, tolerance, skills, knowledge… What are we preparing them for – a periodic exam at school!! – Let’s make exams so routine that life and its ups and downs become just another day to live, enjoy and move forward!!

SushantSushant Kalra is the Founder Director of Parwarish Institute of Parenting. Over the years he has developed interactive workshops for parents and teachers based on the age of their children and various topic specific workshops which deal with day to day issues of children e.g. studies, sex education, time, technology etc. Parwarish won the Best Teacher and Parent Coach Award conferred by the Federation of Public Schools of Delhi. Parwarish also won the Education INNOVATOR Award at the 5th Ed Leadership International Conference, Lucknow, Over the last few years he has conducted various workshops for Parents and Teachers in corporate companies and schools , like National Geographic, Accenture, Bal Bharti School, St Columbus School, Tagore International School, Father Agnel, Ramjas School, G.D. Goenka Public School, SOS Hermann Gmeiner School, Faridabad etc.

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