Essay 21 – Assessment of students has undergone a major transformation

GT Writing Task 2 (Essay Writing) Sample # 21

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

During the last twenty years, the assessment of students has undergone a major transformation. Many educational institutions have shifted their focus from traditional examination towards a variety of innovative assessment techniques, as they believe traditional examination results are not often true to student’s ability.

To what extent do you agree with this belief?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Model Answer 1: [Agree]
The assessment of students has indeed witnessed a significant transformation in recent years, with educational institutions increasingly adopting innovative assessment techniques over traditional examinations. I fully agree with the belief that traditional examination results do not always reflect the true abilities of students. This essay will delve into the reasons behind this belief and provide examples to support this viewpoint.

One key reason why traditional examination results may not accurately represent students’ abilities is the limited scope of assessment. Traditional exams typically focus on evaluating students’ performance in a specific timeframe, often through memorization and regurgitation of facts. However, this approach fails to capture the full range of students’ skills and capabilities. For example, a student may excel in critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, but these attributes are not effectively measured in a traditional exam format. As a result, the reliance on exam scores alone can lead to an incomplete and inaccurate assessment of a student’s true abilities.

Moreover, traditional examinations place excessive emphasis on rote learning and knowledge recall, rather than fostering deeper understanding and application of knowledge. Memorization-based exams tend to reward surface-level understanding rather than critical analysis and synthesis of information. This can discourage students from developing higher-order thinking skills and the ability to apply knowledge to real-world situations. In contrast, innovative assessment techniques, such as project-based assessments, portfolios, and presentations, allow students to demonstrate their understanding and application of knowledge in a more authentic and comprehensive manner.

In conclusion, the shift from traditional examinations to innovative assessment techniques is a commendable approach that acknowledges the limitations of relying solely on exam results to evaluate students’ abilities. By adopting innovative assessment methods, educational institutions can provide a more accurate and comprehensive evaluation of students’ abilities, enabling them to showcase their true potential.

Model Answer 2:
The traditional way of assessing students through paper-based exams has changed over the last two decades and many institutions are now focusing more on introducing innovative assessment techniques. The transformation is essential for proper evaluation and will help students become successful in the future. I believe the old system of evaluating pupils is flawed and often misguided.

To begin with, formal examination, in many cases, does not reflect the true knowledge and ability of a student. For instance, any student can pass a conventional exam with a good score by memorizing some questions, facts and formulas without really understanding them or knowing their exact use in practical life. It not only hampers their learning but also makes them incompetent in their jobs when they need to apply those formulas to solve bigger problems. Moreover, paper-based exams allow students to cheat and pass them without even studying hard.

On the contrary, unconventional forms of evaluation such as presentations, sudden quizzes, group assignments, open-book exams etc. appraise student’s abilities in a more accurate way. When a student gives a presentation in front of other students and teachers, it not only represents their creativity and presentation skills but also helps them become confident. The sudden tests keep the student updated with the class lecture. Also, the open book exam is a good technique to judge a student’s understanding of the basics. From my experience, I can say that I had to study more and needed to understand the concept clearly before attending the open book exam because I had no clue from where the teacher was going to make a question. These approaches scrutinize a learner’s creativity, knowledge depth, and reasoning ability to use them in the real world.

To conclude, educational institutions should not adhere to the old dogma and invite innovation, be it in teaching methods or assessing students.

Model Answer 3:
Technology has revolutionalised the way we lead our life, communicate with others, do our shopping, work in an office or learn from schools. However, this has not replaced the need for traditional classroom-based education and traditional assessment techniques. I reckon conventional examination results are still used widely and should be in place as it is the best way of evaluating students’ performance.

To commence with, the use of technology in education has made the learning, teaching and assessment process more convenient and accurate. But it has no way become the pillar of our education system as machines can never replace the intellectual and decision-making ability of our teachers. For example, a machine can detect grammatical errors in an examinee’s writing but can never judge the artistic and creative sense of it. Furthermore, new approaches to student assessment are still in the experimental phase and thus we can never truly evaluate a student by some computer-generated quizzes. We need human academics to talk to them and understand their concepts rather than letting computers decide who to pass and who to fail.

Moreover, innovative assessment techniques like open book exams, sudden quizzes, outfield projects, creative extension projects and so on could be often idiosyncratic as students can copy others and achieve good grades. Probably due to this, universities and many language test authorities still adhere to the traditional assessment approach in which students have to express their understanding in a paper-based exam. If the traditional exam approach had not been effective, we would have been already away from it.

In conclusion, the conventional examination result is still the best way to judge students’ ability and depth of knowledge and it is hoped that we will stick to this method in the coming days.

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