The need for tests [Archives:2000/47/Viewpoint]

November 20 2000

An exam has always been an inevitable detested part of any education. As students we have always feared and hated exams.
Assessing students skills and knowledge against national standards provides knowledge to parents regarding how well their child is doing compared to others throughout the country. Not only then, but today, in most aspects of life there is one kind of test or another. When employment for example, one expects employers to evaluate their job applicants. For new graduates coming out of public school system into the work force, these job evaluations are probably the first meaningful testing of the students acquired skills and knowledge.
We have thousands of educational institutes around in the country. In a survey done by the Yemen Times about private institutions, it was found out that most families these days prefer them for their childrens education than government ones. They claim that by that way, their children learn more, and hence have a better chance in life.
But with time, it became obvious that more money and tougher courses were not producing the desired results. Look at the level of awareness. Education is not a degree one obtains or a title before ones name.
The need for real testing and actual assessment is required and very soon. What students used to learn in their 6th grade ten years ago, students graduating from high school today dont have an idea about. Is it the fault of the ministry of education? Or is it the education system as a whole?
Different methods of assessment will significantly alter both what is taught and how it is taught. A better assessment system than what we have now would make it necessary for teachers to teach for understanding rather than for factual recall.
It would become necessary to teach fewer things but in depth, rather than many things superficially.
What we need now is not a huge set of exams and many stages to reach from one level to the other. We need a real assessment of our students. To bring a good generation that is well educated and knows what they are doing. This way maybe the educational situation would improve and with education all other aspects of life would consequently.
For sake of the future, and what is there left to save we should make a move, and make it now.