Our Education Secretary Michael Gove has proposed a new idea where coursework and the GCSEs will be replaced by one hard test. This is an absurd idea. Tests are what is wrong with the education system. We should have more coursework and less tests. The biggest problem with the education system is that people are taught to pass tests. They're pumped full of facts and what they actually learn is not a lot. Coursework changes this because you have to work out a lot of things for yourself and put everything together to make sense of it all. With science coursework especially. You do experiments and come to conclusions yourself and find out how things work. Not just that they work, but how and why.
I know that its because of tests that I was able to get passing grades
because my coursework was sub-par. But I do acknowledge how important
the coursework can be. When you're learning to pass tests you can still
learn a fair bit, but its not all applicable. There are some exams that
do teach you a fair amount, such as history and English literature. In
both of those you study something, often a piece of writing, and then
draw conclusions based on it. There are no right and wrong answers as
long as you can back up and justify what you say. You can even get a
point if you come to a totally incorrect conclusion, but have sound
reasoning. Analytical skills are very useful.
Not every test is like this really though. Plus not everyone picks up
these little things. There are some things that will probably never be
in an exam. Tests are important, its good to know what people know so
you can know what they might need help with, but if you teach them how
to pass the exams then you're not really finding out what they know, you
find out what you've told them.
There's not a great deal of stuff I actually retained from school. I
think if I took my GCSEs again I'd fail. But as you can see I know
enough Maths and English to get through life, which is always good.