30 May 2012

Mary Beard's take on Cambridge Exams has something to teach American educators....

In her blog about the exams Cambridge students write at this time of year and the negative ways they dramatically change the experience of teaching and learning, Mary Beard asks and astutely answers:

So why do sudden death exams? Wouldn't some form of continuous assessment be fairer and better and more educationally productive?

I'm not sure. In our final year, we do have a dissertation option (10,000-word essay on a subject of your choice, cashing in for one of four papers) which many of our students now do. It's good, but I'm not sure I want more of it. The advantage of a sudden death exam is that it is SUDDEN. And it frees up the other two terms for experiment and for risk taking and for not always worrying that everything you do will somehow "count" towards your final degree. The best bit of teaching is when kids chance their arm in writing an essay, and they would be much less likely to do that if the spectre of assessment was always hanging over their heads.

1 comment:

  1. This post is about 10,000 words essays. i need 10000 word dissertation. Are they both different from each other?