Exams measure a person’s memorization of large amounts of information in a short period of time and are not helpful for ranking students by knowledge or skills. Should exams be removed and replaced by less stressful and more fruitful forms of assessments in High Schools and Colleges? Modern school examinations have been around for more than a century, many have passed though lots of sleepless nights of preparation and reviewing. At times exams have helped students get to the next level however, most of time exams have hindered them. The amount of pressure on students for upcoming exams is high. Many students have to review at home every day while still having to do extra homework for many other classes, therefore putting a significant amount pressure and stress on students and will have problems focusing in class.
Russ Poldrack who is a neuroscientist at Stanford found that learning information while multitasking causes the new information to go to the wrong part of the brain (Levitin 2015). Therefore, when students are studying for a big exam while having a significant amount of homework to do as well, the information for the exam will go to the striatum which is a region specialized for storing new procedures or skills but not facts and ideas. When students ask the brain to shift its attention from one activity to another, it causes the prefrontal cortex and striatum to burn up the fuel they need to stay on task and with that kind of rapid and repeated shifting, it causes the brain to burn up that fuel so quickly that we feel exhausted and confused after just a short period of time, this can lead up to bad intellectual and physical performances.
This can also result in a lower test grade and can cause a student to panic over their low grade, causing serious stress and anxiety that can lead to mental health problems. Students have been increasing more worried about the letter grade they might get in a class or exam than what they can actually learn in those classes. Giving every student the same test when they are on unique levels of understanding is like how Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”