Why do we still have examinations?

Week 8 is examination week for students in Years 10 and 11. Students’ study in subjects culminates in examinations assessing topics and skills taught in Semester 1. It has been pleasing to observe the maturity of Year 11 students as they have undertaken their tests. Students have been punctual, well prepared by bringing the required equipment and have applied themselves in the time provided. Our Year 10 students have experienced examination week for the first time. While there have been some nerves evident, this cohort of students has also presented themselves in an adult manner during this three-day period of tests.

The big question on many of the students minds at this time is why do we still have examinations? In short – as long as universities and Stage 2 SACE subjects use this mechanism to assess student attainment, then we would be doing a dis-service to students if we did not expose them to the process of examination revision, study preparation and sitting the examinations themselves. The examination process provides rigour that challenges students academically, intellectually and personally. From a practical perspective, students at Tatachilla have approximately five sets of examinations prior to the final Year 12 assessments. When considered in this way, students should adopt the attitude that they are beginning preparation for their final year of compulsory education in Year 10. Examination results are also used within the College to assist with the upcoming course counselling in Term 3. Results may form part of a prerequisite for a future course or provide associated information for suitability for new courses. For example, should a student wish to enrol in Business and Enterprise at Stage 2, we expect that they will have achieved a B grade or better in the Stage 1 English examination. I encourage students to consider the feedback from teachers in classes and on returned examination papers seriously. They are encouraged to talk to teachers wherever possible to seek advice since this is invaluable information that should be recorded and noted for improvement in examination performance in the second semester.

These examination experiences can reveal personal strengths and skills in the way that coursework is unable to. We also recognise that, when new to a student, examinations can challenge. The key with any disappointment in performance, is to consider the long-term opportunities for improvement. I encourage students to be honest in their reflections. If minimal study and revision has been undertaken and a disappointing result has eventuated, students should consider their own responsibility in the process and avoid discounting the situation or blaming. Reviewing results and exploring the reasons for them is a valuable learning experience when it comes to examinations. I wish every senior student success in their forthcoming results and encourage parents and carers to discuss and reflect upon this information by discussing it together.

Yours in Christ

Mrs Marylyn Marshall


Tatachilla Lutheran College
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