ANXIETY, tension, wetting of the palms, panic and stomach upset. These usually greet candidates who sit for final examinations at the end of each level; these exams are popularly known as summative evaluation in the education circles.
The hyper reaction of the body towards such circumstances is not only as a result of ill preparedness, as it is usually presumed. Even those who thoroughly prepare for the exams find themselves blank and nervous. They gaze at the grave quiet exam rooms and the two or 3 page colored or colorless examination question papers and wonder if all their years of labour, endurance of the biting morning and evening cold, let alone the money spent in school fees and upkeep, will come for naught by failing to answer just four questions after long toil and voluminous study.
A student looks at a question paper and fails to comprehend how a slight error in responding to the question items will be life defining and modeling. Tension mounts in pursuit of perfection. The dry and scaring eye of the invigilator complicates the situation. In fact, the entire situation sounds like conspiracy to frustrate someone’s dreams.
It is amazing how success in education has been so much pegged on obtaining the best grades in examinations. The grades from school stratify people and society. Excellence or failure earns one a social stamp that defines the stratum that he or she will belong to.
Before we give a verdict whether passing examinations is the only key to success or it is success in itself, let’s consult authorities and see what they say about success.
The Encarta dictionary defines success as the achievement of intention or something planned. This definition is on the same vein with success in examinations in a narrow view because passing examinations is triumph over a set task.
Different people have varied views of what success means to them. The views are as varied and widespread as the dynamics of the human race. The poor will think having a lot of money will be an upward thrust to success while the rich count themselves successful if they get happiness.
To avoid digressing very much let me get back to the point. Failure in school is not a failure in life. As long as literacy well above basic is attained one can always make it in life. This should not be misconstrued to mean that excellent school grades are of minimal or no consequence. NO. Those who obtain excellent grades have the kind of aptitude that will take them places.
The view that I want to advance is the fact that failing in school is not a barricade to success. Many are the success stories of those who failed in school and colleges who can be regarded as successful by all the possible parameters of humanly measuring success.
A new notion is needed in the view of success by the society. Pegging it all to national examinations puts students on a path that is way too difficult and perilous to tread; in fact, it is suicidal. Examinations are a mere measure of academic achievement.