Every year thousands of students take important exams which can decide their future. For example, students have to pass exams with satisfactory grades in order to get a place in a university. However, are exams a fair way of testing of judging a student's ability?
On the one hand, exams seem fair. The questions are the same for all students. Also, the exams are marked according to a strict scheme and usually by more than one examiner. Furtheremore, students do the exams at the same time and under the same conditions.
On the other hand, there are some drawbacks with exams. Despite some students deserving to pass, they might be so nervous on the big day that they make a mess of the exam. Moreover, there may be other reasons, such as illness, which affect a student's performance in an exam. An alternative to exams would be a system of continuous assessment of course work by teachers during the year although this would mean more regular testing and more work for teachers. There would be a greater opportunity for students to copy work, too.
To sum up, exams are not the ideal way of testing students and the idea of assessing students' work over a longer period is becoming more popular. In my opinion, the best system would be a mixture of the two 60% exams and 40% course work.