Exams ‘should be changed, not abolished’ experts say

Exams are essential to the education system, though not in the form they currently take in Greece, was the view of educationists who spoke to Kathimerini. «There must be assessment in schools. It is to the advantage of the pupils themselves. What we must discuss is what type of exams we should have, whether the present form of exams meets the goal of school and if not, what should change,» said Napoleon Mitsis, vice-president of the Teachers College and vice-rector of the University of Thessaly. «I agree. The role of exams during or at the end of the school year is to determine whether the school’s goals have been achieved. But is that what happens with the current system?» asked Haralambos Constantinou, professor of pedagogy at the University of Ioannina. Constantinou noted that the role of exams «is to find out the weaknesses and gaps students have, and through that process teachers can see where their own work is lacking and improve it. But in Greece, exams have taken on the role of grading students in a hierarchy of excellent, good and mediocre. So they have a controlling role which they should not have. Everyone, especially pupils and parents, forget what the exams are about as soon as they see the grade on the piece of paper.» «The purpose of exams is not to inconvenience pupils. That shouldn’t be their aim,» said Mitsis. «But abolishing them is not the right move. I think the correct thing to do is to change the philosophy and the attitude of everyone who is involved in them. Pupils shouldn’t be anxious about them, but they shouldn’t be indifferent either. They should understand that exams are not held so that teachers can punish their pupils, but are for their benefit. On the other hand, the system must stop being as exam-centered as it is today. Every year the spotlight is on the pupils who are taking university entrance exams.»

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