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Continuous Assessment

Hi my name is Michael McMahon.

I think continuous assessment might work better than the final exam system.

There are many advantages such as less stress and pressure for the final exams and more chance to test for creativity.

But I think a significant advantage is its effect on class structure and progression through the syllabus. It would help teachers and students to keep to a balanced and consistent timetable during the year. As the tests count towards the final exam it would motivate them to maintain good work ethic and productivity. Problems may arise when the class progresses too slowly at the beginning of the course and then cram towards the end or leave insufficient time for revision. Simply by including end of year exams into the final grade for the syllabus may help students to progress at a more structured rate through the course.
 

hollandia

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Hi my name is Michael McMahon.

I think continuous assessment might work better than the final exam system.

There are many advantages such as less stress and pressure for the final exams and more chance to test for creativity.

But I think a significant advantage is its effect on class structure and progression through the syllabus. It would help teachers and students to keep to a balanced and consistent timetable during the year. As the tests count towards the final exam it would motivate them to maintain good work ethic and productivity. Problems may arise when the class progresses too slowly at the beginning of the course and then cram towards the end or leave insufficient time for revision. Simply by including end of year exams into the final grade for the syllabus may help students to progress at a more structured rate through the course.
Michael, thanks for the OP. It's clear that you've put some thought into it, however, I'd be grateful if you could take the time to review our requirements for Opening Posts, here, and in particular the following:

Opening Posts (OPs)
The title should be related to the subject matter at hand, and not be deliberately inflammatory, nor should the title contain a hyperlink.
The main body should contain a link (at a bare minimum), a quotation or quotations of the salient points from the linked article(s), but not reproduce the article(s) in their entirety.

If a video forms part of an OP (or ordinary post), the OP (or post) shall clearly set out the content which is relevant to the thread, and shall provide times of the relevant section of the video.

For example:
  1. In this video [insert host name here] and [guest(s)] discuss the events surrounding [insert topics here]
  2. Host is [insert name, short bio etc] and guest(is) is/are [insert description of guests]
  3. Discussion around [insert topic here] takes place in the video at 23:45 to 32:15.
  4. Point at which [insert second topic here] is discussed is 42:00 to 47:00.
Any video posted without comment/insufficient comment will be unapproved or sent to the zoo.

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The OP author may, at the discretion of the forum staff, be offered the option to bring an OP up to standard prior to its removal or sent to the Zoo should it fail to meet quality criteria.
In light of this, would you mind inserting a link to an article or somesuch which supports your argument?
 
Hi. Yes that's fine. Here is one:

When I said it's less pressure I mean that the tests are more spread out and so less intense overall.

In terms of creativity it's that the tests can be more exhaustive so you've a greater chance to express your understanding and knowledge of the subject. For instance in English you could write on many poets over several exams instead of just one or two in the final exam.

By class structure I mean that by virtue of the fact there's a standardised test on a section of the syllabus after a certain amount of time the class will have to have that content covered. This might encourage a smooth progression of the syllabus instead of waiting 3 or 2 years to see if all the syllabus has been covered.

A concern expressed in the article is of teachers examing their own students. However the exams don't have to be so frequent that they cannot be externally assessed. Even splitting a three year syllabus such as the junior cert into three different exam periods at the end of each year such that each exam counts towards the final mark. I don't think this would overwhelm the examiners and it wouldn't have to be marked by their own teachers.
 

hollandia

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Hi. Yes that's fine. Here is one:

When I said it's less pressure I mean that the tests are more spread out and so less intense overall.

In terms of creativity it's that the tests can be more exhaustive so you've a greater chance to express your understanding and knowledge of the subject. For instance in English you could write on many poets over several exams instead of just one or two in the final exam.

By class structure I mean that by virtue of the fact there's a standardised test on a section of the syllabus after a certain amount of time the class will have to have that content covered. This might encourage a smooth progression of the syllabus instead of waiting 3 or 2 years to see if all the syllabus has been covered.

A concern expressed in the article is of teachers examing their own students. However the exams don't have to be so frequent that they cannot be externally assessed. Even splitting a three year syllabus such as the junior cert into three different exam periods at the end of each year such that each exam counts towards the final mark. I don't think this would overwhelm the examiners and it wouldn't have to be marked by their own teachers.
Much obliged. FWIW, I'm currently studying for a post-grad, and it's 60-40 weighted in favour of the exam. IMO, the exam is a useful exercise in certain subjects - particularly in technical subjects, where being able to link concepts together in the field real life is becoming a lost skill.
 

Kongming

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Mar 13, 2019
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Much obliged. FWIW, I'm currently studying for a post-grad, and it's 60-40 weighted in favour of the exam. IMO, the exam is a useful exercise in certain subjects - particularly in technical subjects, where being able to link concepts together in the field real life is becoming a lost skill.
Can you provide a link to support that?

If we are gonna be picking the knits.....
 

Kongming

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Mar 13, 2019
3,799
2,392
Hi my name is Michael McMahon.

I think continuous assessment might work better than the final exam system.

There are many advantages such as less stress and pressure for the final exams and more chance to test for creativity.

But I think a significant advantage is its effect on class structure and progression through the syllabus. It would help teachers and students to keep to a balanced and consistent timetable during the year. As the tests count towards the final exam it would motivate them to maintain good work ethic and productivity. Problems may arise when the class progresses too slowly at the beginning of the course and then cram towards the end or leave insufficient time for revision. Simply by including end of year exams into the final grade for the syllabus may help students to progress at a more structured rate through the course.
Great OP, Michael.

I'd be much happier with a continuous assessment approach. There are some remarkably intelligent people who just aren't very good at sitting exams, specially when their entire curricular career hinges on that result.

That said, I do believe that their should be some sort of goal oriented/milestone events along the educational path. Regardless of what the student goes on to do in their working life, be it engineering or art or teaching or whatever, they will be required to actually produce for themselves or their employer.

Therefore, I'd like to see a typical school year broken down with a 20% Christmas exam, a 30% summer exam and the other 48% weighted on the continuing assessment.
 

Derryman

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Feb 17, 2019
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Derry
Great OP, Michael.

I'd be much happier with a continuous assessment approach. There are some remarkably intelligent people who just aren't very good at sitting exams, specially when their entire curricular career hinges on that result.

That said, I do believe that their should be some sort of goal oriented/milestone events along the educational path. Regardless of what the student goes on to do in their working life, be it engineering or art or teaching or whatever, they will be required to actually produce for themselves or their employer.

Therefore, I'd like to see a typical school year broken down with a 20% Christmas exam, a 30% summer exam and the other 48% weighted on the continuing assessment.
And the other 2%?
 

Cruimh

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I am old school. My degree the old timers on the staff said they admired students who did the bare minimum for the first couple of terms then worked their arses off in the last term for the exams. The argument was that exam stress disadvantaged some was countered by the response that we would be working under stress, and if we could handle the exam stress then we wouldn't cut the mustard in the field. But obviously that wouldn't necessarily apply to all subjects.
 

Franzoni

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I've seen people who were 'stressed out in the field'...... i've even visited a few in hospital on the flat of their back hooked up to all sorts of machines after collapsing in a heap and attended a fair few funerals in the last few years of people dead before their time because they thought it was the way it was done....

Sometimes the oldtimers are full of shit and best ignored....
 

Seosamh

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Nov 29, 2018
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I've seen people who were 'stressed out in the field'...... i've even visited a few in hospital on the flat of their back hooked up to all sorts of machines after collapsing in a heap and attended a fair few funerals in the last few years of people dead before their time because they thought it was the way it was done....

Sometimes the oldtimers are full of shit and best ignored....
Quite often people of all ages are full of shit....that's why I ignore most...unless... :)
 

Franzoni

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Nov 28, 2018
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Quite often people of all ages are full of shit....that's why I ignore most...unless... :)
The thread is about continuous assessment to give people not designed to the pressure of the final exam a fairer chance yet it is the gammon generations on both sides of the political divide who keep putting the barriers and trying to make sure the system stays as is afraid of change ....
 

Sidewinder

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Dec 1, 2018
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Hang on is the Leaving still 100% final exam?

My GCSEs and A-Levels had continuous assessment, my degree in UCD had continuous assessment. And they were all about 237 years ago!

Actually not really much of an exaggeration, my GCSEs were 30 years ago now :oops:
 

Kongming

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Mar 13, 2019
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I am old school. My degree the old timers on the staff said they admired students who did the bare minimum for the first couple of terms then worked their arses off in the last term for the exams. The argument was that exam stress disadvantaged some was countered by the response that we would be working under stress, and if we could handle the exam stress then we wouldn't cut the mustard in the field. But obviously that wouldn't necessarily apply to all subjects.
Which is a fair enough argument in a field where on the spot decisions would mean the difference between life and death of people/pets/livetstock etc.

However, in most professions, there will be a lot of planning and strategizing involved. That's why I'm on board the train that's weighted towards continuous assessment.
 
D

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Hi. Yes that's fine. Here is one:

When I said it's less pressure I mean that the tests are more spread out and so less intense overall.

In terms of creativity it's that the tests can be more exhaustive so you've a greater chance to express your understanding and knowledge of the subject. For instance in English you could write on many poets over several exams instead of just one or two in the final exam.

By class structure I mean that by virtue of the fact there's a standardised test on a section of the syllabus after a certain amount of time the class will have to have that content covered. This might encourage a smooth progression of the syllabus instead of waiting 3 or 2 years to see if all the syllabus has been covered.

A concern expressed in the article is of teachers examing their own students. However the exams don't have to be so frequent that they cannot be externally assessed. Even splitting a three year syllabus such as the junior cert into three different exam periods at the end of each year such that each exam counts towards the final mark. I don't think this would overwhelm the examiners and it wouldn't have to be marked by their own teachers.
I agree Michael. It's not just the pressure though as pressure can sometimes be a good thing, learning to think "on your feet", but just learning how to pass an exam is debilitating, as it doesn't teach students how to become responsible for their own learning, how important it is to read and understand assignment briefs and to meet deadlines for assignments.

Gearing two to three years of study towards two to three weeks of exams works for some, but if something happens to a student like an illness or a serious family tragedy (which happened in my case) then it was all for nothing really.

This has been discussed for decades and there is a bit more project work included, not enough I feel, we still have those very intense two to three week exams every June. I have taught FETAC courses which are mostly based on continuous assessment and it works well, but it means a lot more work for the teachers and it works best with much smaller classes where the teacher gets to know each individual student.
 

hollandia

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Cruimh

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However, in most professions, there will be a lot of planning and strategizing involved. That's why I'm on board the train that's weighted towards continuous assessment.
Yep - which is why I ended with But obviously that wouldn't necessarily apply to all subjects.

One size doesn't fit all, and to be honest, I found CA far more stressful through the feeling of always being judged than courses that were exam weighted.
 
D

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I am old school. My degree the old timers on the staff said they admired students who did the bare minimum for the first couple of terms then worked their arses off in the last term for the exams. The argument was that exam stress disadvantaged some was countered by the response that we would be working under stress, and if we could handle the exam stress then we wouldn't cut the mustard in the field. But obviously that wouldn't necessarily apply to all subjects.
But being a florist can't be that stressful, surely?
 
D

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I think a hybrid model make sense. Though my extensive (and often ill advise) education over the years I've experienced a variety of assessment types. I didn't like either exclusive continuous assessment or exclusive final exam assessment. Having some of the weight taken off throughout the term takes some of the pressure off for final exams, and that worked well for me.

Of course, in the end, I just bought my PhD off the internet so I needn't have worried, but you live and learn.
 
Feb 16, 2019
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Hi my name is Michael McMahon.

I think continuous assessment might work better than the final exam system.

There are many advantages such as less stress and pressure for the final exams and more chance to test for creativity.

But I think a significant advantage is its effect on class structure and progression through the syllabus. It would help teachers and students to keep to a balanced and consistent timetable during the year. As the tests count towards the final exam it would motivate them to maintain good work ethic and productivity. Problems may arise when the class progresses too slowly at the beginning of the course and then cram towards the end or leave insufficient time for revision. Simply by including end of year exams into the final grade for the syllabus may help students to progress at a more structured rate through the course.
With education standards now dropped so low that you can be functionally illiterate yet still get a degree the question is probably moot.
 

Cruimh

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Regarding functional illiteracy and degrees -should dyslexia preclude people from education? Obviously in some spheres it can cause major difficulties - Law and Medicine spring to mind, but in other areas literacy may not preclude the person from learning or being able to contribute.
 
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Missing commas I can deal with but if you start pointing to my superfluous and idiosyncratically sited apostrophe's it could trigger all sorts of post traumatic issues from my schooldays.
Thankfully the red pen only appears on one screen.
 

Seosamh

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Nov 29, 2018
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Missing commas I can deal with but if you start pointing to my superfluous and idiosyncratically sited apostrophe's it could trigger all sorts of post traumatic issues from my schooldays.
Ca'nt cite a sighting then...:censored:...:D
 
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