Although it was a very long time ago I can still remember the various means employed by my fellow students to cheat in their examinations. These all seem rather primitive now. Writing things on your hands and wrists, recording notes inside your pencil case and peering over the shoulder of another student were pretty much all you had at your disposal. The modern education system has thrown up more ways to circumvent the system and this is one of many reasons why I think the old way was best.

I have never been a fan of coursework of any kind counting towards your final results. Coursework is far too open to abuse as there is no way of verifying who actually contributed to it. Students with informed or helpful parents are at a distinct advantage as they can ask for assistance and this situation must only serve to enhance the gap between the privileged and those who are not so fortunate.
Remote Examinations
A good friend of my is currently at university and a significant proportion of the work which will count towards his final grade is in the form of online tests and coursework which are equally open to abuse. Indeed it was I who helped him complete a recent submission when he struggled on a couple of points.
Level Playing Field
I really don’t understand what was wrong with the old system of studying throughout the year and then sitting examinations to achieve your grades. Recent proposals for the education system indicate that we may be returning to such a system in schools. There are far less opportunities to cheat and the playing field will be a level one for all.
Real Life
I know that some people argue that this way of doing things disadvantages those who struggle with examinations but I am not buying that one. Examinations mimic real life. You learn a subject and then you repeat and explain what you have learnt. This is no different to making your way in the workplace where you must acquire skills and knowledge and then put them to practical use and must perform to an acceptable level.
In a properly invigilated exam it is very difficult to cheat effectively even if you have seen the questions in advance. You still have to remember the answers or construct a reasoned argument although this week one college in Belgium has recognised a potential issue. Art Evelde College in Ghent has banned all watches from exam rooms so they don’t have to check if a student has a smartwatch. As wearable technology marches on it will inevitably throw up more means to cheat but in the case of smartwatches I don’t think examiners have much to worry about in the short term. The evidence seems to be that their take up has been rather slow whilst the demand for traditional quality watches remains high.
Lessons from the Past
Sometimes the old way of doing things proves to be the best way. Cramming for exams may be stressful and a less comfortable experience all round than submitting course work but life after education is tough. Education should prepare students for the real world where they will experience pressure and will constantly be under scrutiny. Examinations may well play a valuable role in preparation for life after school and university and at least they are fair to all.
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