LETTER : Advantages of no exams

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The Independent Online
After 26 years' experience of North American higher education I am intrigued by the current English preoccupation with examination content, style, marking and administration (Letters, 25 August).

Is this not a case of the tail wagging the dog? From the viewpoint of further education, surely concern should be with evaluation of future potential rather than present knowledge.

In Canada, entry to higher education is based upon completion of high school and qualification in requisite subjects, determined by the intended field of study. The necessary assessments are made by the individual high school, based on continuous evaluation of coursework and project assignments. Formal examinations, external or internal, do not enter into the picture.

My own children, returning to this country for university, encountered their first formal exams at university and obtained good degrees. Clearly they did not suffer from an elementary, middle- and high-school education freed from the trauma of exam-centred programmes.

J V Thirgood

Rothbury, Northumberland

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