The introduction of objective type questions in exams tests students’ chapter analysis and understanding. In contrast, the inclusion of higher-order thinking skill questions in exams with mandatory practical assessments in all subjects plays an essential role in 20-30 marks for creative and opinion-based answers to questions. Exams integrate all essential parts of learning, and it is wrong to claim that exams only measure the memory of the students and not their learnings.
Exams consist of 5 facets – Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, and Evaluating. While exhibiting memory of previously learned material by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts, and answers comprise 30% of our exam. The rest 70% demands us to solve problems by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules differently. Can one score 95+ in English or any third language exam by cramming the textbook?
Can one solve trigonometry or any other mathematical equation by cramming formulas? Can one write the output for a C++ or a JAVA program without understanding the application given to them? Exams are a reflection of the practice we have done in a year. This reflection is not just based on memory but depends on how we present our answers, our approach, and our skills. While we can memorize the format of writing skill, the content and expression is something which comes from practice and is tested through exams.
From solving case studies in Business Studies, picture-based questions in political science, source-based questions, comprehensions in tests, balance sheet in Accountancy, assertion/reason questions in 10th syllabus to diagrammatic analysis in economics and concepts like national income and determination of income and employment, it is way too far fetched to base exams on memory.
While we tend to memorize theoretical subjects, we forget that subjects like Psychology, Legal Studies, and Geography cannot be perfected in exams without understanding their features. Yes, exams measure memory, but they also measure a student’s thinking capacity. The fact that students feel helpless if the question is twisted or requires enough understanding to prove that exams measure learning. A preschool or primary student can complete his exam only if they understand the subjects taught in the school.
Their answers about the environment or adding two numbers comes from the teaching they received in school. Skill Education and exams of subjects like Banking, Agriculture, Web Applications, Artificial Intelligence, Media and Design help a student in his life ahead.
Not all five fingers are the same; that is why it is necessary to keep a certain percentage of exams based on memory so that students can at least move forward in their life. Not everyone has the same thinking and analytical ability. But making claims that exams only test one’s memory is fragile.