How important are academic exams for children?

@AlisaTR (1101)
Hollywood, Florida
May 3, 2018 6:23am CST
In just a couple of hours, today, in Trinidad and Tobago, 11 and 12 year old children will be brought together to sit an academic exam which will determine the next stage of their lives. This exam, called the Secondary Entrance Assessment, measures and ranks children according to their academic prowess and this determines the high schools that they will be allowed to move on to. Many children have been taking extra lessons for years in preparation for this day. And even so, it will be a tough and nerve-wracking day for many of them. See, some children are really brilliant but they don’t test well. And how they perform for this exam will determine where they are placed, the schools they will go to, the connections they will make. When I grew up in Trinidad, I sat for a similar exam. It was called the Common Entrance Exam then. I tested well and was one of three children, from a class of about 60, who was granted the right to move on to the school of my choice. I left many of my friends behind. Today, I am not sure about the value of testing and sifting and sorting children at this tender age. In fact, I quite admire the Finland model. Still, 19000 children in Trinidad and Tobago will be tested today... and so, I wish them well. What are your thoughts about academic exams like these for children? Do you think that they are important or even valuable? And if you were required to take exams when you were younger, how well did you test?
ALL is set for over 19,000 primary school students to sit the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam today. Head of the TT Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) Lynsley Doodhai told Newsday he received no complaints about schools not being ready for the
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12 responses
@dodoazo (17329)
• Philippines
3 May
In our country we call it NCAE for National Career Assessment Examination. It determines if the students are ready to pursue their college studies according to their career as determined by the results of the said exams.
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@AlisaTR (1101)
• Hollywood, Florida
3 May
@dodoazo thanks Did you have to take that exam as well? What was it like for you?
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@dodoazo (17329)
• Philippines
3 May
@AlisaTR during our time there was no career exams. So I wasn't able to take it.
3 people like this
3 May
that kind of testing should not be going on in our schools they should just go buy the grade point average they are making in school.
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@JudyEv (118879)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 May
This is a hard question to answer. It is a shame that the marks restrict the children to certain schools. As you say, some don't cope with exam situations very well. And some that never do well at school find their niche later in life and become very successful.
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@AlisaTR (1101)
• Hollywood, Florida
3 May
@JudyEv yes! In fact, sometimes they are far more successful than their peers who tested well.
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@AKRao24 (13316)
• India
3 May
So true! you can refer my response supporting your views @JudyEv ! Thanks!
1 person likes this
3 May
@AlisaTR those kind of test are very inaccurate and I do not agree with them at all they just need to go by grade point average.
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@Jeffopez (206)
3 May
This is ensure that a child is ready for the next level of academic competence.
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@AlisaTR (1101)
• Hollywood, Florida
3 May
@Jeffopez I just wish there were some middle ground is all... I know I was extremely excited with my results when I took the exam years ago. I was bouncing off the chair and screaming. I was so full with excitement. But then I looked down at my best friend and she was in tears, uncontrollable tears. She was not selected for the school of her choice. And the parents were outside the classroom standing in the hall... and her mother was there and she was crying too. It was so bittersweet.
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@Jeffopez (206)
3 May
@AlisaTR I know the feeling of failing because I experienced it during a college intrance exam, so heartbreaking knowing that your friends pass and I failed, but it has to be done in accordance with their standards, so what i did i just enroled to a lower course until im illegible to take a 4 years course test to enrol, luckily I passed..
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@AlisaTR (1101)
• Hollywood, Florida
3 May
So are you saying that another system, say like Finland's, might not have benefited you more?
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@Icydoll (13160)
• India
3 May
It's good for a student to take tests.So that they can improve lot by developing skills knowing there plus and minus . I were a student I like to take test.
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@AlisaTR (1101)
• Hollywood, Florida
3 May
But does it have to be... I don't know, grading is one thing. But this is more a case of children coming together to sit for an exam knowing at the end of the day some will be eliminated, some will be selected as the cream of the crop and so on... Have you ever read Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen?
1 person likes this
• Jacksonville, Florida
3 May
Personally, school has not changed in many, many years while everything else in the world has. I think that in itself is a problem. Schools are meant to create robots/factory workers-in my opinion of course. I don't think there is a reason for all of the testing and homework but again that is a personal opinion from someone who likes to think and live outside of the box. =)
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@AlisaTR (1101)
• Hollywood, Florida
3 May
@LovingMyBabies I do think that there is a reason for the tests and the homework, I just don't know that they are applicable or... I might be saying it the wrong way... I don't know that the benefits outweigh the costs the way it is applied today. I have seen too many heartbroken children
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@AKRao24 (13316)
• India
3 May
So true and I appreciate your views @LovingMyBabies!
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@id_peace (4639)
• Singapore
3 May
Jack Ma once said that he don't need his kids to be top in class. He just need the kids to be average to experience life. I almost agreed with him. I want my kids not to compete with anyone but themselves. I want them to be competitive in trying to make a single improvement a day so that by 365 days so that they can be a better person compare to a year ago.
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@AlisaTR (1101)
• Hollywood, Florida
3 May
I agree with you wholeheartedly @id_peace though @LoriAMoore makes a very good point about the importance of testing. And while we may not want our children to be pressured by competition, it will present itself in some way at some point. In the context of academia though, I am concerned that children at a very young age are pressured so much to make it. Feels a little Hunger Games come to think of it.
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@AKRao24 (13316)
• India
3 May
Wow! I sincerely appreciate thay view of yours @id_peace! Thanks!
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@AKRao24 (13316)
• India
3 May
for me these exams and the schools they don't carry any meaning! One of my best friends who hardly could afford to buy study materials studies in all so called below average schools in India and today he is one of the top person in Coca Cola (USA0 looking after the business....everything depends on an Individual talent and skills! Thanks @AlisaTR !
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@AlisaTR (1101)
• Hollywood, Florida
3 May
@AKRao24 Thanks
1 person likes this
3 May
It is important to take academic exams sincerely. Wish them all good luck
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@AlisaTR (1101)
• Hollywood, Florida
3 May
@anamika161088 I surely do
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@lnillerman (2150)
3 May
I do not agree with that kind of testing I thin k they should just simply go by the grade point average they are mamking and let all kids be in the same school together.
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@AlisaTR (1101)
• Hollywood, Florida
3 May
This, I think, might be a better way to handle it I think @lnillerman. Thanks
• India
3 May
I think they are very important but we should never be never pressurize kids much for that
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@AlisaTR (1101)
• Hollywood, Florida
3 May
hey thanks
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@Shavkat (56786)
• Philippines
3 May
I think it is essential for them. The basic foundation for them to be successful.
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@AlisaTR (1101)
• Hollywood, Florida
3 May
@Shavkat Is it though? A test?
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@maximax8 (27344)
• United Kingdom
11 May
I live in the United Kingdom. I used to live in Kent where 10 and 11 year old took the 11 plus exam. They would go to a grammar school only if they got a high grade in it. I lived in a village called Bridge. On my way into Canterbury, my nearest city, I went past the girls grammar school and the catholic school. The boys grammar school was on the other side of the city. I moved from that area in 2005 so luckily my children don't have to face that. My son will become 11 in 8 more days. He has exams during the week starting 14th May. He is in Year 6 and he had similar exams in Year 2 at 7 years old. I prefer coursework than exams. In my student days I did well in subjects which I enjoyed like English, History and Religious Education. I didn't do well in Maths and had try it again when older.