Quiz competence

May 20, 2005

I read Alison Wolf's comments on exams and the audit culture with interest (Opinion, May 13). I have often wondered why we persist in having a system that discourages deep learning in favour of superficial techniques.

Also, no matter how often we impress on students the need to answer the question, something seems to happen to their brains in an exam situation.

Why don't we develop the National Vocational Qualification approach and assess students as competent or not yet competent, on the basis of a portfolio of submitted evidence? There could be a category of "more than competent" equivalent to a first.

The time saved on marking exam papers and reports could be spent on supporting the "not yet competent", who would have to pay to be reassessed - so everyone wins.

Mary Brown
Robert Gordon University

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