Cancel high school examinations



High school exam results have been published. Some families are happy because their children will gain admission in their chosen fields in college while others are unhappy because their children have not achieved the required grades.

The system of college admission in the Kingdom is unfair. Students are judged according to how well they perform in exams. We do not know how students achieve their scores and we do not know whether they were fairly assessed. A third grade student sits many exams in the final year and works hard to achieve a high score. There is no way we can assess his intellectual abilities according to how well he writes an exam paper.

There is a famous Arabic saying: “Upon taking an exam, one is either honored or disgraced.” This saying is inculcated in the minds of the Arab people from a young age. I, however, do not agree with it for the simple reason that it assumes that one will be honored or disgraced based on one’s performance in an exam. I have also never heard sociology and psychology experts criticize this saying or urge the public not to pay attention to it.

It is time to think about canceling final high school examinations. Why have our education systems not succeeded in finding other ways to assess students before college? There must be other options.

Many advanced countries have phased out exams because they view their results as unhelpful. We should follow in their footsteps. Our education system relies on exams; if you want a high school or college education, you have to sit an exam. Exams control our lives and the scores decide which direction a person takes.

Strangely, when the Ministry of Education replaced elementary exams with other types of assessments, the results were terrible and the performance of students dropped to the extent that many experts called on the ministry to restore the old system. I am not against exams. On the contrary, I believe exams can help us assess an individual’s performance.

However, I am against using exams as the only criteria for judging students’ performance. It is unfair to use one exam to judge the efforts a student has exerted throughout the year.

Furthermore, the structure of exams, the short time allocated for questions and the fear of exams influence students in how well they perform. I hope the ministry will cancel exams one day and adopt a system that encourages future generation to think and innovate.