Current exam style not effective for students

Columnist and Columnist

It’s that time of year again.

The time where students flock to convenience stores to stock up on Red Bull and Cheetos only to isolate themselves on the eighth floor of the library to cram for finals.

At this point most students start to question the objective and purpose behind composing a final exam that consists of all the material they’ve learned throughout the semester.

The more important question students should ask however, is whether written exams are an effective instrument for creating success after graduation.

One of the significant courses I took this year was Finance 3000.

Instead of dissecting into the time value of money on the first day, the class discussed Blooms Taxonomy chart, which sets a hierarchy of learning methods in regards to the value they add.

On the bottom of Blooms Taxonomy scale, and also the least valuable to the knowledge process, is regurgitation.

The simple process of remembering solutions adds little value in the process of learning.

The reality is that most of us can probably attest to forgetting some courses that strictly relied on memorization alone.

On the contrary, the chart puts the highest value on creating and analyzing content.

According to Blooms Taxonomy, the mere practice of memorizing formulas, solutions or ideas isn’t of high value to society.

The same thoughts come to mind when you’re forced to memorize topics for an exam.

The real value is added when courses allow students to apply their knowledge to outside assignments.

Class presentations and projects still continue to be an effective way for students to convey their knowledge of material.

The simple task of memorizing a topic is over-glorified in our society.

It’s true that several professions and areas of life require regurgitation for success.

After all, you wouldn’t want your surgeon to perform open heart surgery on you with his med school books on the table.

At the same time you can’t expect your lawyer to know all the technicalities of the law on any given day.

Demanding that all areas of life should have the same amount of scrutiny is unnecessary, especially when performance is measured by application.

This is why the simple memorize and regurgitate exam format of learning is a fading method for successful value-added learning.

Until students have more courses that emphasize application and analysis, they will be doomed to live off Red Bull and Cheetos for the remainder of their college careers.

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