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Keeping Exams in Perspective


You are probably aware that I see the value of exams and the skills learnt through the process of revision. There’s no doubt that exams are an important measure of a student’s academic ability (primarily for university entrance). However, they are just one measure of a child’s academic performance on a particular hour and day, under quite stressful and time pressured conditions. Many other skills and tasks go together to give an assessment of a child’s performance.

Progress is every bit as important as performance.

When we look at it, our measure of success is far broader than an academic ranking. We are convinced that character, perseverance, a love of learning, social, physical, emotional, cultural, and spiritual development are every bit as crucial in the holistic Christian education of our students.

An exam score doesn’t reflect your potential – look at the many people who weren’t always a success at school, but found their niche later on. The exam pathway is not the only pathway in any case. As we often say, one size doesn’t fit all!

Among our students sitting exams are artists, whose score in Maths may not be that high. There are entrepreneurs, who may not be interested in Science. There are musicians, whose marks in Humanities may not be a priority for them. There may be an athlete, whose physical fitness is probably more important than top marks. There may be a computer programmer, who might struggle in writing essays.

In fact, when we talk about the 21st Century learning skills of creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, very few of these things are measured in exam performance. Let’s keep things in perspective.

If your child gets top marks, that’s great. But if they don’t, it’s okay, and it’s just an exam. They are fearfully and wonderfully made, and destined for much bigger things in life. God has made each of us uniquely, with different talents and gifting. Don’t fall into the trap of measuring one student against another. No matter what each student scores… you love them and will not judge them. One exam or low mark will not take away their talent nor their dreams. It is a trap to assume that doctors, lawyers and engineers are the only successful people in the world. In fact, if you come up with a list of heroes that you can think of, I doubt many doctors, lawyers and engineers would make the list.

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