Movement away from written exams to more practical assessment


You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Present a written argument or case to an educated reader with no specialist knowledge.

Write about the following topic:

In the modern world, there is a movement away from written exams to more practical assessment. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this trend.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Sample Answer:

In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift in the way students are assessed, with a move away from traditional written exams towards more practical forms of assessment. This trend has both advantages and disadvantages, which I will discuss in this essay.

One of the main advantages of practical assessment is that it provides a more accurate reflection of a student’s abilities and skills. Written exams often only test a student’s ability to memorize and regurgitate information, whereas practical assessment allows students to demonstrate their practical skills and real-world application of knowledge. For example, in subjects such as science or engineering, practical assessments can involve conducting experiments or solving real-world problems, which gives a much better indication of a student’s understanding and abilities.

Furthermore, practical assessment can also help to better prepare students for the demands of the modern workplace. In many professions, practical skills and hands-on experience are highly valued, and by assessing students in a practical manner, educational institutions can better prepare their students for the realities of the working world. This can also help to bridge the gap between education and employment, as students are better equipped with the skills and experience that employers are looking for.

However, there are also some disadvantages to this trend. Practical assessments can be more time-consuming and resource-intensive to administer, as they often require specialized equipment and facilities. This can make it more difficult for educational institutions to implement practical assessments on a large scale, especially in subjects that require expensive or complex equipment.

Additionally, practical assessments can be more subjective in nature, as they often rely on the judgment of assessors. This can lead to inconsistencies in grading and assessment, as different assessors may have different interpretations of a student’s performance. In contrast, written exams are often more objective, as they are graded based on predetermined criteria.

In conclusion, while there are clear advantages to moving away from written exams towards more practical forms of assessment, there are also some drawbacks to consider. It is important for educational institutions to strike a balance between the two, in order to provide a comprehensive and fair assessment of their students’ abilities and skills.

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