Coursework and Exams – Is homework enough to assess students?
For decades, examinations and tests have been termed as the necessary evil. But with us existing in the 21st century, the question that looms large is: Are exams indispensable?
Several schools worldwide have changed the face of education and chucked the academic norms by eliminating exams. Exams have often led to anxiety, as well as grades have paved the way for social division within a class. While educators and parents may shout out in unison against eliminating exams, there is a healthy alternative to help students learn. The solution here is coursework and homework. Regular coursework help students retain what they are taught better than memorizing stuff and puking it out when taking a test.
Still sceptical about the efficacy of coursework over exams and tests? Read on to learn more about the importance and relevance of coursework in the world of academia. Here is how planning and programming to help students learn better than taking tests.
- Students learn to manage time without panicking
Exams put students under a lot of pressure to organize their thoughts and put everything to paper while working against the clock. While some may debate that taking tests trains students to manage time better, often the stress gets the better of them.
However, homework extends beyond the classroom and into the home to teach students about managing time effectively. A student learns how to divide and conquer minus panic. The habit of completing regular coursework also instils a sense of responsibility and prioritization in young minds.
- Teachers get to measure a students’ true potential
If you think that only exams can assess a student’s true potential, you are highly mistaken. Often, students memorize lessons and throw up whatever they have managed to learn hurriedly on paper. This way, the student does not remember what is taught yet scores well. Now, as an educator, you certainly would not want your students to be half baked.
On the contrary, when you give your students homework, they have no option but to read and reread what has been taught to solve the assignments. Based on how a student answers an assignment, teachers can tell how well the young one has understood the content. Therefore, homework is a lot more flexible than exams, giving students another chance to revisit a chapter and break and learn it again.
- Trains students to solve problems
In an exam, students often become nervous due to the exam hall’s vigilant ambience and the scarcity of time. This is why many students fail to solve problems even when they know the basics. As an educator, one must know how to prioritize. Do you want your students to solve problems better, or do you want to force draconian rules on them?
When it comes to solving coursework, students have the prerogative to solve problems at their own pace. When in a classroom, students get the unique advantage of solving problems with the teacher’s assistance. When at home, they can revise the lessons they have learnt to implement the right strategy.
- Allows students to review lessons
As opposed to exams where students choose to mug up lessons overnight, coursework gives them the chance to toss and turn in the chapters they have learnt in class. This way, the process of learning does not end in school.
When a student continues to learn in the home environment, they get to review what has been taught in class. This constant revision builds on their knowledge and expounds on identifying alternative solutions and recall information. Students tend to forget what they have written in a test, whereas solving homework ingrains information in their minds due to multiple revisions.
- Students learn to be responsible
Teachers and educators may debate that exams teach students to be more responsible. However, the sense of responsibility lasts for a week until the exams end and students are back to square one. However, when students have to solve multiple homework papers every day, being responsible about their tasks and taking their education seriously become a subconscious habit.
While exams serve the same purpose to an extent, the building tension can spell doom on a student’s mental well-being. With coursework writing, students learn to achieve educational goals without it being a herculean burden.
- Students don’t have to take the wrong path
Learning the entire syllabus of a semester within a week is next to impossible. As a result, several students take to a dishonest path and resort to cheating in exams. It isn’t rare among peers to join hands and pull off a cheating marathon, where everyone helps the other to answer questions. This way, neither learns the lessons well.
However, such isn’t the case when solving coursework papers. Students get enough time to solve their assignments. They can go over the lessons as many times as they want to solve the homework papers. Again, they can seek help from a friend or a senior to solve the paper and still learn something at the end of the day.
- Students learn to organize, plan and then act
Often, while racing against the ticking clock, students end up cramming in the examination answer sheets without paying much heed to the organization. Solving homework correctly is a systematic process. A student has to follow the assignment’s instructions, research, and take notes from various sources to write an informative paper.
The detailed guidelines compel students to organize data and put them on paper in the correct order. Moreover, working on a coursework paper without a plan can put the assignment’s quality at risk. As a result, students have no other way but take time to organize and research extensively to provide relevant information in an assignment. They also learn to complete a task within the set time.
- Deepens students’ understanding of a subject matter
As I have mentioned earlier, studying for the exams is different from digging deep to gather facts for a homework paper. Exams are more about revising what has been taught in class throughout an academic semester.
However, when students have to solve coursework papers, they have to understand concepts and go the extra mile to deepen their understanding of the subject matter. In that sense, homework makes the learning process more effective. As proven by a survey, students who solved their homework diligently have an advanced understanding of various topics.
While exams once in a while can keep students in check, too many recurring tests can backfire. Too many exams can either bore down students and make them nonchalant or weather them down with unnecessary pressure. That said, the same principle works for homework. Too much of it can backfire. Therefore, the ideal combination should be a blend of exams and homework to help in the all-around development of a student.
Bottom line: Educators must use homework to transform and simplify the learning process and improve students’ problem-solving skills.