Essay on Examinations – Meaning and Role


Good examination systems provide a balanced and fair evaluation of every student. They manage to achieve in several ways like using different tasks and strategies that give each student several opportunities in various contexts. The students, therefore, are able to demonstrate their level of preparedness and what they are able to execute. Such programs give teachers a level of accuracy in their judgment of each student. The tasks in exams should also be fit for purpose. So, a test with several goals (basic knowledge and skills) should contain tasks appropriate to goals being assessed.


Examination refers to formal tests taken to ascertain knowledge or ability in a specific subject or to get a qualification. It is considered one of the most effective means of assessing the capabilities of students in various academic institutions. While its critics base their arguments on what they call unnecessary stress it puts on students, there is no denying that it provides positive feedback to students. The feedback, in turn, help pupils acknowledge their shortcomings and put in place measures to improve on the same.

Assessment Formats

Various forms of assessment exist including selected-response tests, essays, and structured responses. Of all these modes, essays provide the best opportunity to incorporate broom’s taxonomy skills. It enables students to synthesize and summarize a topic as they develop thinking (also called intellectual) skills. Structure responses tests indicate how well students can recall, recognize, organize and communicate clearly previously learned concepts. Structured responses provoke students to employ higher-order intellectual skills like analysis, evaluation, and synthesis. Selected responses, on the contrary, provide multiple choice questions hence showing if a student has age-related cognitive skills and the primary factual information.

Role of examinations

Promotes Positive Competition

Exams encourage constructive competition among students thus helping them continually improve by studying widely and revising thoroughly. It also helps teachers establish the effectiveness of their teaching methodologies. A teacher monitors and evaluates his or her teaching strategies through tests; if students perform poorly in continuous examinations they change their teaching strategies. Exams reflect student understands and knowledge or subject taught.

Provide a basis for accountability

Formal assessments are tools that can be used to establish if schools uphold accountability to the various stakeholders. They tell the parent and education officials how a student is progressing and the effectiveness of a teacher in imparting knowledge on students. Win situations where the majority of students perform poorly in a particular subject handles by a specific teacher, authorities take institute appropriate measures to help both the teacher and the students.

Enhance learning

Studying for and finally sitting for an exam has been found to improve and deepen learning a great deal. It is akin to exercising; when you exercise the muscle you use to grow stronger. Similarly searching through your memory and successfully retrieving relevant information fortifies your memory pathways for future use. Consequently, when later on in the field you try retrieving any information you need, it is a lot easier after previously practicing doing so during examinations.


Formal examination helps students and teachers in very many ways including to evaluate themselves and their teaching/studying strategies. To overcome the few shortcomings used by its opponents some improvements should be put in place thus making them more amusing as opposed to stressful activity. That way tests will best provide targeted fit-for-purpose opportunity enabling students to demonstrate their level of understanding and mastery of skills. Exams are capable of enhancing learning thereby ensuring the goals of education
are achieved.

By: Joni Kim