Are final examinations on the way out at Harvard? | Harvard Magazine Jul-Aug 2010

Excellent. One down, a few million to go, it’s time to end this barbaric, anti-learner practice. I exaggerate. Exams per se are not wrong and in some cases may be a very sensible way to accredit people – driving tests, for instance. I can even imagine ways that they might be constructively aligned with the learning intentions (sporting contests, for instance), though very rarely in an academic setting. But, like the lecture, it’s an idea of very limited applicability that has become a plague in our systems and it is high time that we had to provide a real, strong, learner focused justification for using them. And no, not the dumb old argument about knowing it is all their own work (palpable nonsense in most settings in higher education). And not the one about efficiency (whose?).

Address of the bookmark:

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor and Associate Dean, Learning & Assessment, at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology, and I teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems. I am a proud Canadian, though I was born in the UK. I am married, with two grown-up children, and three growing-up grandchildren. We all live in beautiful Vancouver.

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