Monday, January 19, 2009
Odd One Out
There seems to be a move to change to a multiple choice type exam system. This seems a backward step to me. Interviewed on the radio this morning a supporter of this idea said that multiple choice has come a long way and can now seriously test knowledge. OK, while remaining slightly sceptical, I won't outright argue with that. But then his main reason was that essays are excruciatingly written, that they are often gibberish. THIS IS NOT A REASON TO CHANGE. This is a reason to address the school system (I nearly said teaching, but it isn't the teachers at fault). It is a false argument to say that because someone can't do something then they shouldn't have to. Language is important. Computers do multiple chioce. Humans do eloquence, we formulate arguments, we discuss. My job requires me to be able to put pen to paper and explain things to people. I need to be able to answer complaints in a way people can understand. I need to put forward complex science to those who never studied it. I need to be able to adjust and temper my words to suit the level of the audience. I need to craft my thoughts and expression in a way that appeals to people, that helps them capture my passion. If we simply turn out children who know facts but can't utilise the information then we are doing them a disservice, and we are crippling our future workforce. The answer is not always B.