Published by alvinauh on

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I got back my daughter’s report card today. As I stared at the report card, my mind started coming up with solutions and ways to help her improve. As I was doing that, it dawned on me the most important thing when it comes to exams.

Results Can Be Unreliable

In most exams, the results are focused on the curriculum that it is based on. As such, there may be many aspects of the child that may not be evaluated. This includes the extent of how much the child has tried or how the child may fare in other non-academic activities.

In addition, the evaluator or the teacher may not be a good point of reference for how well the child is developing. I do have to add that the results are likely indicator of how well the child is doing, academically. However, that may not be the case in terms of overall development.

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At times parents might even assess a child more reliably as compared to teachers. This is because some parents spend more time with their children as compared to teachers. In addition, some teachers are overworked with large classroom sizes. It can be easy for the teacher to miss something and thereby assess a child unreliably.

Furthermore, there are other factors that may contribute to a child not doing well. This includes exam anxiety and the halo effect. Exam anxiety comes in many forms, be it the fear of not doing well or the physical environment of the exam. All this contributes to poor exam results. The halo effect on the other hand is associated with how a teacher may start favoring some children over others. Thus, reliability can be a hard thing to achieve overall.

As such…

With that many possibilities of exam results being unreliable, perhaps we should look at exams differently. Instead of putting a large emphasis on exams, perhaps exams results should be seen as part of a large puzzle. A puzzle that resembles the child’s overall development.

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This puzzle comprises of elements from the child inside the classroom and outside of the classroom. This should take into account the ability a child is able to perform academically, in sports, in leadership roles and in relationships. The best way to achieve this is through partnerships between the teacher and parents, working together to ensure that the weaknesses of the child is addressed. Furthermore, the child should be made known of their own strengths. This is to help them pursue interests that best suit their strengths.


I write this as a reminder to myself. The competitive and problem solving parts of me are quick to rear its ugly head at times. As such, I remind myself that results may matter, but not as much as her desire to learn and her overall development. At times, the rate of learning may not be to my liking but learning takes time.

In addition, it is my hope is that if you are a parent and you have a child who has not been doing well in exams, know that everyone learns at their own pace and everyone is gifted in their very own way.