Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

In the modern world there is a movement away from written exams to more practical assessment. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this trend.

The methods of assessing students have changed in recent years. Exams have traditionally been used to determine whether a student has mastered a subject well enough or not. Exams are required to gain entrance into a university or college or to graduate from any type of institution.  Similarly, many government posts require candidates to take written exams.  Practical assessment is becoming more popular especially in the arts and sciences where theory is not so important.

Written exams allow many students to be examined and at the same time they can cover a large amount of material.  It is also easy for examiners to correct written exams. Despite these advantages, this assessment method is not a true indication of a person’s ability. Many students study the previous night and when the exam ends, they forget what they have memorized. There is a lot of stress and pressure associated with exams and students do not often perform well under such conditions.

On the other hand, practical assessment gives students time to do coursework and projects at their own pace. This type of assessment is more indicative of a person’s academic abilities and is currently used for subjects that require creativity or are of a practical nature like music or chemistry where a laboratory is needed. Practical assessment however is time-consuming for students and it requires more time for an examiner to assess. Students also need individual attention from teachers and lecturers on progress, feedback etc. Although practical assessment might be desirable its shortcomings should not be ignored.

Question taken from Ready for IELTS course book p. 99

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