Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Test knowledge, Not penmanship

Today I had an exam, and like all other exams in UCD, and most colleges I have ever heard of, the exam was in a paper booklet.
Now I might be wrong about this but IS THERE ANY REASON why we should be writing these exams out when it would be much easier and efficient to do it by computer (especially seeing as you have to own one to do my business course)?

It serves no purpose to see if people can write 14 pages in 2 hours... like I did, because writing ability is not being tested, or at least should not be. It is the content of what is being written that counts, and as the system currently is, if you cant write fast... TOOOO BAD.

It would also make life considerably easier for those who have to mark the exam papers, I like most people have two writing modes, 1. Slow and legible, 2. Fast and total scrawl.

I think that most of the students I know can type a hell of a lot quicker than they can write, and that given the option they would most certainly choose to type out their answers as opposed to indulging in what is, to a large extent, a speed writing competition.


Macka said...

I get your point here Ed-head but I, as a purist loyal to the method of pen and paper do have my problems with the pooter option.

If the clicking and clacking of laptop keyboards could be isolated and contained in the one hall, then I'm all for it

If one could disable spell check, dictionary and thesauraus on the pooters, again all for it

In fact to dissuade any kind of cheating etc wouldn't all our pooters have to go through some kind of screening... or failing that wouldn't UCD have to supply us with special exam computers?

Granted my illegible scrawl may be hard to translate back into proper English but fuck it, those that are correcting the papers are paid to do so.

Finally even if they did manage to work it that you could use your pooter surely exams would then just devolve into speed-typing competitions and you're back to square one

I'd be more impressed if UCDD sorted out their retarded system of allocating exam halls. Arts student.. 4 exams this semester; 2 in the Smurfit BUSINESS school and 1 in the SCIENCE building. Sound.

Barra said...

im always scared that my writing is too scrappy, sometimes even I'm like: "what the fuck did i just write?!"
im afraid that examiners will hold it against me, if i had to spend twice as long correcting a paper just becoz it took so long to read id be pretty annoyed (especially if i was paid by the amount of papers that i corrected). Examiners are not a noble breed, they do it to get money, and the more they correct, the more money they can get.
Is my grade at the mercy of my crappy writing?
in my opinion, quite possibly yes.

Barra said...

of course i forgot to mention that i wish it had been drilled into my mind when i started writing to write legibly. then perhaps it wouldve stuck with me better than making my own scribbly style of writing that has stuck with me to this day.
im not going to send my kids to some fun summer camp, they are going to a writing intensive course. they may hate me at the time, but it will pay off in the long run. haha

ed said...

I personally love the curve in our writing standards, we start really really bad, then we get ok, then they teach us joint writing in school, we get good at that, then secondary school happens... then college finishes us off, back to 4 year old stuff.

yeboah21 said...

having exams on pooters is a terrible idea.

ed said...

Sweet contribution as always hugo, any reasons?

Luke the literate said...

I'm proud to say the Irish Leaving certificate caters well to Dyslexic students, it helps that St. Andrews had a (arguably) but relativly well equipped IT dept.

So I had a PC for any exam I elected to choose it from, But I felt bad - WHy ? Just because I'm dyslexic should I be given this advantage - in this digital era - anyone should have the right to take their exams on a PC, increasingly classrooms are taught over a digital projector, teachers ask for submissions to be typed - and at college level its not just reccommended its a requeirement.

Spell, theasaurus and dictionarys are part of reality, should they be banned on essays and thesis as well?- on what level is an exam exempt from this?

Computers in exams should a right to any college student who asks for one - and should be an elective choice for all not just dyslexic kids - Colleges have the resources - and if it became mainstream - safeguards against cheating would become standard & uncomplicated to implement.

speed typing is irrelevant, see eds point about quality over quantity, and that would be made better by the clarity a computer affords you.

Macka said...

Look in the same vein as the most knowledgable Goat I'm not going to even get drawn into an arguement as to why it is illogical, unneccessary and unfeasable to computerise exams.

But as regards spell check etc. and the evils to do with it; I just like to think a college graduate can spell

ed said...

I dont think computerisation of exams should be mandatory, but it should be optional.
As Luke said, if people use them for essays and theses why not exams?

I think it needs to be consistent across the board, with choice being available to take the exam however you want.

Macka said...

oh I don't think it should be mandatory, but its hilarious (in a terrifying way) to even consider it being partially attempted in the near future at all.

I'm not saying it could and should never happen but I fear for the sheer amount of chaos an attempt to digitalise exams in UCD would cause.
- Revised timetables to co-ordinate with..
- New pooter exam areas
- The mess tha is administration, records and correcting getting that little bit more messy (let go technologically retarded Arts staff)
- The UCD computer system in general.. it would inevitably crash at some point
- Never mind screening the laptops etc


- Everything as it is
- a pen and paper

At the moment there's no need to bring in pooters imo. BUT when the Japanese robots trade in their violins for guns and become our benevolent rulers it will be a different story. Mark my words

David said...

I personally don't think current logistical issues/incompetentcies should decide whether or not computers would be good or bad.

I don't feel that strongly either way but I guess I feel that you should be examined on your knowledge of your subject rather than your spelling, penmanship or speed.

I think computers definitely will be used in future, just look at past trends.

Once upon a time the ball-point pen was seen as an evil which would lead to worsening handwriting quality (which it probably did but does that matter?).

Calculators are computers and we use them to do our sums for us, I bet that for a long time they woud have been seen as cheating. Remember our JC year was the last not to use them. Whatever their effect was, they're now accepted and I think the same will happen with computers in exams.

Barra said...

Fuck You BIC! my penmanship is atrocious these days. :(