Exam results & anxiety

Exam results & anxiety
Dr Shayama Chona

The season of measuring child’s capabilities on the basis of marks is incorrect

It is that time of the year when there is anxiety in the air for students, parents and teachers. The results are round the corner and expectations high. In an eventuality of a child getting less marks than expected the teacher understandably reacts defensively by saying that if the child would have tried harder; he or she would have done much better. After all, it is not the teacher’s fault that the child did not try hard enough. This will put the responsibility back on the parents, who then may suggest that if the teaching had been better, the child would have tried harder. Without trying to oversimplify what is admittedly a complex problem it may be suggested that tense exchanges like these could be avoided if teachers and parents realize that board results, marks and other indexes of academic performance are relative measures, which at best are only approximate.

Marks somehow have a magic power and have a certain finality, an aura that cause parents and schools to regard marks as the end product in learning and not learning itself. Test scores and marks are only one index of intelligence and learning process. It is not necessary that students who get superior results will be more successful after graduation. The biographies of many great men often mention academic failure. Also young people do change over time and prove the evaluations wrong.

Exam results & anxiety


The need of the hour is ‘enlightened thinking’ on the subject. To realize that academic measurements are not ‘yardsticks’ like measurements in physical world.

A pint of milk remains a pint of milk under a number of situations and conditions but Ravi who scored 65% in his Maths paper in pre-board exams which is average for his class may manage to secure 85% in the Board. Neither of the two results will determine his mathematical competency.

The point is that there is nothing permanent or definitive about a test score as there is about the measurement that are made in the physical world. There is a special message for parents if your child does not show expected results that may be required for getting into colleges; they are not necessarily the only possessions for getting on in life. Life is larger than examination results. The thing to ponder on is: Are you preparing your children for day to day tests of life?

Parents and schools regard marks as the end product in learning and not learning itself


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