My TWO CENTS: Projects, not exams, show students’ real abilities


The ongoing debate as to whether the corruption-riddled National Examinations should be continued has raised questions as to which system could best measure the accomplishment of primary and secondary school students.

The basic idea of education is not to see if students can pass a multiple choice test, but rather to ensure they actively retain the knowledge and skills needed not only to survive in, but to be a benefit to society.

Why not assign students a final school project in which they can apply their knowledge while learning new skills and, at the same, gain a mark that more accurately reflects their abilities?

The existing national exam, simply known as the UN, only evaluates math, English, Indonesian and three other subjects for high school students, based on their majors.

The current system means students only learn enough of these subjects to be able to reasonably guess the answer of the UN’s multiple-choice questions.

It is not fair for primary school students, who have studied hard for six years, or for secondary students who have spent three years learning, to have their future determined in one five-day examination. Worse still, the school or the students can cheat on the exam.

With a final project, however, students would be able to put into practice what they have learned during their many hours at school. Primary students, for instance, could demonstrate what they have learned with a creative handicraft project, while older students could do research or execute a program that betters their community.

Not only would this allow greater creativity, the students would learn the importance of hard work, and would take an active role in, and learn responsibility for, their surrounding environment. It would be an accomplishment on its own for both the students and the school.

It is time to find a new method of evaluation for students that is not only effective in improving education but also nurtures a creative generation.

Ferril Irham M
Student of State University of Malang, East Java

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