Exams are compulsory in all education systems. Their purpose is to evaluate someone’s learning after they have been taught something. They allow time for revision, consolidation and opportunity to embed the concepts taught during that year. The end of primary school, just before the big leap into high school, is a common time of the year for children to sit for exams. Usually, they are in the form of standardised tests, where results can be compared to expected standards for their age group.
This is a period of immense pressure for children, parents as well as teachers. Children are expected to perform under specific time constraints and show how much they have retained from their taught syllabus. Just like adults, some children perform well under such pressure and others… well…simply just don’t. Reasons for not performing well may vary, these can include: health reasons, family problems, lack of revision, a shallow understanding of the topic being tested, difficulty with the time constraints, or simply not being able to cope with added pressure.
Everyone is delighted when scores are high, but what happens if someone under achieves? Parents are often concerned if these results will affect their future. Parents worry if these scores will affect their entry into college or hinder their chances of success, when older. Dear parents, the answer is simple – not it will not affect your child’s future. It is not the end of the world if your child doesn’t do as well as you thought they could, or if they get low grades in their end of primary school exams. I’m not saying that these tests should be ignored, on the contrary, they have a lot more to offer than just scores.
Any test or exam is a snapshot of what they are able to do at that particular moment in time. If they haven’t done well, there is still plenty of time for improvement, especially for children in primary school. It might be an indication that your child needs additional support either academically, emotionally or in both. Failing primary school exams does not stop children from going to university or getting a good job and being successful in the future as long as the parents, in conjunction with teachers, find out the cause of their failure to best support their child in the future.
Exams should be taken seriously – they require organisational skills, self-control, focus, commitment, time management, subject knowledge, all of which are important life-skills. The test-taking process itself is beneficial for children’s’ future, even if their grades aren’t the highest. – this process should neither be underestimated nor overestimated. Test-taking is a skill that needs to be mastered and some children need more support than others. Use it to your and their advantage and help them to make the most of their experience.