Why Universities Should Scrap Exams

Since joining an education tech start-up, I’ve discovered that there are new ways to develop, monitor and assess medical students. For example, it’s now possible for tutors to stand next to a student in a clinic or ward, watch them drill a tooth, take blood or discuss a sensitive matter, and assess them right there, on the spot, recording observations and also jotting down suggestions for improvement, all on an iPad. That can happen day in, day out for three, four or five years, so that by the end of the course, you really do have a complete picture of how that student is doing across a whole range of skills with all types of patients. Yes, you can do this sort of thing on paper, but it’s much easier to analyse the results if they are fed into an electronic database. You have literally thousands of observations – it’s big data really.

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