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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 3. 1969.

Real importance of the examination

Real importance of the examination

Sensible criticism is always in season and, who knows, may have effect, but how important in itself is the passing and failing of examinations?

A few statements of the obvious might be helpful here too. In the first place, failure is less serious when a student may repeat the examination. Secondly, the failed student is less afflicted by a sense of his failure if he is one of a fair number. Third, the more arbitrary an examination, and the more open to criticism, the smaller the "disgrace" of failure. In the fourth place, the failed student is made to feel his "inadequacy" when the "waste of time" (and money) theme is current. A final statement of the obvious is that staff attitude is largely responsible for the students' attitude to passing and failing. Over concern at students' failing is an unnecessary unkindness: it would surely be more considerate to set the importance of the examination itself in a realistic perspective. And, of course, the worth of a person is not indicated by examination performance. Whether a person passes or fails or what grade he has is interesting, but should neither be nor seem to be very important. Not for staff, for whom it is university work that matters. Certainly not for students, who do themselves an obvious disservice by magnifying the consequence of an essentially unimportant occurrence.