We might marvel at the progress made in every field of study, but the method of testing a person's knowledge and ability remains as primitive as ever it was. For most people, a test means that the candidates or examiners are sitting in a room with a pen in their hands and are supposed to finish the questions on the test paper within a limited time.
Examinations are used for various purposes. A teacher may use it to measure how much progress his/ her students have achieved after a period of instruction and, in turn, the results or data or examinations reveal what knowledge and ability the students are lacking. In addition, we have entrance examinations, placement tests, proficiency tests and so on.
Outside school, examinations are used for the purpose of selection and promotion. Therefore, examinations are of great importance in modern society.
However, people have noted tat examinations have a negative effect on education. On one hand, the tests themselves are questionable; the results of tests lack validity and reliability. On the other hand, both teachers and students are working for high marks instead of learning. As a result, we have high marks but incompetent students. Examples have shown that some Asian students with very high TOEFL marks turn out to be poor in their communication skills in the United States.
With the development of science, examinations which can objectively and comprehensively measure a person＇s knowledge and ability will be constructed. They will contribute more to education if they are rightly understood and appropriately used.