Monday, March 3, 2014

Why I don't care about National Examinations as a way to Evaluate students

For years, many have neglected the huge disparity between industries and the education curriculum. In one of the articles I read recently, Google does not like hiring the so called 'top performers' in school and one of the reasons is that these graduates feel they know so much and hence under-perform in the real world because they don't like learning. More and more of the new progressive companies are looking at other ways to evaluate potential employees and academic performance is reducing its popularity as a determining factor, at a very fast pace. Unfortunately, schools have continued to focus more on academic performance as the key pillar of measuring the potential of students.

Although it is not entirely fair to only look at the world's top innovators and business leaders as a pointer to this growing disparity, every sector in the world is dominated by 'average performers' in school who believe in hard-work and ability to learn as a way to rise to the top.

In Kenya for example, how many of the top performers in business, sports, arts, leadership and other sectors of the economy were the very best students in their 8th grade when they sat for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education or even in high school when they sat for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education? It requires no magic to look at the performance of students from early stages of schooling to college and eventually their careers in life. How many students who were the top performers in the country in primary school examinations end up being top students at high school examinations? And how many of these are top performers in college? And how many become the best in their industries or set up successful businesses or even perform well in arts or other fields?
Who among the top CEO's or business people was the best student in primary school, at high school and in college consistently?

I believe it is a high time education world over was re-looked at, and realigned to match with our day to day needs and aspirations. The methods of evaluating students should take into consideration several factors apart from academic performance only. There needs to be more linkage between industry players and schools. Human skills as well as aspects of entrepreneurship should be part of the curriculum.

If employers, innovators, investors, sportsmen, entrepreneurs among others are looking beyond academics in evaluating partners or employees to work with, why should our education systems in many countries continue to put emphasis on academic performance only?


  1. You have valid points in your article. I would also add that you encourage top performers to throw their weight and understanding into innovation and leadership. Yes, the average performer should be encouraged but not at the expense of discouraging the top performers. I know top performers who are not only able leaders but innovators as well. They may not be celebrated or have willingly kept off publicity but the fact remains they are top performers in academia and in life as well. Keep up the good work!

  2. You make some good points. Top performers, however, do not lack the knack for innovation, they just do not put any focus on it (largely due to the demand of our education system which focus on academic success). With no practice in learning something outside their sphere their sense of innovation is not cultivated. More often than not, trying to work on innovation, and something outside the usual always will lower your school performance. It is thus suffice to say the innovative average performers expanded their spheres otherwise they are the top performers.

    Having a way that would encourage innovation, leadership or any other activity outside academics and this added to evaluation of students then I think there will be a significant change in the overall rank.

    Choosing the path of innovation/leadership means you would require extra effort to be recognised which is a good thing given these areas demand surprisingly huge effort and determination.