IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample 793 - Movement away from written exams to more practical assessment

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

In the modern world, there is a movement away from written exams to more practical assessment. 

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this trend.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.

Model Answer 1:
The written exam was the only possible evaluation method in the past and thanks to the technological advancements for numerous other techniques to assess a student's academic performance nowadays. It is quite obvious that schools and other educational and training institutions are opting for a combination of different assessment methods and this shift has both advantages and demerits, which I shall examine in this essay.

To start with the advantages, practical approaches to evaluating students not only consider the overall learning and understanding of a student but also the accuracy and depth of their knowledge. For instance, in a paper based exam, a student can easily memorise the answers and perform well in written test; but when he is asked to demonstrate the knowledge his knowledge in a lab, his memorise-and-answer ability would help him a little. In practical exams, students who have really learned the lessons would pass with flying colours. Furthermore, assessment methods like interviews, group assignments, presentations and lab experiments prepare pupil to face the challenges in professional life.  

Turning to the disadvantages of practical assessment, many students can cheat the evaluation process and pass the exam with a little devotion to study. For instance, a recent survey conducted on students in five different colleges revealed that students prefer group assignments, online presentations and lab experiments than written exam as they need to study more for the later one. On top of that, sometimes, teachers favour particular students and mark some students poorly due to personal reasons and the authority has little to do to reassess this marking scheme at a later date.

To conclude, genuine assessment of a student is quite an essential task for the schools and a combination of evaluation process should be implemented. Practical assessment offers many benefits and subsequently prepare students for the future challenges in both academic and professional environment.


Sample Answer 2:
One of the burning issues in today’s world is the accurate method of evaluating students with practical tests instead of traditional written ones. There are some debates over the more usefulness and precision between these two methods and in this essay, I shall discuss both the benefits and negative consequences of this trend.  

To begin with, it is widely accepted that the technology has dramatically changed the way we teach and evaluate students. So, in order to follow new and improved developments and methods, we need new techniques in teaching. Therefore, the new trend of evaluating are needed in order that old ones can no longer assess how much students understand their courses. There is a convincing evidence that written exams are time-consuming and cannot illustrate student’s knowledge correctly since some people only memorise everything very fast, but eventually, they forget everything even faster.

Having said that, it must not be ignored that it is actually difficult to score students by their performance even if the practical approach of evaluating is followed. It also depends on the perception of examiners and having experienced teachers in our educational institutes is also a challenge. In addition, more time and money have to be spent on practical tests with fixed criteria of grading. Thus it is the obvious reason why traditional methods have been kept its popularity till now. Additionally, in some courses such as history and so on there are no sufficient requirements on practical assessment, hence traditional methods can estimate appropriately and in areas like this, a combination of exam system should exist.

Overall, despite some drawbacks of practical tests, it has become one of the main procedures of evaluating students recently but written exams are also widely used all around the world. I believe that both types of exams are required for investigating students skills and abilities.

[Written by - Shazii]

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