The onus on students sitting exams
The Editor, Sir:
I very much appreciated Peter Espeut's column of January 15, 'Change the System', on poor CSEC results which should be addressed, in general, by fixing the classroom rather than dumbing down the exam. I prefer to emphasise here, however, the onus that is on the student.
I have been working in accounting and, as with Espeut, my formal exams were some years ago. However, I have had cause recently to visit, vicariously through young friends, the CSEC Principles of Accounts. The first edition of Frank Wood's Principles of Accounts for the Caribbean 1982 has been well localised through six editions. Together with the syllabus and past papers, and study supplements put out by two major dailies, available material does not seem at present too "foreign to the local experience". My only issue is with a sighting of heating expense in the income statement/profit and loss account, rather than perhaps air-conditioning/electricity expense!
The onus is on the student to become familiar with the content and structure of readily available material. I see little effort or curiosity in understanding how to use, for learning and reference, the contents of the textbook, though it is organised into chapters, subheadings, appendices of definitions, pro forma specimen workpapers and indices, and the relationship to the examining body's syllabus.
positive peer pressure
The onus is on the student to join in positive peer pressure to share homework instructions with a friend and/or study group.
The onus is on the student to perform on the exam day. This includes reading the question and answering only the specific requirements, and allocating and spending time for the paper weighted according to marks assigned for each question, no more time and no less time.
In return for shouldering this burden, the student and his prospective employer are entitled to an exam history on a résumé which is backed by substantial exams.
I am, etc.,