For the next two weeks, we will be holding internal examinations at the college – seniors this week, juniors next. These exams are important to measure progress, to find areas of weakness that need to be improved upon and so on. No one likes exams – least of all, teachers. However, we all reluctantly accept that for measuring competency in an increasingly competitive world, they are probably the only safe assessment instrument we have at our disposal. The important exams at KY, are, of course, the external ones from Cambridge at AS and A-level. Having internal exams as well, merely reinforces that requirement and provides necessary practice in the time management skills needed to ensure successful completion.
Certain patterns also emerge. It is by no means uncommon for senior students who have done well at AS level to show something of a decline in these internal tests. Part of the reason is because they are not taken seriously enough (although with KY students, I personally doubt that). More likely is the fact that there is quite a leap in standard between AS and A2 and these exams are the first indication of how big that leap really is.
For juniors, we don’t have anything to compare them with – these exams are their first test of academic merit at KY, so they are an important milestone. Both juniors and seniors will receive end-of-semester reports in November at Parents’ Day, and the results of these current exams will be prominently displayed on them.
18-month students have already done an internal test back in July: our equivalent of an AS assessment, with which we are able to make predicted grades for university application. They now join the seniors in taking the first exam of their A2 year.
I always encourage students to take exams – any exams – seriously, but not to stress themselves out beforehand. They are a rite of passage in academic life that will continue long after leaving KY. As far as the next two weeks are concerned, I hope everyone does his or her best and gains the kind of results that will inspire them to carry on and reach their respective goals at the end of the year.