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No class, just exams?

What if instead of all the costs that go into building a classroom could be eliminated with the offering of a comprehensive exam?

Photo of Zenobia
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Instead of students going to class on a daily basis, what if students were in charge of their own learning. They could make decisions as to what courses they want to take and utilize the power of the internet, libraries, etc. to learn. The proof of their education could come with a comprehensive exam for each subject that students could elect to take at certain points throughout the year. 

The exam offered does not have to be a typical standard examination like the SAT or ACT. The exam could include questions about key concepts that an expert in the subject should know, but also an essay section where the student can write about how they could apply what they have learned about this subject in real life or an idea they may have about taking a certain idea in that subject forward to discover new things. This essay portion serves to show the examiner that the student has mastered the subject well enough to be thinking about how they can make advances in this field. 

This would be an interesting way to learn since students could learn what they want and show off their knowledge in an exam that fosters some sort of intellectual creativity. 

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

The structure of universities and its classrooms is a large factor in the costs of tuition. What if they didn't exist? Could we completely dismantle the existing system to build a newer structure that has lower costs?


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Photo of Pierre Bierre

This approach is very good, if we broaden the notion of a test to a full assessment of capabilities. I would not favor a full assessment being reduced to what can be captured in a standardized test. Practical, communicative, and knowledge skills are all important to assess. One other concern is that the assessment evolve over time, so as to stay up-to-date with the real-world.

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