Wednesday, 29 April 2015 11:06

Is coursework a better alternative to class exams to assess student’s capabilities?

There are two major strategies that teachers use to assess the potential of a student: Unseen exam and coursework. This article argues on why coursework is a comparatively better method than exams. In several countries and universities, discussions usually arise on whether more weightage should be given on exam marks or coursework marks.

While the argument do not reach any conclusion, it is not possible to eliminate one of these totally from the curriculum. Therefore, both methods are generally used despite the fact that different weight is given to both in different universities and countries.


The most logical arguments on why a coursework is better than an exam are as follows:

Comprehensiveness: Precisely, coursework is way more comprehensive, informative and research-based than an exam. A coursework will require students to get involved in mass research, make notes, use various resources and work on presentation while an exam can lead to a student reading, or merely memorizing, definitions and examples from just one book or eBook.

Time flexibility: Under time pressure, students may feel exhausted and the exam they appear for may not reflect their true potential. Coursework deadline is usually in weeks or maybe months depending on the complexity, length and subject. On the other hand, exam lasts for a few hours and since students have to cover so many points, some very important ones are unintentionally omitted and hence they end up losing marks. When a student gets a long deadline for coursework, he plans everything conveniently and allocates optimum time to research, writing and presentation. This planning helps them submit an outstanding work and get good grades.

Use of several resources: As mentioned, exam will lead to a student studying from a very few resources because he will only need sufficient information to write. Conversely, students will try to include as much detailed information as possible about the subject or topic to make the coursework stand out from others. By using various books from libraries and eBooks from web stores, students will learn about real world examples linked to the subject which is unlikely to be the case in an exam.

No stress of supervising: Exam supervision becomes hectic if the class size is too large. This is avoided in a coursework because students submit them by the stipulated deadline. Moreover, there is a risk of plagiarism in coursework and therefore teachers can immediately reject a coursework if plagiarized content is found.


These are some arguments that make it clear why coursework is better than exams. HoweverComputer Technology Articles, the most efficient way of assessing student capabilities is to test them on exams and coursework both.

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