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Speech On Should Exams be Banned

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  • Updated on  
  • Dec 15, 2023

Speech on Should Exams be Banned

According to NCRB Data, 864 out of 10,732 youngsters under the age of 18 years died by suicide. This life ending, out of peer pressure, rose to 13,089 in 2021. These statistics do not reflect the numbers, but they remember how uneasy it is for children to face pressure just for the name of studies. 

In the world of technology, when things are just a few seconds away from every human, testing knowledge and skills is no longer theoretical. Academic institutions focusing more on hands-on experience celebrate success and give a different perspective to the present and the future in real-time. 

But as every coin has two sides, the same here is the heated topic of exams being banned or not, which is just not one-sided. On the one hand, old traditions still hold books and bags firmly, and on the other hand, some people believe in a practical approach without any mental stress and anxiety.

In this writing, we will try to understand whether the big and all-time hot topic, whether exams should be banned, still holds relevance or whether people have grown smarter to know that there is life beyond learning from books.

Also Read: Top 6 Effective Classroom Teaching Methods

2-Minute Speech On Should Exams Be Banned Speech

‘Hello and welcome to everyone present here. Today, I will be presenting a speech on ‘Should Exams be Banned?’ One of my friends with a twelve-year-old daughter was scrolling down on Netflix. As it was March, the peak time of pre-board examinations, I asked her about her preparation out of curiosity.’

‘She smiled back at me and asked me to chill, as the school doesn’t support examinations and goes for fun learning via classroom practical experience. Since there was no peer pressure of any review, she also planned a vacation with friends.’ 

‘Although the example was fictitious, it cannot be denied that some schools do not support pen and paper for examination; they believe in fun learning and remembering.’

‘Are school bags becoming so heavy that students cannot see the bright future? Can´t testing of studies cannot be turned on with practical learning, which turns off the pressure and makes learning fun?’

‘There might be people who will support examinations, as according to them, bookish knowledge cannot be replaced with practical and real-time learning. But what if we helped tests with adventure, like in Australia, Finland, Shanghai, and Canada?’

‘In the words of Thomas Edison, “Tomorrow is my exam but I don’t care, a single paper can’t decide my future.” Examinations are just a way to test your knowledge, and doing it with a pen and paper is unnecessary. Replace everything with expertise and practical experience and build a new world of learning. 

Thank you.’

Also Read: Essay on Education System

10 Lines on Should Exams Be Banned 

1.  No examination leads to exploration of real-world scenarios, which helps the students to learn with real experience.

2. Some students are born brilliant and do well in classrooms because they utilize their potential by removing the anxiety of last-moment examinations.

3. Interactive sessions create a broad definition of success, which is beyond classrooms. 

4. Examinations are no guarantee, as there is a distinct and dynamic future beyond academics.

5. No examination creates new learning styles and easy-to-go practical methods.

6. Without examinations, creating a cooperative learning environment is healthy for students.

7. If discussed with no peer pressure of examinations, children’s chances of comprehensive understanding raise the bar. 

8. No examination is the door to creativity and logical thinking.

9. As there will be no static examination pattern, the chances of creative learning styles will be enhanced. 

10. No examination with more creativity and hands-on experience will lead to more potential preparation for challenges.

Also Read: Importance of Education in Development

Examinations could be more effective in terms of creativity and exposure of talent. Moreover, tests stress students, sometimes leading to disinterest in studies.

Henry Fischel, an American businessman, invented examinations in the 19th century.

Examinations calculate grades and marks, setting a benchmark for numbers instead of fun and learning. When there is no fun in education, students cannot figure out what interests them; hence, it kills their creativity.

Examinations have a set of standards that lead the students on the way, followed for years. 

Many students cannot handle the peer pressure of the examinations. Due to this, their health gets affected, leading to depression and mental health issues.

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Deepika Joshi

Deepika Joshi is an experienced content writer with expertise in creating educational and informative content. She has a year of experience writing content for speeches, essays, NCERT, study abroad and EdTech SaaS. Her strengths lie in conducting thorough research and ananlysis to provide accurate and up-to-date information to readers. She enjoys staying updated on new skills and knowledge, particulary in education domain. In her free time, she loves to read articles, and blogs with related to her field to further expand her expertise. In personal life, she loves creative writing and aspire to connect with innovative people who have fresh ideas to offer.

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Should exams be abolished?

F or young people, exams, like death and taxes, were once certainties of life. That was the case, at least, in a society that couldn’t have imagined a pandemic shutting it down and forcing it to adapt as radically as it has. The alterations coronavirus has forced us to make have allowed us to see what is possible that we previously thought impossible, and that includes a world without exams.

Even before the pandemic and the forced cancellation of both GCSEs and A-Levels for two years in a row, there was a growing consensus that the examination system is broken and unfit for purpose. Particular concern has been expressed about the relationship of more rigorous exams, introduced by Michael Gove under David Cameron’s coalition government, to the decline in young people’s mental health in recent years. A recent survey revealed that young people in Britain are the unhappiest in Europe, with only 64% of them experiencing ‘high life satisfaction’ (the happiest young people were found to be Romanians, of whom 85% reported high life satisfaction). More troublingly, research conducted in 2018 revealed that 20% of girls and 10% of boys had self harmed or attempted suicide at some point in their lives. Gus O’Donnell, formerly head of the civil service, blamed this, in a report by The Guardian , at least partly on an “addiction to exams”. 

After the cancellation of exams for the second year in a row, the voices calling for their abolition grew louder. The idea in particular of abolishing GCSEs is gaining a great deal of momentum, especially among journalists, social commentators and teachers. The Times reported in November 2019 that heads from the Girls’ School Association had said that GCSEs “belong in the Victorian times” and are “outmoded and draining” . While government officials have not commented on the dilemma quite to the same extent, Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow and chair of the Commons Education Select Committee, described GCSEs as “pointless”, calling for them to be scrapped and A-Levels to be replaced with a baccalaureate-style system containing a mixture of arts, science and vocational subjects. 

Critics have pointed out that the UK remains out of step with its European neighbours with GCSEs still in place, since it is the only country in the continent to test pupils at 16 and then at 18

Even more significantly, Lord Kenneth Baker, who was Education Secretary when GCSEs were introduced in 1986, has called for them to be scrapped. He has argued that they have become redundant now that pupils must legally stay in school or training until they are eighteen. Critics have also pointed out that the UK remains out of step with its European neighbours with GCSEs still in place, since it is the only country in the continent to test pupils at 16 and then at 18. Adding SATs for pupils in Year 2 and Year 6, they argue, makes British children some of the most over-tested in the world. 

By contrast, the Department for Education has shown no sign of supporting calls for GCSEs to be scrapped. In response to Halfon’s comments, they defended GCSEs as ‘gold-standard exams’ . Similarly, Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of Ofsted, rebuked claims that children are overtested in the UK, dismissing the argument as a ‘myth’ and suggesting instead that examination is good for both students and teachers. 

The outcome of cancelling GCSEs and A-Levels last summer was far from adequate, with an algorithm used for moderation downgrading grades given by teachers by up to three grades, especially in deprived areas. This was taken by some as a reason to rethink criticisms of the exam system, evidence that exams were in fact necessary and the only fair way to determine the qualifications pupils leave school with. 

This is a meritocratic argument, but the flip-side of this is that exams were never truly fair to begin with. The attainment gap between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers speaks for this, as well as the variation in results from pupils who go to schools in affluent and deprived areas. Pupils from wealthier families are also afforded more support with their exams – their parents can afford to hire tutors or buy expensive revision books. They are also more likely to have sufficient study space and time. 

Recent research from King’s College London found that teacher assessments are equally as reliable as standardised exams at predicting educational success

Many oppose the abolition of exams because the potential alternatives are not up to the same standard. One option could be to make the temporary system of giving pupils grades permanent – teachers would decide, from the performance of pupils in the classroom, their final grade (though obviously without an algorithm to interfere with their judgments). Recent research from King’s College London found that teacher assessments are equally as reliable as standardised exams at predicting educational success. 

The major concern that arises, of course, could be bias. 

Concern has been raised by students over negative relationships with their teachers affecting their grades: an anonymous student writing for the Independent mentioned a friend declaring “My life is over,” after mitigation measures for exams were announced during the reveal of the third lockdown. 

Coursework as an alternative removes some of the stress and anxiety of exams by allowing pupils to spread their work over a period of time

Another option could be to replace exams with coursework. Although not favoured by the coalition government that reformed exams and removed much of the coursework, it potentially removes some of the stress and anxiety of exams by allowing pupils to spread their work over a period of time. It could also be argued that it is better preparation for further or higher education, where coursework is used far more frequently, especially for humanities subjects. It is also much more similar to tasks that would be expected in the workplace, with the obvious expectation that pupils won’t find anything resembling exams awaiting them when they enter the world of work. 

However, part of the reason that coursework has been removed for the most part from exam syllabuses is concerns about cheating, through copying another student or even through the use of essay mills. By contrast, there are far fewer possibilities to cheat in an exam, and invigilation remains incredibly strict to prevent this from happening. 

Scrapping exams permanently would also have implications for schools. These could be positive, on the one hand, especially from a financial perspective. Exams are expensive for schools, especially for subjects that are less popular, and without them schools could be afforded a greater budget – potentially vital as ten years of austerity have left them overstretched. If only GCSEs were scrapped, a question mark hangs over the schools that don’t have sixth forms, which would mean they would not offer any exams at all. University admissions would also potentially be affected without GCSEs, as universities will have no record of a student’s exam performance if they have not taken any AS-Levels in Year 12. 

With the government preoccupied by the vaccine rollout and decisions over lockdown measures, it is unlikely that any more radical reforms to the exams system will be implemented in the short to medium term, especially not when barely half a decade has passed since the last ones. Regardless, though scrapping A-Levels is harder to justify, the calls in particular for an end to GCSEs are unlikely to go away. Unless the school leaving age is lowered, which is also unlikely, there will always be an argument that they are no longer relevant and thus the stress they cause both pupils and teachers is unnecessary. 

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Exams should be abolished speech

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Exams should be abolished

Exams – a word that many students dread to hear, a word that many students fear of, a word that seems to have the magical power to transform a happy and cheerful person into a frustrated and nervous wreck.

What are exams and should they been done away with entirely?

Exams are longer and more comprehensive versions of tests held every term. Initially created to monitor and check how a student was performing academically, they now have so much more pressure on them that students are burning the midnight oil to study for an exam. This results in some students becoming ill due to stress and lack of sleep. They have become more and more stressful and, even worse, a constriction to the ideal of learning.

It is a well known fact that when it comes to exams, students compete, not only with themselves, but with other students. They no longer want to see an increase in their knowledge, but want to beat other people to the top of the class. Even parents take exams as a race to see whose children are more intelligent.

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Students shouldn’t be judged on their performance on one day when they might be ill. The exams might not be completely representative of the student’s skills as everyone can have a bad day.

They are a poor method of assessment as they don’t reflect the use of knowledge in a practical environment. They don’t reflect how well you’ll be able to use your knowledge in real world occupations.

This is a preview of the whole essay

Many successful individuals are bad at exams but can perform well under other methods of assessment such as essays and oral presentations which still prepare students in coping with pressure. Some people would argue that exams are not a fair assessment of intelligence and aren’t favourable to those with poor memory skills, those who suffer under pressure, and those who get so nervous in such situations that they shut down in exams. It’s very easy to know content but to completely fail an exam because you are nervous. They aren’t an accurate representation of a student’s knowledge as some people are just better at taking exams than others. If you happen to mess up in your exams due to stress or panic then your goals can disintegrate leaving you unable to reach your full potential and having to settle for second best. SATs are taking the pleasure out of learning for many students and pressurising teachers to ‘teach the test’ rather than teaching for meaning, understanding, critical thinking and pleasure. Should schools become exam result factories or institutions which create well-rounded human beings? This problem must be addressed to reduce the number of pupils who suffer from forms of neurosis or depression due to this country’s narrow minded approach to education.

Those students cramming in last-minute study will have to put aside their social lives, have to sacrifice their sleep and will be under great pressure and tension. Coursework is also a problem when you have exams and should not collide with exam revision.

In humanity subjects such as History, Geography and social sciences, analysis and application of what has been learned is important and cannot be assessed through exams.

If exams were abolished then students would have more time to learn new material instead of being tested and revising. Testing can be performed in many other ways than a 3 hour exam which decides your fate. The vast majority of exams are based on the student’s ability to recall, in the space of 2 or 3 hours, details of a subject which is generally vast in its scope.

The vital point is that those students who enjoy greatest success are not necessarily those who have the best grasp of the subject, but most often those who have successfully anticipated the questions which will appear on the paper. This is, of course, not the only problem. Exams create unnecessary pressure and the poorly planned exam schedules only add to this. Who would deny that they would rather have 5 exams spread over 2 weeks rather than 5 exams in the space of 4 days, leaving little time to readjust?  Furthermore, exams aren’t adequate preparation for working life and test only your memory of a subject rather than all-round knowledge that properly conceived coursework can afford. It is undoubtedly important to test knowledge as well as all round skills, but this can be done much more fairly through methods such as essays and the appropriate use of coursework than through the traditional hellish world of end-of-year exams.

Fairer forms of assessment include more coursework, oral presentation, continuous assessments throughout the year and term papers as well as project work.

Education should be more about what is drawn out of people that what is drummed into them and this is not done through examinations.

In modern day education, familiarity with word processing, desktop publishing and powerpoint is a valuable asset and whilst essays and oral presentations allow the student to demonstrate these skills, traditional exams require students to write essays with a pen and paper – a very unnatural endeavour in the 21 st  century.

Are exams a valid form of assessment of simply a memory test? You decide.

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Exams should be abolished speech

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Why Standardized Testing Needs To Be Abolished

“If my future were determined just by my performance on a standardized test, I wouldn’t be here. I guarantee you that.” — Michelle Obama

The amount of time students spend taking standardized tests during school has grown significantly in recent years. America’s youth are required to give up valuable class time to take federally-mandated assessments that are used to compare them, their schools and their states to others. Standardized tests are generally multiple choice and focused mainly on English and math, though sometimes social studies and science are included in the tests, as well.

The point of standardized testing is to determine the average score of schools, states and the nation and to compare and contrast them. This is to see where help should be provided and to decide what should be done for America and its education system to progress.

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

However, it is appropriate to consider whether all these tests are actually helping, if these assessments students must take so frequently really will help our nation’s educational systems and the students they serve to make progress.

Standardized testing started off with seemingly innocent intentions, but today it has grown destructive to America’s public education system. Big companies that create the tests won’t stop making tests even though they cause harm in our school systems, because they profit and grow wealthy from those school systems using their tests.

According to evidence, one of the many problems with the tests is that the tests, for one, have no evidence supporting the idea that they are in any way beneficial. Many consider the No Child Left Behind legislation to have lowered the national success rate in education. A study by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that “available evidence does not give strong support for the use of test-based incentives to improve education.” Scholars agree that a single test score or a set of test scores don’t really measure what students have learned in a test or at school. The tests don’t cover many skills and leave out material.

Additionally, standardized tests do not accurately measure how much a student has learned or his or her aptitude. The tests are used solely for many important decisions, so if you have a score that is below excellent, there could be serious and unintended ramifications that were not even meant for you by those who designed the test.

Test scores are used for many decisions. For instance, they were widely used to label schools. Schools tagged as “failing” can diminish teacher and administrative pay, encourage parents to move their students to another school and ultimately lead to the schools’ closure. Standardized tests are also used to determine how effective teachers are, whether a school should be stripped of certain freedoms and be placed under purely Common Core standards, without electives or fun, and whether a school should lose funds. On the other hand, the schools that have better test results often receive rewards, such as more funding.

Schools spend great amounts time — not to mention money — to secure assessments and make sure there is no cheating, but students are more likely to cheat as more pressure is placed upon them to perform well.

Tests do not provide any insight to what should be done to improve the scores and to help the students succeed, so they serve no true purpose or benefit to schools or their students.

These tests generally do not contain enough material to really be able to evaluate one’s strengths and weaknesses. According to the National Academy, the left-out information is most often “the portion of the curriculum that deals with higher levels of cognitive functioning and application of knowledge and skills.”

Standardized testing leads to less time learning, a more narrow curriculum and more time overall taking tests. This disrupts school routines, lessens time teaching and learning. Class time is spent on teaching to the test, practice tests and learning test-taking strategies.

The tests have been said many times to stifle creative thinking, to fail to effectively measure the achievement gap between social groups, and to demean one’s love of learning and self-confidence.

Schools spend great amounts time — not to mention money — to secure assessments and to make sure there is no cheating, but students are more likely to cheat as stakes rise and as more pressure is placed upon them to perform well.

Evaluations of teachers and decisions to close schools that perform poorly use test scores as the main source of judgement. Schools that receive budget cuts from the government based on test results are forced into firing teachers, raising class sizes, and losing programs of value. This process is harmful, but unfair decisions based on test scores alone continue to be made.

A proposed bill in the recently concluded state legislative session, House Bill 2730 , would have restricted standardized testing in public school, a critical step in the right direction for education in Hawaii. The bill would have limited “public school student participation in standardized tests, prohibit(ed) the use of standardized tests scores for evaluation purposes, authorize(d) standardized testing exemptions, and require(d) the Board of Education to provide notice of the right to opt out of standardized testing.”

Unfortunately, the bill was killed after passing only one reading. Why?

Restraints on these federally mandated assessments is necessary for Hawaii and our entire nation to move back up on international rankings of student knowledge and application.

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English Essay on “Should Exams be Abolished?” English Essay-Paragraph-Speech for Class 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 CBSE Students and competitive Examination.

Should Exams be Abolished?

The word ‘examination is sufficient to send shivers down the spine of most students, Most students dread examination and would do anything to escape it.

The detractors feel that the examination system in India is obsolete and outdated. It tests only the ability of the students to ‘mug’ up and not assimilate whatever he has learnt. This, the student is expected to reproduce during exams. There is little emphasis on application of the knowledge that the student is exposed to.

For most students, exams produce unbearable stress. The fear of failure goads them on to resort to unfair means and unscrupulous ways to do well. Students cheat intimidate the invigilators or use other such means to do well. In doing all this, the entire purpose of the examination is nullified. Failure in the examination can sometimes result in drastic measures like suicide by the student who fails in the exam as well as fails to meet the expectations of teachers and parents.

Besides, a three-hour examination sets very narrow parameters to test the real worth of a student. The examinee may not perform well, owing to ill-health or some other factor, but on the result of his examination, depends his destiny. Yet, a lot of emphasis is placed on the results of various exams.

Sometimes, examination results are tampered with or question paper leak out or can be ‘bought’ in connivance with the person in charge. Under all these circumstances, the credibility of examination stands to be questioned.

The supporters of the examination system feel that exams are indispensable. They help to test objectively the preparedness of a student. They nurture his ability to work systematically. They provide an incentive to strive for excellence. Perhaps, they are the only way one can gauge the ability of a student to assimilate whatever knowledge he is exposed to. Examinations prevent the students from becoming complacent and keeps them on their toes.

However, we cannot overlook the lacunae in the present-day system of examination. Its high time, some ingenuity is introduced to make the examination system more reliable-and foolproof.

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Opinion: Standardized Testing Should Be Abolished

speech on should exams be banned

In recent years, colleges have been under fire for the many faults in their admissions process. The 2019 college admissions scandal was a criminal conspiracy involving bribery, money laundering and application fabrication, with notable people such as Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin, that worked to sway admissions decisions at the top universities in America. 

The scandal is one of the most recent proofs of how college admissions is an unfair playing field. Whether it be because of legacy students or huge family donations to a school, wealth and power play a vital part in the game that is the college admissions system. 

Standardized testing is the latest component of the college admissions process to be criticized as it has proven to be an outdated and inaccurate assessment of one’s level of college preparedness.

One of the first things many tutors and teachers say to their students when preparing them for their upcoming test is that the SAT and the ACT are not measures of your intellectual abilities; they measure your ability to take a test. 

What do college admissions officers gain from knowing how well you can take a test?

In theory, standardized testing is a pragmatic way to assess what one has learned; however, it does not take into consideration external factors and conditions that may affect the way a student tests. Tests lack diversity, and they do not take into consideration the different types of students that will be taking the test. English learning students, unconventional thinkers, students with anxiety and simply bad test takers all suffer because they assess students homogeneously. 

Because these exams are so imperative in the world of education, it actually hinders the learning experience as people start “teaching the test” instead of fostering a challenging and critical learning environment. Standardized testing has only created a bunch of anxious students and teachers scrambling to master a test that they most likely will not find use for in the “real world.”

One test should not be the determining factor of a student’s college preparedness or intellect, especially when the origins of college admissions testing are inherently discriminatory towards marginalized communities. 

According to the National Education Association (NEA) , many white Anglo-Saxon nationalists in the 19th Century were worried about the infiltration of minorities into the American school system as more immigrants came into the U.S. Psychologist Carl Bringham, who claimed that African-Americans “were on the low end of the racial, ethnic, and/or cultural spectrum,” was one of the main developers of a test used to assess the aptitude of U.S army in World War I that segregated soldiers into units based on race and performance. This aptitude test heavily influenced the development of the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or the SAT that we know of today. 

The SAT can be seen to have displayed evident bias towards minority groups from its very beginning. Years of research prove that even as the test evolved throughout the decades, the race and class barriers that the test inflicted withstood throughout the span of time. According to Fair Test research, students of color performed significantly lower on college admissions tests, preventing them from getting the merit scholarships they needed to attend a good college, thereby contributing to the drastic racial gaps and inequities in college acceptances and enrollment.

The average score nationwide on the reading section of the SAT was 429 for Black students last year–99 points behind the average for white students. Some may argue that these low scores for people of color are a result of lack of commitment, a racist viewpoint, or incompetence. However, a lot of other factors play a role in the different performances between races. Black and brown students often come from lower-income families compared to their white counterparts, preventing them from being able to afford private tutors and SAT and ACT classes.

Standardized testing is an outdated, inaccurate and unrealistic test of aptitude that does more detriment to the high school learning experience than help. The University of California Board has already unanimously voted to not require the SAT or ACT on student application as a lawsuit claims they are “deeply biased and provide no meaningful information about a student’s ability to succeed.” 

This has inspired many other schools like George Washington University and Hampshire College to follow their lead. Standardized testing is one of the many ways systemic racism still exists in society. It creates a huge barrier preventing applicants of color from achieving the education they deserve and perpetuates the prejudiced conditions that they live under today. 

Article by Kristal Maimo-Fokum of John F. Kennedy High School

Graphic by Khanh Nguyen of Richard Montgomery High School

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Blog post – Should we ban final exams?

Hassan Khosravi

For centuries, exams have played a central role in assessing student competencies. However, as the higher education landscape changes, there has been an increasing divide between educational practitioners about the benefits and drawbacks of exams. 

In the first debate from UQ’s Higher Ed Debate series , we examined this controversy and invited staff and students to present their views on the topic That we should ban final exams . We followed the common debate style of having two teams of three members, with one team supporting (affirmative) and one team opposing (negative) the topic.

Debate recording

Debate summary

Affirmative team – arguing in favour of banning final exams.

The affirmative team argued that exams under the status quo are not an effective means of assessing student knowledge or employability as they prioritise breadth over depth, test students’ ability to recall facts rather than prepare them for future employment, assess students by their penmanship and ability to write neatly rather than deep knowledge and assess students under time pressure without access to world knowledge (i.e. Google search), which is rarely the case in the real world.

They further argued that exams provide a poor learning experience as they encourage cramming which is an ineffective way of studying, carry an excessively large weight of the final grade which introduces a harmful level of stress and anxiety, lack inclusivity as they unfairly disadvantage those who are neurodivergent or have disabilities and lack accountability in terms of quality of marking and providing feedback. In addition, they argued that proctoring online exams introduces data privacy concerns that students should not have to bear. 

As a strategy to address concerns raised by the use of exams, they suggested the use of low-state, authentic, bite-size assessments that assess content at the end of each week or a short module.

Negative team – Arguing against banning final exams

The negative team responded that most of the points raised by the affirmative team relate to poorly developed exams rather than exams by nature. For example, it is possible to create open book exams that test your ability to authentically solve problems and apply knowledge, use oral exams to test employability factors beyond recalling facts or use a digital assessment platform to avoid issues related to poor handwriting and to increase marking accountability and provide feedback. Additionally, they outlined the importance of testing breadth in relation to recall-based questions. They also argued that even though industry-specific knowledge is widely accessible, as the expert in a domain, you're expected to know the content when you meet with a client rather than having Google open in front of you to search for answers. They highlighted two benefits that exams carry over bite-sized assignments:

  • Final exams can critically assess your ability to apply knowledge from across all parts of the course rather than content related to a specific module.
  • Exams enable students to develop the ability to work under stress under tight timelines, which gives them an employability advantage.

The team further argued that the affirmative team failed to provide any evidence of why alternative assessments to exams are any better. For example, if their argument is that academics are creating poor exams, why would the quality of alternative assessments they make be any better? In terms of anxiety and stress, turning exams into bite-sized assignments means many more overlapping deadlines across courses for a student, which itself is a source of anxiety. Accountability of marking is also a problem with assignments as tutors might be under time pressure to read and provide feedback on a long essay with very little given time. The use of team-based assessments may disadvantage students that are stuck in a bad team or might give an unfair advantage to free-riders. Oral presentations may also introduce stress and are unscalable, plus they take up a lot of students’ contact time. Work-integrated learning may introduce overhead funding for travel and attire and raise fairness concerns as the quality of the experience may vary significantly depending on the placement. 

Finally, they raised the important point of academic workload and viewing academics as a finite resource. Exams are a time-effective way of establishing how well a student has achieved learning outcomes, which have academic integrity embedded into them. While it is possible to replace them, alternatives would generally require significantly more time commitment, which maxed-out academics would find challenging to achieve.

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Associate Professor Hassan Khosravi

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Why we should abolish the university exam

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Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University

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I do not have affiliations that would create conflits of interest in the context of the issues raised in this opinion piece.

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speech on should exams be banned

The time has come to abolish university examinations. Just because something has been around a long time there’s no reason to assume it’s outdated. But in the case of exams that assumption would be right.

We’ve all been through it. You sit down in a room for two or three hours and answer questions from memory. Now we’re wedded to the idea that’s how you should test someone’s knowledge.

But research shows that examinations don’t develop questioning, self sufficient learners. So why have universities, by and large, chosen to retain them?

The case for examinations

People deploy a number of arguments in defence of examinations: they represent a gold standard of assessment to combat grade inflation; they guarantee the requirements of professional bodies; they provide a sea wall against the rising tide of plagiarism.

These reasons have varying degrees of merit but none of them, in themselves, provide a complete defence of the examination system.

It’s true that grades have apparently been improving for a few years now. As the content of degrees has remained relatively stable during that time I assume that degrees have not got easier but that it is easier to do well – and maybe the students simply work harder and do better.

But the improvement is really down to offering students alternatives to examinations. When tested in other ways students get better marks. So the “gold standard” argument comes down to a choice to test a student in a way that depresses their capacity to get a high mark. I am not sure why any teacher would want to do that.

Highlighting that exams can ensure a common professional standard has some merit, but what is a university for if it is simply delivering the requirements of a third party?

The case that exams save us from academic malpractice has most merit, albeit as a counsel of despair. And is the problem of plagiarism really as big as people fear?

Most experienced university lecturers would agree that there seems to be more plagiarism around than there used to be. Whether this is because of improved detection via software like Turnitin or more malpractice is hard to tell, probably a bit of both.

A different era

We have to remember that students today face different pressures to those of previous generations. They have to balance study and work in ways that most of us didn’t.

They are entering a mass higher education system designed for an educated citizenship not an elite system for a small number of professionals, managers and intellectuals. Their schooling is different. They have computers.

Gen-Y doesn’t have a mystical relationship with the virtual world but it is probably true that the difference between physical and virtual reality, between face-to-face and mediated communication, is less marked for a 20 year old student than it is for a 50 year old professor.

One symptom of this blurring is different attitudes to the idea of originality. It’s clear that many of our students genuinely don’t know when they are plagiarising because they don’t recognise originality as necessarily privileged.

OK, I know this looks like post-modern ideology but nothing could be further from the truth: what I am saying is based on my experience as a teacher.

Don’t be afraid of changing the culture

Can universities address all this? Can they guarantee standards without grade inflation? Can they encourage good study habits without using examinations as a policeman?

They can and do. Many parts of many universities already assess imaginatively and creatively and the world has not come to a standstill.

Much of our academic culture is driven by an anxiety-based conservatism. Students are not like academics: they work and achieve in different ways. We should celebrate this difference not fear it or try to compensate for it.

Students coming to university give us a great gift of trust: we should repay that trust by trusting and giving the opportunity to develop the knowledge, the skills and the opportunity to excel. Scrapping examinations is just one step towards that.

Should universities abolish exams? Leave your comments below.

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Five Reasons to Stop Giving Exams in Class

  • February 18, 2022
  • Donald A. Saucier, PhD, Noah D. Renken, and Ashley A. Schiffer

It is a common, but not universal practice to administer exams to students in class (e.g., Rovai, 2000). Traditionally, students come to class and take exams silently and independently without any resources. They have a time-limit that is usually the length of the class. The exams may be multiple-choice, matching, short answer, essay, etc., but even if there are multiple versions of the exam, all students basically do the same thing in the same way. We believe there are several compelling reasons why we may want to stop giving exams in class. We acknowledge that many instructors have valid reasons for giving exams in class (e.g., alternative assessment plans require time and effort, concerns about academic dishonesty; Cramp et al., 2019; Still & Still, 2015), and we urge instructors to use the practices that best fit their teaching philosophies and needs of their specific classes. However, we wish to address the limitations of doing so and offer five reasons to consider to stop giving exams in class. We believe these recommendations may increase the engagement of instructors and students, which may enhance the success of our teaching and learning (Saucier, 2019a; Saucier, Miller, Martens, & Jones, in press).

1. Exams in class are unduly stressful.

Exams given in class are stressful for students (e.g., Zeidner, 2010) and instructors (Madara & Namango, 2016). The instructor and/or teaching assistant proctor the exam, which includes patrolling the classroom in search of signs of students cheating. There is a time limit. Students may not be able to sit in their regular seats if more students take the exam than regularly attend class (which is particularly troubling given potential effects of environmental contexts on students’ exam scores; Van Der Wege & Barry, 2008). The exams are often high stakes, making students anxious about the outcome. And, while some may argue that giving exams in class prepares students for the stress of real life (e.g., Durning et al., 2016), it does not seem like the in-class exam experience readily generalizes other contexts. In real life, we often get to look up information from outside resources and double check it before we use it. While we support challenging our students, we believe this type of stress may not be directly helpful.

2. Exams in class are not equitable.

While exams in class are generally stressful, they do not impact all students in the same way. Individuals may experience differing levels of test anxiety (Zeidner, 2010), which may be affected by their experiences of stereotype threat (e.g., Danaher & Crandall, 2008), the imposter phenomenon (e.g., Kumar & Jagacinski, 2006), and/or their general struggles with anxiety (e.g., Zunhammer et al., 2013). The added pressure of the testing situation and the potential high stakes of the exam may cause some students to systematically underperform. Further, some students may have circumstances that require testing accommodations (e.g., extended test time, distraction-free environments). It may be stigmatizing for those students to be unable to take the exam with their classmates and they may feel their absences are conspicuous (e.g., Timmerman & Mulvihill, 2015). Simply put, the ways that we traditionally administer in-class exams may not be fair for everyone.

3. Exams in class are logistically difficult to administer.

The process of administering exams in class may be unnecessarily convoluted. The physical act of passing out exams, particularly if there is more than one form of the exam, is difficult and time-consuming. If the class is large, some students may get their exams several minutes earlier than other students and thus have the advantage of having more time to take their exams. Students who come late may disturb their classmates and may not finish on time. Similarly, students who finish early may distract those who are still working. Proctoring the exam to monitor signs of academic dishonesty and to maintain exam security is a difficult and imperfect process. The subjective experience for instructors and teaching assistants who proctor the exams is aversive. Personally, we are possibly more anxious than our students when we administer exams in class, as we watch them silently and intently, and both worry about cheating and that our students will not do well.

4. Exams in class are not empathetic.

We believe that in class exams are not empathetic, student-focused, or inclusive. We have discussed areas of inequity above, but we also believe in-class exams traditionally do not provide the support or understanding of our students’ potential personal and academic challenges that allow them to successfully demonstrate their learning. Additionally, in-class exams often fail to provide students with opportunities for personalization or creativity. We believe that in-class exams often do not achieve the goals set forth by inclusive teaching philosophies (Lawrie et al., 2017) and empathetic course design perspectives (Engage the Sage, 2021).

5. Exams in class are not fun.

We acknowledge some students do enjoy taking exams (admittedly, one of us loved to take exams as a student), but many do not. When our students tell us about the most meaningful things they did in our classes, they do not talk about exams (nor do we when looking back at our experiences as students). Instead, our students tell us about activities, projects, missions, creative products, and research studies. These are the fun and more meaningful ways that students demonstrate and apply their learning. We fear traditional in-class exams may take the meaning out of the wonderful things we teach and learn and our classes.

What should we do?

We have provided five reasons why we should consider not giving exams in class. For some instructors, exams may still be necessary.  If so, consider redesigning the exam experience to at least partially resolve some of these issues. For instance, you could permit your students to take them when and where they want during a predetermined time span (e.g., online via your institution’s learning management system). Moreover, allowing your students to use resources like their textbooks and class notes may ease test anxiety (e.g., Parsons, 2008) while helping them provide deeper answers to the questions (e.g., Green et al., 2016). This may also alleviate issues of academic honesty—it is not cheating to use these materials if you allow them to. Another option would be to have your students write and take their own exams (i.e., “Exams By You”; Saucier, Schiffer, & Jones, under review). At the very least, consider lowering the stakes of your exams so that one assessment does not have an exaggerated impact on your students’ overall semester grade.

But maybe we don’t need to use exams at all. We would rather infuse empathy into our classes (Engage the Sage, 2021) and bring PEACE (Preparation, Expertise, Authenticity, Caring, Engagement; Saucier, 2019b; Saucier & Jones, 2020) to our students, and perhaps we can offer professional development to our colleagues to help them do so (Saucier, Jones, Renken, & Schiffer, in press). Maybe we can focus our assessments on allowing our students to demonstrate their learning in ways that are applicable to (and fulfilling for) them. We can provide our students with the opportunity to apply the information in more sophisticated ways than mere memorization. We can empower them to demonstrate their learning through projects, papers, videos they create, podcasts they record, and other creative products. We can provide them with guidelines and rubrics to support them. From our own experience, we have been more excited to get the products of these projects than to grade monotonous exams. Everything we assign comes back to us. Let us allow our students to demonstrate their learning in ways that are less anxiety-provoking, more equitable and inclusive, less difficult to administer, more empathetic, and more fun. Using these ideas, we can make assessment more meaningful and more enjoyable for our students and for us.

Donald A. Saucier, PhD (2001, University of Vermont) is a University Distinguished Teaching Scholar and professor of psychological sciences at Kansas State University. Saucier has published more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and is a fellow of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, and the Midwestern Psychological Association. His awards and honors include the University Distinguished Faculty Award for Mentoring of Undergraduate Students in Research, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues Teaching Resource Prize. Saucier is also the faculty associate director of the Teaching and Learning Center at Kansas State University and offers a YouTube channel called “Engage the Sage” that describes his teaching philosophy, practices, and experiences.

Ashley A. Schiffer is also a doctoral student in the department of psychological sciences at Kansas State University. Her research often pertains to morality in relation to masculine honor ideology and/or military settings. She also works at Kansas State’s Teaching and Learning Center with Saucier and Renken to promote teaching excellence and contribute to the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Noah D. Renken is a doctoral student in the department of psychological sciences at Kansas State University. His research interests center on individual difference factors related to expressions of prejudice. Renken’s recent work has examined masculine honor ideology and the manifestation of attitudes towards stigmatized events (e.g., sexual violence, trauma). Noah also works in the Teaching and Learning Center at Kansas State University, where he collaborates with Saucier on the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) projects.

Cramp, J., Medlin, J. F., Lake, P., & Sharp, C. (2019). Lessons learned from implementing              remotely invigilated online exams. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice ,      16(1), 10.

Danaher, K., & Crandall, C. S. (2008). Stereotype threat in applied settings re-examined. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 38 (6), 1639-1655. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2008.00362.x

Durning, S. J., Dong, T., Ratcliffe, T., Schuwirth, L., Artino, A. R., Boulet, J. R., & Eva, K. (2016). Comparing open-book and closed-book examinations: a systematic review. Academic Medicine , 91(4), 583-599.

Engage the Sage. (2021). Engage the sage: The empathetic course design perspective [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/-79FHyNd128

Green, S. G., Ferrante, C. J., & Heppard, K. A. (2016). Using open-book exams to enhance student learning, performance, and motivation. Journal of Effective Teaching , 16(1), 19-35.

Kumar, S., & Jagacinski, C. M. (2006). Imposters have goals too: The imposter phenomenon and its relationship to achievement goal theory. Personality and Individual differences, 40 (1), 147-157. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2005.05.014

Lawrie, G., Marquis, E., Fuller, E., Newman, T., Qiu, M., Nomikoudis, M., … & Van Dam, L. (2017). Moving towards inclusive learning and teaching: A synthesis of recent literature. Teaching & learning inquiry , 5(1), 9-21.

Madara, D. S., & Namango, S. S. (2016). Faculty Perceptions on Cheating in Exams in Undergraduate Engineering. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(30), 70-86.

Parsons, D. (2008). Is there an alternative to exams? Examination stress in engineering courses. International Journal of Engineering Education, 24 (6), 1111-1118.

Rovai, A. P. (2000). Online and traditional assessments: what is the difference?. The Internet and higher education, 3 (3), 141-151.

Saucier, D. A. (2019a). “Having the time of my life”: The trickle-down model of self and student engagement. ACUECommunity. https://community.acue.org/blog/having-the-time-of-my-life-the-trickle-down-model-of-self-and-student-engagement/

Saucier, D. A. (2019b). Bringing PEACE to the classroom. Faculty Focus: Effective Teaching Strategies, Philosophy of Teaching. https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/bringing-peace-to-the-classroom/

Saucier, D. A., & Jones, T. L. (2020). Leading our classes through times of crisis with engagement and PEACE. Faculty Focus: Online Education, Philosophy of Teaching. https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/philosophy-of-teaching/leading-our-classes-through-times-of-crisis-with-engagement-and-peace/

Saucier, D. A., Jones, T. L., Renken, N. D., & Schiffer, A. A. (in press). Professional development of faculty and graduate students in teaching. Journal on Centers for Teaching and Learning.

Saucier, D. A., Miller, S. S., Martens, A. L., & Jones, T. L. (in press). Trickle down engagement: Effects of perceived teacher and student engagement on learning outcomes. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

Saucier, D. A., Schiffer, A. A., & Jones, T. L. (under review). “Exams By You”: Having students write and complete their own exams during the COVID-19 pandemic. Teaching of Psychology.

Still, M. L., & Still, J. D. (2015). Contrasting traditional in-class exams with frequent online testing. Journal of Teaching and Learning with Technology , 4(2), 30.

Timmerman, L. C., & Mulvihill, T. M. (2015). Accommodations in the college setting: The perspectives of students living with disabilities. Qualitative Report, 20 (10).

Van Der Wege, M., & Barry, L. A. (2008). Potential perils of changing environmental context on examination scores. College Teaching, 56 (3), 173-176.

Zeidner, M. (2010). Test anxiety. The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology .   https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0984

Zunhammer, M., Eberle, H., Eichhammer, P., & Busch, V. (2013). Somatic symptoms evoked by exam stress in university students: the role of alexithymia, neuroticism, anxiety and depression. PloS one, 8 (12), e84911. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0084911

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Why GCSEs should be abolished

Internal assessment by teachers worked perfectly well last year – so let’s keep that system and call it a School Certificate.

By Philip Collins

speech on should exams be banned

The role of education secretary has been a position in which Conservatives have often minted a reputation. Margaret Thatcher closed more grammar schools than any Labour counterpart. Keith Joseph picked up a policy left by Shirley Williams and created the GCSE. Kenneth Baker established the national curriculum. Michael Gove vastly expanded the academy schools programme. Recently, Gavin Williamson said schools and colleges might possibly, when he makes up his mind, get to give their pupils a bit of advance information on the subjects that will come up in their GCSEs.

The weeks in which Williamson does something either embarrassing or underwhelming are only bettered by the weeks in which he does nothing at all. There has been no sense, during his undistinguished tenure, of an education policy frustratingly thwarted by the pandemic. Instead, we have been forced to watch an Education Secretary selected on the irrelevant criterion of Brexit loyalty thrashing from one crisis to the next and occupying his office like a less convincing David Brent. Williamson has now announced that, to meet the disruption that Covid has visited on many, schools and colleges will help to determine the topics addressed in the examination session of summer 2022, especially in GCSE English literature, history and ancient history.

There is an actual policy staring Williamson in the face here, if he could only look. Last year the cohort of 4.5 million pupils were given GCSE grades based not on external examinations but on internal assessment. Who knows where we will be next summer after the inevitable surge in infections that comes about as a result of the government’s fatuous “freedom day” on 19 July?

The likelihood is that GCSEs next summer will be a hybrid of continuous assessment and public examination. Yet there is no need for all this confusion. Williamson could do something that would be popular with teachers and pupils alike and which would, into the bargain, be the smart course of action. He could use this crisis to abolish the GCSE for good.

The tradition of public examination for all pupils at the age of 16 derives from 1951, when the O-level replaced the old School Certificate. That began a dance which has continued ever since, between the high standard of a qualification for an academic elite and an examination sufficiently wide to encompass the whole cohort. In 1965, Tony Crosland, as the education secretary in ­Harold Wilson’s government, split the exam and introduced the Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) for those not thought quite O-level standard.

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Inevitably, this felt like a separation of the sheep from the goats and when Williams became education secretary under Jim Callaghan in September 1976, she wanted to reverse the policy. It wasn’t, though, until Keith Joseph took up the office in the first Thatcher administration that the shift back happened. In 1988 all pupils were once again placed under the rubric of a single examination at 16, the new General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE).

Since then the GCSE has gradually lost most of the friends it had. According to taste you can pick your critique from among the following menu. Not enough pupils study foreign languages; there are too many soft qualifications as schools pursue places high up the league tables; too many candidates achieve the top grades; there are too many exams which last too long and exert too great a mental stress on the pupils who are sitting them; and the distinction between the GCSE and the IGCSE is a way of separating the sheep from the goats once again.

The criticisms are all true all at once. The GCSE really does only have one function, which is to act as a signalling device to help with the selection of those pupils who go on to do A-levels. We take two years out of the curriculum and force a vast amount of cramming and revision, just for this. Britain is one of the only countries in the developing world that insists on a public examination at the age of 16 and perhaps, when that was the school leaving age, it made some sense. Now that all students will remain in education or training until the age of 18 even that thin justification has disappeared. GCSE exams didn’t happen last year and the sky didn’t fall down. Internal assessment by teachers worked perfectly well – so let’s keep that system and call it a School Certificate.

Then we can stop the pointless charade of pretending that a single examination will ever stretch across a generation of pupils with such different interests and abilities. This is about more than aptitude; it is about propensity. It is destructive to some pupils to interrupt their education to brand them a failure at the age of 16. The abolition of the GCSE needs to be the first item of a new curriculum which gives students a core curriculum of maths, English and a science subject, and greater latitude to pursue their own aptitudes beyond the age of 14.

A quarter of all children, mostly from working-class families, do not register a single grade A or B at GCSE. It is all very well insisting they continue their studies up to the age of 18, but they are getting little from it, not even the maths and English they really need.

The last great Conservative revolution in education was Baker’s Great Education Reform Bill, known in the trade as Gerbil. It introduced the national curriculum, the key stages of education, devolved budgets, specialist schools and the testing regime. Williamson is famous only for having a tarantula on his desk. The abolition of the GCSE and introducing a curriculum that meets the array of talents in the country could be his Gerbil, if there is ever any suggestion that he is even remotely interested. 

[see also:  Will chaos in English schools really end with the Covid-19 bubble system? ]

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This article appears in the 14 Jul 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Apple vs Facebook

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Education Secretary: Standardized Tests Should No Longer Be a ‘Hammer’

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Standardized tests should be used as “a flashlight” on what works in education not as “a hammer” to force outcomes, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said during a speech last week.

The statement reflects a shift in thinking since annual testing became federal law more than 20 years ago, and it echoes past comments from Cardona, who warned states against using 2022 NAEP scores punitively when they showed steep drops in reading and math in September.

But federal policies stemming from the two-decade-old No Child Left Behind Act and its successor, the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act, make it difficult for states to use standardized tests in any other way, policy experts say. And despite changing attitudes, there’s little indication that the nation’s schools will move away from the current form of test-based accountability anytime soon.

“It doesn’t matter what the sentiment is,” said Jack Schneider, an education professor and policy analyst at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell who is also an advocate for including alternative measures like school climate, teacher ability, and school resources in accountability policies. “The law is structured so that it really isn’t much of a flashlight.”

Cardona did not announce any new testing-related policies or plans for the Education Department in his Jan. 24 speech to educators , so it’s unclear if the agency plans to address concerns about test-based accountability through grants, waivers, or rulemaking. The department hasn’t announced any plans to revise standardized testing policy.

Still, his words reflect ever-changing opinions about standardized tests and what role they should play in evaluating school performance.

“He’s trying to bridge two eras,” Schneider said. “Right now, we are still very much in the era of test-based accountability because that’s the law. He also recognizes that’s not going to persuade very many people for much longer as a mechanism for school improvement.”

The lasting impact of No Child Left Behind

The debate over school accountability and standardized testing has been going on for over half a century, said Daniel Koretz, an education professor at Harvard University who has dedicated his research to high-stakes testing.

The original designers of standardized tests envisioned the tests as a way to measure individual students’ performance, not as an aggregate measure of schools’ performance, Koretz said.

They “were adamant that these tests cannot provide a complete measure of what we care about, what our goals of education are,” he said. “They’re necessarily incomplete.”

Despite that original intention, states and the federal government found standardized tests to be an efficient way to determine whether schools were performing to standards. And test proponents have said they’re necessary for ensuring English learners, students with disabilities, students of color, and low-income students don’t fall behind.

The government’s role in using tests to evaluate schools—rather than individual students—was solidified when former President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002.

President George W. Bush, left, participates in the swearing-in ceremony for the Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, center, at the U.S. Dept. of Education on Jan. 31, 2005 in Washington. On the far right holding a bible is her husband Robert Spellings.

The law, which had bipartisan backing and functioned as an update to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, required states to test students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school with a goal of bringing them all to a state-determined level of proficiency by the 2013-14 school year.

It also established sanctions for schools that failed to stay on track and make “adequate yearly progress” with test scores. The law gave states—among other measures—the power to shut down schools that missed achievement targets several years in a row. Waivers to the law during the Obama administration loosened some of these rules but also required states to set up systems to evaluate teachers in part based on student test performance.

“That enormously ramped up the pressure, particularly in low-achieving schools,” Koretz said. “At that point, teachers really had no choice. They really could either fail, cut corners, or cheat.”

The law was later reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015 , which loosened the federal government’s role in K-12 schools, removed requirements that states evaluate teacher performance based on student outcomes, and gave states power to decide what should happen to schools that miss performance targets.

But the law maintained the standardized testing requirements established in NCLB.

“The heart of NCLB, which is test-based accountability, remains in place,” Schneider said.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks with the press after the education department's “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” event in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 24, 2023.

Advocating for a balanced approach

Some who oppose test-based accountability aren’t against standardized tests themselves. Large-scale standardized tests are useful in measuring how students in a certain state or across the country are performing compared to their peers.

But they are also limited. Critics say they offer only a snapshot of a student’s understanding of core subjects, making it difficult to determine whether a student performed poorly because they weren’t taught the material or because of outside factors like their mood, health, or home life.

Instead, testing experts say they’d like to see a more balanced approach to standardized tests. That means having more coherence among the large number of state and national assessments so they build off each other and can better help inform instruction and curriculum, said Scott Marion, the executive director of the Center for Assessment, a nonprofit focused on improving assessment and accountability practices.

It also means measuring students’ progress over time and the skills they’ve acquired, not just changes in their scores from one test to another. Tests also need to provide feedback to teachers more quickly to be useful, Marion said.

“I don’t care that [a student] went up six points—that might be good,” Marion said. “But did she learn how to better organize her paragraphs, vary her sentence structure, things like that?”

States can help ease the burden of accountability on schools by using the more balanced approach, and some states have, Marion said. But unless there are changes to federal law there will always be pressure for schools to produce high test scores.

The political outlook

Cardona’s message indicates a shifting perspective on the role standardized tests play in society, but not much has been done to actually change the federal law that lays out standardized tests’ role.

The Education Department could establish waivers, giving states more flexibility to create pilot projects to improve testing systems. And Congress could rewrite the law to put less of a focus on accountability.

But ultimately improvement would require more respect for education, Koretz said.

“Education has a very low status in this country,” he said. “A lot of policymakers don’t respect teachers or any other educators. They don’t trust them. So, who are you going to trust to go in and evaluate schools if you don’t trust educators?”

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speech on should exams be banned

Should traditional end-of-school exams be abolished?

exams

Victoria and New South Wales are in a scramble to plan for end-of-school exams. Vaccination targets may not be hit in time (for students or teachers), and there are other issues too — such as kids having missed weeks of face-to-face schooling.

NSW has postponed its HSC (Higher School Certificate) exams until November. And while Victoria postponed its General Achievement Test, it has made no changes to its HSC equivalent, the VCE.

Some critics believe postponing exams isn’t enough, and are calling on states to eliminate end-of-school exams altogether.

Both states have special consideration policies put in place for scores impacted by COVID-19, but is this enough? And does this unique circumstance give us an opportunity to change the way end-of-school assessments are done?

Two schools of thought

Opinions around this year’s exams fall into two main schools of thought.

The first is that year 12 students deserve to finish what they started. We have spent 12 years convincing them of the importance of this milestone. Many students are anxious, if exams are cancelled, their pathway to university and beyond will be jeopardised by using only their prior track records. Some students are advocating keeping exams for all these reasons.

The alternate school of thought is that we’ve known for years end-of-school exams can cause debilitating stress for many young people. The extraordinary pressure of the process has tipped over the breaking point this year with so much time missed in schools.

So we should take the pressure off our kids and work with vocational education and training providers, and universities, to accommodate them.

There have always been alternative pathways to university and they have been expanding in recent years. We can use those already existing pathways which include subject-specific recruitment schemes, principal recommendations and portfolio entry.

There is already enough data in a student’s record to make an informed decision and allow admissions officers to move forward without this year’s exams. Perhaps we can even look toward eliminating them in the future with more lead time to do the calculations.

Year 12 student leaders across Sydney want the class of 2021 to be given the choice of sitting their final exams or receiving an estimate https://t.co/aJxMKntRH5 — The Sydney Morning Herald (@smh) September 7, 2021

What is the rest of the world doing?

End-of-school exams were cancelled this year due to pandemic restrictions in the United States, France, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany. Exams were modified in Denmark, Israel and Austria, while Italy held oral only exams.

The UK cancelled its A-level exams for the last two years and, in Finland, students were allowed to sit their university entrance exams multiple times.

Most Asian countries have postponed their exams. Many pundits in Western countries are advocating for a major change to the high-stakes assessment process, noting universities adjusted their entry criteria in the first year of the pandemic and coped just fine.

What are Australia’s options?

Australian educational leaders and policy makers have three distinct options:

1. Keep the system we have and continue to improve it

The first option – supported by most education ministers and regulators in states and territories – is that our exams and curriculum are built on a high degree of excellence and rigour. They have been honed by years of experience and completed by millions of students.

Continuing to improve the assessments and the curriculum that feeds them will ensure high standards and credibility for excellence rather than promoting a “lowering of the bar”. Over time, we can evolve new courses and assessments, incorporating more technology-based assessments as they are tested and validated for the high-volume administrations of state exams.

2. Add a learner profile to the current system

A second option – that of “learning profiles” – is based on the idea we need to expand the skills we value in young people, beyond those in traditional academic subjects. Skills of the future include critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration.

Digital platforms are being developed to house evidence of student engagement in the community and to store non-traditional forms of learning (including video and other media) in online tools, creating a learner profile to represent these authentic learning experiences. NSW says it will be trialling this next year, creating an “education passport” for students.

3. Transform the system with new designs for schooling and assessment

The Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta is transforming the use of student progress data over the school years. Think of the dashboard of a car that has multiple dials and indicators and imagine using that same approach to aggregate data about students and their learning journeys.

These tools can reliably forecast student performance, allowing us to adjust our interventions to promote student success. With the use of predictive analytics, rather than waiting for end-of-school exam results, we can help students boost their future trajectories through immediate support and interventions.

The Paramatta Education Diocese is in the early days of re-designing its schools to promote personal pathways and allow students to align their passions to their emerging skillsets.

Stemming from a concept of “leaving to learn” Big Picture Learning Australia — a not-for-profit company transforming traditional education – features internships centred around the passions of students as the core of the secondary experience. Teachers run advisories that allow for transdisciplinary learning in lieu of traditional classes, all mapped to the syllabuses of the key curriculum learning areas.

Around 40+ schools across the country are in partnership with this model. Students develop portfolios of their learning to document their journeys, organising their projects and assignments to critical learning outcomes which are assessed in a cloud-based learner credential. Nearly 20 Australian universities already accept these portfolios and the credentual for admission in lieu of end-of-school exams.

John Fischetti, Professor, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Human and Social Futures, University of Newcastle

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article .

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Call to ban all school exams for under-16s

All national exams should be abolished for children under 16 because the stress caused by over-testing is poisoning attitudes towards education, according to an influential teaching body.

In a remarkable attack on the government's policy of rolling national testing of children from the age of seven, the General Teaching Council is calling for a 'fundamental and urgent review of the testing regime'. In a report it says exams are failing to improve standards, leaving pupils demotivated and stressed and encouraging bored teenagers to drop out of school.

The attack comes in a study submitted to the House of Commons education select committee and passed to The Observer. The council says that schoolchildren in England are now the most tested in the world, facing an average of 70 tests and exams before the age of 16. Standard Assessment Tests, or Sats, currently taken by children at the ages of seven, 11 and 14, should be abolished, it concludes.

It says: 'The GTC continues to be convinced that the existing assessment regime needs to be changed.'

The submission, which has emerged as more than a million teenagers sit their GCSEs and A-levels, says teachers are being forced to 'drill' pupils to pass tests instead of giving a broad education.

Some are under such pressure from trying to keep schools at the top of league tables that they have gone further and fiddled results or helped children to cheat, according to Keith Bartley, chief executive of the council, the independent regulatory body set up by the government in 2000.

Yesterday, it emerged that Vanessa Rann, a 26-year-old teacher found hanged in her home, was being investigated for allegedly helping students to cheat in a GCSE exam.

'The pressure is on and it is growing,' Bartley, whose role includes advising ministers on education policy, said in an interview with The Observer. 'What we are saying to the government is that we do not think their policies are best serving the young people in this country or their achievement.

'The range of knowledge and skills that tests assess is very narrow and to prepare young people for the world they need a set of skills that are far broader.' Exams as they stood, he said, were 'missing the point'.

Bartley argued there was no need to have one day each year when the 'nation's 11 year olds were in a state of panic'. Instead, he called for a 'sampling' system under which less than 1 per cent of primary schoolchildren and less than 3 per cent of secondary students would take national tests. The move would in effect mean the end of school league tables, which are based on national test results. 'You do not have to test every child every four years to know whether children are making more or less progress than they used to,' he said.

To tell parents how individual children were doing, teachers would also be able to access a 'bank of tests' that they could use whenever they chose to make their own assessment on performance. The new system would bring England in line with Wales.

It is a shift that teachers, educationalists and parents are increasingly arguing for. Earlier this year Ken Boston, chief executive of the Curriculum and Qualifications Authority, called for the system to be overhauled because it was distorting what was being taught.

Psychologists have reported going into schools at unprecedented rates to tackle exam stress, with children as young as six suffering from anxiety.

Yet the government has so far refused to move. 'We are firmly committed to national testing and performance tables,' a spokeswoman for the Department for Education and Skills said.

'These accountability measures are essential to maintaining and extending the improvement in standards we have already achieved,' she said. 'Parents need and greatly value the information they get from tables. Transparency and accountability are not negotiable.'

Randomly selecting a sample of pupils as Bartley suggested would not 'be practical or effective', she said. The department last week announced the start of a pilot scheme that will see pupils take shorter tests more frequently when they are ready for them. The idea is to measure progress better and personalise education. But critics say it will simply increase the burden on children.

But the government has supporters. On a poll running on the Parent Organisation website, 59.4 per cent of parents say their children do not react badly to exam pressure.

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University of Cincinnati Law Review Blog

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Student and Practitioner Legal Scholarship Online

You Don’t Say: American First Amendment Protection of Hate Speech

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Logan Kline, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

Part One of a Two-part series comparing the American and Canadian systems of regulating hate speech.

I. Introduction

Despite being heralded as a pillar of the American conception of freedom, the First Amendment is an outlier when compared to the jurisprudence of the majority of other nations around the world. [1] Just to the north, the Canadian legal system takes a far more interventionist approach to the regulation of speech, with laws that prohibit various forms of expression such as hate speech. [2] Even the United States does not recognize an absolute right to unfettered speech, but the American threshold for acceptable speech is much more lenient than most others, including our neighbors to the north. [3]

The regulation of speech, specifically hate speech, is a hotly contested and often-debated subject. In light of the ambient public discourse, clarification of the scope of this article is crucial. First and foremost, hate speech and its progeny are abhorrent and an affront to civility. This is not in any capacity a defense of hate; it is a study of two contrasting approaches to fighting it, paired with an analysis of the effectiveness of each. By the end of this two-part article series, the goal is for each side to have been examined thoroughly enough to provide insight into the thought process behind both the American and the Canadian approach to the regulation of hate speech. Ultimately, the argument is not for the Canadian or American model, but instead it is against the common modern sentiment that positions one as a straw man to be effortlessly disposed of. Both sides have valid perspectives, so the goal of this series is to steel man each argument against the other, and argue that each is valid within its own legal system and premise of speech.

II. What Is Hate Speech?

Before diving into an analysis of the regulation of hate speech across Northern America, it is important to define the term. However, hate speech is not defined under U.S. law as it is not an outlawed class of language. Thus, it is not formally differentiated from any other protected speech in the United States. The United Nations in their “Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech” memorandum defined hate speech as “any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity factor.” [4]

III. The United States’ Approach

In the United States, freedom of speech is one of the core tenets set forth by the nation’s founders. [5] The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech…” [6] However, the freedom of speech is not unlimited. [7] American law has held since the early 1900s that speech that actively incites violence or otherwise creates danger is not covered by the protection of the First Amendment. [8]

For example, in Schenck v. U.S. , Justice Holmes asserted that Congress has an interest in preventing words “of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils.” [9]   Justice Holmes further substantiated this concept by providing a now famous example: even under the most stringent of speech protections, a person cannot falsely yell “fire” in a crowded theater. [10] The Schenck decision provided this general test to be applied to restrictions on speech, known as the “clear and present danger” test. [11] The United States Supreme Court has since refined and adjusted this test through numerous cases, but the general concept that speech inciting violence and danger is unprotected remains in American jurisprudence today. [12]

Further, the United States Supreme Court has held that openly offensive speech and hate speech do not inherently cross into inciting violence or danger, and thus are protected under the United States Constitution. [13] In Cohen v. California , Justice Harlan wrote that offensive speech must be protected because “one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.” [14] On the topic of hate speech specifically, the Supreme Court has decided a variety of cases outlining exactly what is, and what is not, protected. [15]

One preeminent example of the Supreme Court’s position on hate speech manifests in R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, Minnesota . [16] In R.A.V. , the defendants burned a cross on the property of an African American resident, and the city prosecuted under a city ordinance outlawing hate crimes. [17] Justice Scalia delivered the opinion for the Court, striking down the city’s ordinance and ruling it unconstitutional on its face because “it prohibits otherwise permitted speech solely on the basis of the subjects the speech addresses.” [18] The Court went on to hold that the government cannot punish speech and expressive conduct only because it disapproves of the ideas expressed. [19] Justice Scalia noted the potential negative effect such a statute could have on public discourse in writing that: “[The City of] St. Paul has no such authority to license one side of a debate to fight freestyle, while requiring the other to follow Marquis of Queensberry rules.” [20] This holding had far-reaching implications, striking down not only this hate speech prohibition, but also hate speech legislation across the nation. [21]

After the R.A.V. decision, the nation was left wondering whether a state can outlaw cross burning specifically. In answer to this, Justice O’Connor delivered the opinion in Virginia v. Black , holding that cross burning could be banned if it was carried out with the “intent to intimidate.” [22] However, Justice Thomas in his dissent aptly noted that burning a cross is always an act meant to intimidate. [23] In Virginia v. Black , the Court considered the intimidation and threat of violence that comes with the burning of a cross. [24] However, some scholars retort that all hate speech comes with some threat of aggression or violence by the nature of the linguistic charge of the words used. [25]

In total, the American approach generally protects hate speech, so long as the speech does not fail one of the other tests set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court, such as the clear and present danger test in Schenck v. U.S. While hate speech may be limited if it presents danger or otherwise incites violence, the general premise is that pure hate speech is protected expression under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

IV. Strengths and Weaknesses of the United States’ Approach

The American approach relies on the concept of the Marketplace of Ideas, which derives from Justice Holmes’ language in the dissent of Abrams v. United States. [26] The Marketplace of Ideas theory holds that the best ideas will win out through competition if they are just allowed to enter the public discourse and relies on the premise that, given an open forum for discourse, the strongest and best ideas will prevail. [27] Reason appears to be the currency of this intellectual marketplace. In other words, ideas supported by more sound reason are the strongest that survive the marketplace.

Contemporary philosopher and cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Sam Harris conveyed the importance of open discourse and the role reason plays as follows:

I think the need is to be able to talk about the most important questions in human life without losing our connection to one another…We need to able to hear people out, we need to be able to reason about everything, because reasoning is the only thing that scales. It’s the only way of talking about a problem which stands the chance of being universalizable. [28]

In the context of the Marketplace of Ideas model, the result is well-reasoned arguments rising to the peak of the “market” through virtue of being the most logically sound.

Proponents of the American approach to hate speech would therefore argue that the government should not decide what does and does not qualify as acceptable discourse. [29] Instead, the morally-bankrupt ideas that truly are hate speech will be filtered out and exposed as weak in light of reason. [30] In this way, the dangerous and hateful ideas are dismantled out in the open for the world to see their unreasonable nature. [31] Others who may have similar thoughts then see their internal biases dismantled in a public way and can come to the conclusion that they are wrong. Otherwise, hateful people may resort to whispering amongst themselves in the shadows of society and spreading insidious ideologies like an undiagnosed disease. [32] If these ideas are allowed to spread beneath the surface in private forums, they can fester and grow to the point where they can no longer be easily cured by reason. [33] By the time the public realizes the societal disease is present, it has already cemented itself as a hate group.

The American approach also does not rely on the government to proscribe what is and is not hate speech. The danger of allowing the government to censor what it classifies as hate speech is that the term is relatively amorphous. [34] Lee Rowland, Senior Staff Attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, noted the danger of allowing the government to take on the role of censor as follows:

Your idea of “hate speech” may not be the government’s idea of “hate speech.” I know mine isn’t. But even if you agree with [the current president] — are you sure our next president will agree with your worldview? You shouldn’t be. That’s why I’m a true believer in the First Amendment. I am an anti-authoritarian. And I know that the government has historically wielded its raw power to silence those who speak truth to power. [35]

Therefore, rather than have government draw lines to govern the actions of individuals in their everyday conversations, the local community and members of the conversation themselves should act as their own censor. For example, if someone says something hateful, the first step should be to be for those involved to diffuse the situation on an interpersonal level. [36]

A conservative perspective on the American approach would argue that it is not the role of the federal government to step into the everyday lives of its citizens and limit what they can and cannot say. Instead, communities need to foster a sense of accountability in rejecting bias and hate wherever it manifests. There is little doubt that hate speech exists and should be stopped, but the issue at hand is who will define it, who will draw the lines of acceptability, and who will enforce it. Proponents of the American model reject the idea that legislators in Washington D.C. or anywhere should be able to place a linguistic fetter on what the entire nation can and cannot say. [37] Instead, personal accountability and other mechanisms of discourse, including the Marketplace of Ideas, should govern social acceptability. Finally, if the standard of whether something qualifies as hate speech or not is whether it offends, then many of the most forward-thinking, revolutionary ideas would be quelled. [38] Open discourse is necessary to drive societal collective knowledge forward, and before this can happen, hateful ideas need to be actively defeated in an open forum so that any who may silently hold discriminatory or insidious beliefs can learn and grow beyond them. [39]

Critics of the Marketplace of Ideas note that allowing hate speech to enter the public discourse results in significant harm done before logic can intervene. [40] This hateful language can be so demeaning that it does not engage with the public conversation on the level of reason, but instead subverts it by intimidating targets and silencing discussion. The result is not the defeat of hate speech through reason, but the stymying of rational conversation through intimidation and bigotry. To extrapolate the metaphor of a marketplace, some may argue that those who bring hate speech to the marketplace are bringing a weapon into the negotiation.

As for the argument that protecting hate speech allows it to come to the surface and be eliminated by better arguments, some critics assert that in the modern age of social media, public hate speech can actually attract others harboring internal resentment and embolden them to be more open in their bigotry. [41] Rather than serving as water to douse the flame, the public nature of the discussion stokes it into an inferno. [42] Writing for NPR, David Shih noted that the Marketplace of Ideas relies on several flawed assumptions. [43] According to Shih, one such falsehood, which he referred to as the “empathetic fallacy,” is that people actually care as a society to fight injustice and recognize hateful language when it manifests. [44] Further, Shih argued that racists and other peddlers of hate adapt and use code words as “dog whistles” to signal racist messaging and “game the system.” [45]

One fundamental disagreement in premise that could explain the competing perspectives on the Marketplace of Ideas model is whether speech itself, without incitement or threat of physical aggression, can constitute violence. If it cannot, then it logically follows that hate speech, no matter how abhorrent, should be weathered in order to keep the public discourse as unfettered as possible. However, if speech itself can be violence, then the logical conclusion would be to prevent the violence by stymying the hate speech. Further, if speech itself is violence and places targets in danger, the Supreme Court may need to reevaluate its test to encompass this form of harm.

In an article for The Washington Post entitled Why America Needs a Hate Speech Law , Richard Stengel wrote on the various criticisms of the American system and Marketplace of Ideas model. [46] Stengel argued that the Marketplace of Ideas is deeply flawed in that “no one ever quite explained how good ideas drive out bad ones, how truth triumphs over falsehood.” [47] He went on to write that this process would need to be “magical” in order to actually work properly. [48] Stengel argued that even if hate speech itself does not “pull the trigger,” it creates an environment that makes violent acts such as domestic terrorism more likely. [49] Further, he argued that hate speech enables discrimination and diminishes tolerance. [50]

The difference in Dr. Sam Harris’ perspective and that of Richard Stengel appears to spring from a fundamental difference in opinion on the capabilities of the American public to logically dismantle hate. Dr. Harris asserted that, when reason is juxtaposed with irrational thought, the reason will prevail. [51] However, Stengel wrote that not only does this not actually work in practice, but it also assumes a sterile, academic environment for discourse that does not exist in the social media era. [52] To support this, Stengel cited several studies in his article displaying that the vast majority of middle and high school students cannot tell the difference between real and fake news online and cannot even differentiate news from labeled ads. [53] Based on this research, Stengel argued that modern online discourse is not transparent and streamlined enough for truth to win out over falsehood or hate. [54]

V. Conclusion

The effectiveness of the American model has come under intense scrutiny recently with the number of hate crimes in the United States steadily rising over the past several years. [55] According to James Nolan, former F.B.I. crime analyst who helped oversee the National Hate Crime Data Collection Program from 1995-2000, “The trends show more violence, more interpersonal violence, and I think that’s probably reliable.” [56] That said, while critics may argue that this uptick necessitates change in our legal system, a solution is possible within the current framework if the American public embraces a cultural move toward rejecting hate at the personal level. For the American Marketplace of Ideas model of hate speech regulation to work, each individual must do their part in using reason to dismantle the arguments of those who wish to promulgate hate and bigotry. The model assumes that we will engage in our civic responsibility of cultivating the best possible community for rational thought to prevail over irrational prejudice. If Americans fail to oppose oppression wherever it arises and stay silent in the face of hate, then the American model fails. Therefore, the American public must take more personal accountability in the fight against hate if the American model of governmental hate speech protection is to succeed in the future.

Despite strong arguments for a more regulatory approach, the American model has proven effective throughout the nation’s history in both limiting hate speech and fostering an environment conducive to the rise of thought leaders. Ultimately, the measure upon which the success of the United States’ approach balances is whether the positive externalities of relatively unfettered speech outweigh the harm done by the hate speech that is allowed to remain. Even with merit on both sides of the debate, the United States’ culture of freedom and personal responsibility for maintaining that freedom tips the scale in favor of a libertarian approach to regulation of hate speech. That said, the only truly wrong answer to this debate is one that ignores the nuance and strength of the opposition. Stopping hate speech is a paramount issue that cannot afford to be looked at without considering all good solutions. 

[1] Melissa Block, Comparing Hate Speech Laws In The U.S. And Abroad , NPR, (last visited Nov. 7, 2020), https://www.npr.org/2011/03/03/134239713/France-Isnt-The-Only-Country-To-Prohibit-Hate-Speech .

[2] Canadian Human Rights Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. H-6 (Can.).

[3] That said, the United States is certainly not alone in its regulatory standards for hate speech. For instance, international law does not outlaw hate speech and mirrors the law of the United States very closely in applying an incitement standard. António Guterres, United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech (U.N. Docs.).

[5] U.S. Const. amend. I.

[7] Schenck v. U.S., 249 U.S. 47 (1919).

[9] Id. at 52.

[12] See Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (U.S. 1951) (In order for advocacy of violence to be unprotected, it must be connected with an act, and not just an abstraction of violence.); Yates v. U. S. , 354 U.S. 298 (U.S. 1957) (Advocacy for an idea only cannot be suppressed under the First Amendment. The relevant issue is whether there is advocacy for action.).

[13] Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969).

[14] Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15, 25 (1971).

[15] The cases include: Snyder v. Phelps, 562 U.S. 443 (2011); R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, Minn., 505 U.S. 377 (1992); Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343 (2003); and Wisconsin v. Mitchell, 508 U.S. 476 (1993).

[16] R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, Minn., 505 U.S. 377 (1992).

[17] Id. at 377.

[18] Id. at 381.

[19] Id. at 391.

[20] Id. at 392. (The Marquis of Queensberry rules are a commonly accepted code of rules governing boxing. Thus, Justice Scalia is commenting on the issue of regulating one side of an argument while allowing the opposition to engage unrestrained.)

[22] Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343 (2003).

[23] Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343 (2003) (THOMAS, J. dissenting).

[24] Virginia, supra note 22.

[25] Lee Rowland, Free Speech Can Be Messy, But We Need It , ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project (March 9, 2018) https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/free-speech-can-be-messy-we-need-it .

[26] Abrams v. United States , 250 US 616 (1919) (HOLMES, J. dissenting). The original concept of the Marketplace of Ideas can be traced back further than Justice Holmes to the seventeenth-century thinker John Milton.

[27] David Schultz, Marketplace of Ideas , The First Amendment Encyclopedia (June, 2017) https://www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/999/marketplace-of-ideas .

[28] Interview by Chris Anderson with Dr. Sam Harris, The TED Interviews, (Oct. 30, 2018) https://www.ted.com/talks/the_ted_interview_sam_harris_on_using_reason_to_build_our_morality/transcript?language=en#:~:text=We%20need%20to%20able%20to,the%20chance%20of%20being%20universalizable ; (For reference, “universalizability” mentioned here by Dr. Sam Harris refers to the concept expounded upon by eighteenth-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant.)

[29] Rowland, supra note 25.

[30] Interview with John Anderson and Dr. Jordan Peterson, In Conversation, (April 3, 2018) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4NijLf3M-A .

[34] Rowland, supra note 25.

[36] Peterson, supra note 30.

[40] David Shih, Hate Speech and the Misnomer of ‘The Marketplace Of Ideas, NPR (May 3, 2017) https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/05/03/483264173/hate-speech-and-the-misnomer-of-the-marketplace-of-ideas .

[41] Richard Stengel, Why America Needs a Hate Speech Law , The Washington Post (Oct. 29, 2019) https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/29/why-america-needs-hate-speech-law/ .

[42] Shih, supra note 40.

[46] Stengel, supra note 41.

[51] Harris, supra note 28.

[52] Stengel, supra note 41.

[53] Id. (This statistic is cited to assert that the internet is not a sufficiently transparent or straight-forward forum for truth to rise to the surface. The internet tends to obscure messages as simple as ads, leading young adults to believe they are news stories, so it cannot be relied upon to self-regulate hate speech.)

[55] Adeel Hassan, Hate-Crime Violence Hits 16-Year High, F.B.I. Reports , N.Y. Times, (Nov. 12, 2019) https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/12/us/hate-crimes-fbi-report.html .

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Examinations should be banned. essay for school students..

Examinations should be banned.

Examinations should be banned.

School examinations are something which most students dread. Yet, there is hardly any educational system that does not set examinations.

Many feel that examinations should be banned because they test the students’ memory power rather than their analytical or reasoning powers. Such examinations require students only to memorize facts, regurgitate them during examinations and conveniently forget them soon after.

Passing examinations could also sometimes be a matter of luck. Lucky student who spots questions accurately will probably do better than one who just studies his books. Moreover, there are some students who perform better when they are not under pressure. These students may panic and perform poorly under examination conditions.

Though reasons for banning examinations may be many, there remains one basic explanation as to why examinations have not been abolished. That is, all educational systems need a standardized method of testing the students’ understanding of what they have learned. No one has thought of a better substitute in that respect. Whether examinations test a student’s memory power or analytical power depends very much on the type of questions asked. Therefore, there is no need to abolish examinations. Rather, examinations could be set such that they truly test the student’s understanding. Some even argue that the students’ ability to withstand pressure during examinations do reflect a certain form of capability.

Furthermore, students need examinations to act as a form of motivation to learn. If examinations were banned, many would become complacent and would not do their best.

In conclusion, it can be said that examinations should not be banned because of the need to assess a student’s ability.

School Essay for Students.

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speech on should exams be banned

Congress Should Give Up on Unconstitutional TikTok Bans

fingers prepared to flick a small person with a megaphone off the screen

Congress’ unfounded plan to ban TikTok under the guise of protecting our data is back, this time in the form of a new bill—the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” H.R. 7521 — which has gained a dangerous amount of momentum in Congress. This bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House just a week ago and is expected to be sent to the Senate after a vote later this week.

A year ago, supporters of digital rights across the country successfully stopped the federal RESTRICT Act, commonly known as the “TikTok Ban” bill (it was that and a whole lot more ). And now we must do the same with this bill. 

TAKE ACTION

TELL CONGRESS: DON'T BAN TIKTOK

As a first step, H.R. 7521 would force TikTok to find a new owner that is not based in a foreign adversarial country within the next 180 days or be banned until it does so. It would also give the President the power to designate other applications under the control of a country considered adversarial to the U.S. to be a national security threat. If deemed a national security threat, the application would be banned from app stores and web hosting services unless it cuts all ties with the foreign adversarial country within 180 days. The bill would criminalize the distribution of the application through app stores or other web services, as well as the maintenance of such an app by the company. Ultimately, the result of the bill would either be a nationwide ban on the TikTok, or a forced sale of the application to a different company.

The only solution to this pervasive ecosystem is prohibiting the collection of our data in the first place.

Make no mistake—though this law starts with TikTok specifically, it could have an impact elsewhere. Tencent’s WeChat app is one of the world’s largest standalone messenger platforms, with over a billion users, and is a key vehicle for the Chinese diaspora generally. It would likely also be a target. 

The bill’s sponsors have argued that the amount of private data available to and collected by the companies behind these applications — and in theory, shared with a foreign government — makes them a national security threat. But like the RESTRICT Act, this bill won’t stop this data sharing, and will instead reduce our rights online. User data will still be collected by numerous platforms—possibly even TikTok after a forced sale—and it will still be sold to data brokers who can then sell it elsewhere, just as they do now. 

The only solution to this pervasive ecosystem is prohibiting the collection of our data in the first place. Ultimately, foreign adversaries will still be able to obtain our data from social media companies unless those companies are forbidden from collecting, retaining, and selling it, full stop. And to be clear, under our current data privacy laws, there are many domestic adversaries engaged in manipulative and invasive data collection as well. That’s why EFF supports such consumer data privacy legislation . 

Congress has also argued that this bill is necessary to tackle the anti-American propaganda that young people are seeing due to TikTok’s algorithm. Both this justification and the national security justification raise serious First Amendment concerns, and last week EFF, the ACLU, CDT, and Fight for the Future wrote to the House Energy and Commerce Committee urging them to oppose this bill due to its First Amendment violations—specifically for those across the country who rely on TikTok for information, advocacy, entertainment, and communication. The US has rightfully condemned other countries when they have banned, or sought a ban, on specific social media platforms.

Montana’s ban was as unprecedented as it was unconstitutional

And it’s not just civil society saying this. Late last year, the courts blocked Montana’s TikTok ban , SB 419, from going into effect on January 1, 2024, ruling that the law violated users’ First Amendment rights to speak and to access information online, and the company’s First Amendment rights to select and curate users’ content. EFF and the ACLU had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a challenge to the law brought by TikTok and a group of the app’s users who live in Montana. 

Our brief argued that Montana’s ban was as unprecedented as it was unconstitutional, and we are pleased that the district court upheld our free speech rights and blocked the law from going into effect. As with that state ban, the US government cannot show that a federal ban is narrowly tailored, and thus cannot use the threat of unlawful censorship as a cudgel to coerce a business to sell its property. 

Instead of passing this overreaching and misguided bill, Congress should prevent any company—regardless of where it is based—from collecting massive amounts of our detailed personal data, which is then made available to data brokers, U.S. government agencies, and even foreign adversaries, China included. We shouldn’t waste time arguing over a law that will get thrown out for silencing the speech of millions of Americans. Instead, Congress should solve the real problem of out-of-control privacy invasions by enacting comprehensive consumer data privacy legislation .

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Why the House voted to ban TikTok and what could come next

Deirdre Walsh, 2018

Deirdre Walsh

Bobby Allyn

Bobby Allyn

speech on should exams be banned

The House passed a bill Wednesday that would require ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, to sell the app or face a ban on U.S. devices. The legislation's fate is unclear in the Senate. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images hide caption

The House passed a bill Wednesday that would require ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, to sell the app or face a ban on U.S. devices. The legislation's fate is unclear in the Senate.

The House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to approve a bipartisan bill that would require ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, to sell the social media app or face a ban on all U.S. devices. The vote was 352-65.

The legislation's fate is unclear in the Senate. The top two lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, and Mark Warner, D-Va., released a joint statement praising the House bill and urging Senate action but the timeline is unclear. Several lawmakers have suggested the Senate should hold hearings on the legislation before moving forward.

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., who chairs the House Select Committee on China and is the lead GOP sponsor of the bipartisan bill, maintains that the bill does not amount to a ban of the video-sharing app.

"What we're after is, it's not a ban, it's a forced separation," Gallagher told NPR. "The TikTok user experience can continue and improve so long as ByteDance doesn't own the company."

In practice, however, the bill would ban TikTok in the United States. Both the company and China, historically, have refused to consider divestiture.

TikTok has said the banning of a social media platform would amount to a violation of the free speech rights of millions of Americans.

Gallagher says classified and unclassified national security assessments show that the app is a threat to user privacy and that it's been used to target journalists and interfere in elections. Top officials from intelligence and national security agencies conducted a classified briefing on their analysis for all House members on Tuesday. Classified information is not made public, in part, because it deals with matters of national security.

However, officials have not offered public evidence of the Chinese Communist Party using the app for surveillance or propaganda purposes, though experts say it is theoretically possible that Beijing could use TikTok to push its agenda.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has also publicly testified about his concerns about the app, including during an appearance last week at a Senate hearing on worldwide threats to U.S. security. In that testimony, Wray told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee that the Chinese government could use the app to control software on millions of devices, among other concerns.

"We're not sure that we would see many of the outward signs of it happening if it was happening," Wray said.

The bipartisan measure was unanimously approved last week by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

House Speaker is forced to skirt his own party to pass bills

Lobbying campaign flooded offices on capitol hill with calls.

Gallagher says the lobbying campaign that TikTok launched — with push notices using location information to connect users by phone to their member of Congress — proves why the bill is needed.

"You had member offices being deluged with calls, you know, teenagers crying and one threatening suicide and one impersonating one of my colleague's sons," he said. "That, to me, demonstrates how the platform could be weaponized in the future."

The bipartisan bill, dubbed the "Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act," blocks any app store or webhosting services in the U.S. for ByteDance-controlled applications, including TikTok, unless the app severs ties to ByteDance, under a designation that it's subject to the control of a foreign adversary. The bill gives ByteDance up to six months to divest, and if it doesn't do that it would no longer be available in app stores in the U.S.

The bill also sets up a process for the president to address any future threats from any foreign-owned apps if they are deemed a national security risk. It also creates a system for users to download their own data and switch to an alternate platform.

Opponents cite freedom of speech and the economic impact of a ban

At 27 years old, Florida Democratic Rep. Maxwell Frost is the youngest member of Congress, and he opposes the bill.

"I think that it is a violation of people's First Amendment rights," he said. "TikTok is a place for people to express ideas. I have many small businesses in my district and content creators in my district, and I think it's going to drastically impact them too."

He and other opponents say the bill is being rushed through and that many lawmakers don't grasp the impact it could have.

TikTok declined an interview with NPR. In a statement, a spokesperson said: "The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression. This will damage millions of businesses, deny artists an audience, and destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country."

Advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have called the bill "censorship plain and simple," arguing that "jeopardizing access to the platform jeopardizes access to free expression."

Illinois Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi is the ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on China and helped write the bill. He pushed back on the company's argument, telling NPR, "There's no First Amendment right to espionage, there's no First Amendment right to harm our national security."

The company stresses that it has established a data firewall by partnering with Austin-based software company Oracle. Dubbed "Project Texas," the new system routes all U.S. user traffic to Oracle, which now also controls the servers storing Americans' TikTok data. Still, the plan has not received the blessing from officials in Washington, who have said it falls short of a full breakup with ByteDance.

But Krishnamoorthi says he and other lawmakers reviewed the efforts and says the company's claims about its safeguards were false. "Whether it was TikTok saying that 'oh, American user data is not going to be accessible to anyone in China.' Again, wrong. That was also proven false. And then they said that American user data is not going to be used to target anybody again. Wrong. That was false."

Even opponents of the bill expected it to easily clear the House, so TikTok is focused on blocking action in the Senate. According to a source familiar with the effort, CEO Shou Zi Chew was in Washington this week and on Capitol Hill to discuss the bill with lawmakers.

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley backs the House bill. He says he's frustrated that Congress has failed to move tech legislation and argues TikTok is different from other apps. "The really only reason to ban it — it is a major national security concern — and that makes it very different from Google and Meta and the others who do all kinds of bad stuff but they are not effective subsidiaries of a hostile foreign government."

Presidential campaign politics could impact path for bill

Former President Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, proposed a ban in 2020 when he was in the White House. But he does not support the House bill.

When he served as president he vowed to ban the social media app. Trump explained his new opposition in an interview with CNBC on Monday, saying that despite the possible security risk, he opposed a ban because it meant users would move to another platform that he considered more dangerous.

"There's a lot of good and there's a lot of bad with TikTok. But the thing I don't like is that without TikTok, you can make Facebook bigger and I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people along with a lot of the media," he said.

President Biden's campaign posts regularly on TikTok, but the White House has said if a bill is sent to his desk he'll sign it .

If a law is enacted, the fight might not end there: TikTok has mounted legal challenges against other efforts to ban the app, and courts have sided with its argument that blocking TikTok violates users' First Amendment rights.

NPR's Claudia Grisales contributed to this report.

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    4) Stress: Exams take a toll on a student's body and mind through the forms of stress and anxiety and you might end up in a mental institution. Because of exams, a medical student was caught ...

  19. 'Pointless' GCSEs should be scrapped, says senior MP

    The former Tory minister says GCSEs for 16-year-olds have become "pointless". The Department for Education defended GCSEs as "gold standard" exams. The exams taken by 16-year-olds have recently ...

  20. Call to ban all school exams for under-16s

    Call to ban all school exams for under-16s. · Damning verdict on culture of testing. · Stressed pupils 'in state of panic'. Anushka Asthana, education correspondent. Sun 10 Jun 2007 05.52 EDT ...

  21. Write a short speech of 150 to 200 words on 'should exams be ...

    Answer: A very good morning to all my teachers and my dear friends I am here to give a speech on 'should exams be abolished'. About every child hates exams and fear of it . Nowadays students are pressurized to score well in exams and it has become a main purpose of the life of a child. His whole childhood gets spoil in taking stress of exams ...

  22. You Don't Say: American First Amendment Protection of Hate Speech

    There is little doubt that hate speech exists and should be stopped, but the issue at hand is who will define it, who will draw the lines of acceptability, and who will enforce it. Proponents of the American model reject the idea that legislators in Washington D.C. or anywhere should be able to place a linguistic fetter on what the entire ...

  23. Examinations should be banned.

    Examinations should be banned. School examinations are something which most students dread. Yet, there is hardly any educational system that does not set examinations. Many feel that examinations should be banned because they test the students' memory power rather than their analytical or reasoning powers. Such examinations require students ...

  24. US Supreme Court sets test for when officials who block social media

    The U.S. Supreme Court, addressing free speech rights in the digital age, decided on Friday that government officials can sometimes be sued under the Constitution's First Amendment for blocking ...

  25. The Sunday Read: 'Sure, It Won an Oscar. But Is It Criterion?'

    The Sunday Read: 'Sure, It Won an Oscar. But Is It Criterion?' How the Criterion Collection became the film world's arbiter of taste. Narrated by Shaun Taylor-Corbett

  26. Congress Should Give Up on Unconstitutional TikTok Bans

    Congress' unfounded plan to ban TikTok under the guise of protecting our data is back, this time in the form of a new bill—the "Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act," H.R. 7521 — which has gained a dangerous amount of momentum in Congress. This bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House just a week ago and is expected to be sent to the ...

  27. Global tensions help fuel free speech debate on college campuses

    More than two-thirds of college students believe universities should protect free speech — even if the speech extends to physical threats or inciting violence, according to a new Axios Vibes survey by The Harris Poll.. Why it matters: The stunning finding reveals a desire to push the limits of free expression on campus.It hints at deep divides over how to advocate for Palestinian civilians ...

  28. Most inappropriate workplace romances are banned

    Last year the University of Oxford banned intimate relationships between students and staff, and football must follow suit to safeguard players. Professionalism is as much about how things are ...

  29. Why the House voted to ban TikTok and what could come next

    The House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to approve a bipartisan bill that would require ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, to sell the social media app or face a ban on all U.S. devices ...

  30. វីអូអេ ៦០ អាមេរិក៖ ព្រឹត្តិការណ៍ នៅ សហរដ្ឋ អាមេរិក សម្រាប់ ថ្ងៃទី១៨

    លោក Antony Blinken ថ្លែងថា ខណៈ ការ បោះឆ្នោត កើត ឡើង នៅ ទូទាំង ពិភពលោក ក្នុង ឆ្នាំ នេះ ប្រជាជន និង បេក្ខជន នឹង ទទួល បាន ព័ត៌មាន មិន ពិត ជាច្រើន។ បាតុករ តវ៉ា ...