Exams reinvented!

Exam time was approaching in D'Land but the Aviary School for birds and the Terrestrial School for land animals was still being rebuilt after the destruction created by the tornado.

Delma was staying back one afternoon after school to study at the Aquatic School library when she heard some voices in heated debate.

"I suggest we don't have exams at all this year," the dolphin heard Wiz Rooster, principal of the Aviary School say. "It has been a trying time in D'Land and even though we have done our best not to let studies be affected, still academics have suffered. I believe we should promote everyone this year without assessments."

"With all due respect Wiz Rooster, I think we should use this as an opportunity to show that no matter what, our education system will not falter," argued Taub, a young T-Rex who was Vice Principal of Terrestrial School. Old Rex the principal had not been able to travel all the way from Fruit Park to Aquatic School for this urgent meeting of the three heads of the three schools of D'Land, so Taub the disciplinarian was representing the school for land animals.

"Our examination system is the basis to judge how these students have fared throughout the year. Letting the system suffer for even one year will affect the overall progress. Why should we promote those students who don't deserve to be promoted?" the dinosaur said.

"What do you think, Olly," Wiz Rooter turned to the octopus who was principal of Aquatic School.

After careful deliberation, Olly answered. "I realize that both Aviary and Terrestrial schools have suffered from the tornado. The schools' structures have been destroyed and so have many records. After the tornado, we have all tried to concentrate on academics, yet we cannot deny that our students have been distracted due to the destruction of their homes."

"So?" prompted Taub. "What's the verdict?"

"Firstly, I suggest that all exams take place at the Aquatic School which has suffered the least destruction," continued Olly.

"But most of your school's underwater; how will our students manage?" scoffed Taub.

"Well, we have a lot of beach area in the many, many coves of Aquatic School. There is enough space to accommodate students of both your schools. But let me finish — I also agree with Wiz Rooster that giving our pupils the stress of normal written exams is not fair. We must show flexibility. Let us have oral exams this year. Each grade will have public oral exams — this will enable students to reveal what they have learnt conceptually and other pupils will learn from their peer's answers," Olly explained. "It will not require extensive paper making and paper marking also." "What a brilliant idea! It will help build confidence and polish public speaking skills," Wiz Rooster agreed with a smile.

"Hmmm...," Taub was still a bit reluctant. "Why not give it a try."

"Wonderful, then let's just chalk out the details," Olly remarked.

Delma had not intended to overhear the conversation of the three schools representatives but she was excited about what she had heard. "I'm dying to tell Din Din and Dazel but it wouldn't be ethical to reveal what I have heard," the dolphin thought, her conscience guilty.

Delma did not have to keep the secret to herself for long as in the following week, notices were put up in all three schools regarding the newly devised system of oral exams.

"Grades from all three schools will participate in the same exams — for example students of Grade 3 of Aviary, Aquatic and Terrestrial Schools will sit together to appear for the oral paper. Each day one grade will be assessed. Every student will be quizzed for 10 minutes in front of his peers by a panel of teachers from all three schools," Luke the lake trout, a Science teacher at Aquatic School, elaborated to his students.

"Exams begin in a fortnight," explained Annette the gazelle, who was Art and Elocution teacher at Terrestrial School. "Apart from concept revision which all the subject teachers will do, we will also be training you especially in the art of public speaking."

"These oral examinations will continue for 10 days. Each day one grade will be taken to the Aquatic School where arrangements have been made to accommodate students from our school and Terrestrial School. We urge you all to do your best," advised Wiz Rooster as he addressed the assembly on the day the exams were to begin.

The air crackled with anticipation on the first day of exams. It was Grade Three which was to appear that day which meant Dazel, Din Din and Delma would all have their exams together.

"Best of luck," the three friends hugged each other before they entered the large sandy cove where the exams were to be held.

Inside, students were seated solemnly according to their schools, chaperoned by their teachers. At the head of the cove sat the trio of principals of the three schools — Wiz Rooster, O11y the Octopus and Old Rex. The students gasped as they realized this was to be the panel of teachers who would quiz them.

"Do not be afraid," Wiz Rooster smiled kindly. "Just do your best."

These gentle words seemed to dissolve the tension in the enclosure.

One by one, students were called and asked five questions from various subjects.

It was nearly sunset when the session finally came to a close. Din Din, Dazel and Delma congratulated each other, "You were so clever," Din Din told Dazel.

"And you were so confident," remarked Delma to Din Din.

"And see how Old Rex praised the systematic way you explained the water cycle," Dazel praised Delma.

"These exams have really been eye-opening," Delma agreed. "Usually in our exams we display what we have learnt, but in these oral exams we have had the opportunity to learn from each other."

"Yes, hearing Sally the salmon explain how she learnt the tables has really helped me," said Din Din.

Olly the octopus swam up to the three friends. "I'm so glad students have warmly accepted this new format of examinations and have excelled in them."

"And this would never have happened if not for the tornado," said Dazel, always the optimist.

"True," laughed Wiz Rooster who had joined them. "Just goes to show that good outcomes can occur from bad events too."

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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