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Foregrounding the lecture title, “The Assessment Arms Race and its Fallout”, Professor Harland spoke about it as an analogy that refers to the nuclear arms race during the cold war, and connects competition in the animal kingdom with competitiveness in educational systems. Such competition is usually framed by multiple tests and other assessments. The questions he posed about assessment regimes and their impact on critical thinking stimulated deeper thinking about what learning at higher education is about:
These questions and Professor Harland’s argument to slow down learning resonate with the current educational landscape in Singapore. Education Minister, Mr Ong Ye Kung, has called for a reduction in examinations in the schools and a focus on cultivating a passion for learning (Chia, 2018). He emphasised that a reduction in assessment does not mean a reduction in rigour. Students should have time to think and explore: to enjoy education and their learning experiences, as these would form the cornerstone for the passion for lifelong learning.
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