Tawjihi exam is an inadequate academic measure — Jordanians

Tawjihi students celebrate their success om thier Tawjihi. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/JNews)
Tawjihi students celebrate their success on their Tawjihi. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Experts called for amending the Tawjihi (general secondary education certificate examination), and finding a more effective method of education, saying the annual exam causes manifestations of anxiety nationwide.اضافة اعلان

The calls came with the backdrop of an opinion poll published by the Center for Strategic Studies, which showed that 50 percent of the Jordanians do not believe that the exam constitutes a fair educational and academic evaluation for students.

However, only 38 percent of Tawjihi students believe that the system, which is currently in force, is an accurate reflection of their level.

The survey also showed that 46 percent of Jordanians whose choldren underwent the exam described the experience as “stressful”, while 14 percent said that it introduces a state of emergency at home, and another 3 percent said they find the experience exhausting.

The survey said that 31 percent of Jordanians, and 41 percent of the students demanded the cancellation of the Tawjihi exam, and to find an appropriate alternative.

Former minister of higher education and scientific research Azmi Mahafza told Jordan News that “the Tawjihi exam is unsuitable for measuring the student’s capabilities in critical, creative thinking, and problem solving.”

“Therefore, I repeatedly demanded that it be reconsidered,” he noted.

He called for introducing a university admission exam to determine the appropriate specialization for each student. “This was a proposal I submitted to the Development Committee for the General Secondary Exam on december 6, 2021,” he said.

Mahafza pointed out that that the Tawjihi exam, which grants opportunities based on the grade point average, is forcing students into specializations that do not match their abilities, or fulfills their hope for a future profession.

Ayesh Al-Hroob, dean of Scientific Research at Isra University, told Jordan News that 50 percent of Jordanians do not believe that the high school exam constitutes a fair assessment of students.

“This is the reality on the ground, the grade students get at the end does not reflect the outcome of 12 years of learning,” he said.  By the same token, he added, the exam is “just a psychological and societal pressure on the student, and their parents alike”.

Hroob said this made Jordanian society see the Tawjihi exam as a “fateful” test that would determine the future of a student. He called for the assessment to be cumulative, starting from the 10th grade until Tawjihi.

He proposed that the ministerial exams for the 10th grade should be only two papers, one comprising scientific subjects, and the other humanitarian”. He suggested that that the same program applies to exams in the 11th grade.

“In the third year, or the 12th grade, the ministerial exams must be mixed between essay and multiple choice”, he noted. “This way, the student, the family, and the community get a respite from the pressures of the exam,” he said.

Sociologist Hussein Al-Khuzaie told Jordan News that the poll is reflective of the general perspective in the society. He described the exam as “tiring and psychologically exhausting”, given that the test is the only criterion that lead to college acceptance.

He stressed the need to reconsider the method of acceptance “given that it is a starting point for the future”.

Former minister of education Tayseer Al-Nuaimi, told Jordan News that the result of the survey is “not surprising”. “But we have to study the results, and provide alternative solutions to develop the Tawjihi Exam to be more representative and a fair assessment of the skills of students,” he added.

The exam should not be limited to a specific form of evaluation, such as a set of questions, Nuaimi said. “It shouldn’t be gradually liberated from relying solely on the textbook, but on core learning standards and competencies focusing on applications of knowledge and skills,” he said.

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