Passage Four (Examinations Exert a Pernicious Influence on Education)
We might marvel at the progress made in every field of study, but the methods of testing a person’s knowledge and ability remain as primitive as ever they were. It really is extraordinary that after all these years, educationists have still failed to device anything more efficient and reliable than examinations. For all the pious claim that examinations text what you know, it is common knowledge that they more often do the exact opposite. They may be a good means of testing memory, or the knack of working rapidly under extreme pressure, but they can tell you nothing about a person’s true ability and aptitude.
As anxiety-makers, examinations are second to none. That is because so much depends on them. They are the mark of success of failure in our society. Your whole future may be decided in one fateful day. It doesn’t matter that you weren’t feeling very well, or that your mother died. Little things like that don’t count: the exam goes on. No one can give of his best when he is in mortal terror, or after a sleepless night, yet this is precisely what the examination system expects him to do. The moment a child begins school, he enters a world of vicious competition where success and failure are clearly defined and measured. Can we wonder at the increasing number of ‘drop-outs’: young people who are written off as utter failures before they have even embarked on a career? Can we be surprised at the suicide rate among students?
A good education should, among other things, train you to think for yourself. The examination system does anything but that. What has to be learnt is rigidly laid down by a syllabus, so the student is encouraged to memorize. Examinations do not motivate a student to read widely, but to restrict his reading; they do not enable him to seek more and more knowledge, but induce cramming. They lower the standards of teaching, for they deprive the teacher of all freedoms. Teachers themselves are often judged by examination results and instead of teaching their subjects, they are reduced to training their students in exam techniques which they despise. The most successful candidates are not always the best educated; they are the best trained in the technique of working under duress.
The results on which so much depends are often nothing more than a subjective assessment by some anonymous examiner. Examiners are only human. They get tired and hungry; they make mistakes. Yet they have to mark stacks of hastily scrawled scripts in a limited amount of time. They work under the same sort of pressure as the candidates. And their word carries weight. After a judge’s decision you have the right of appeal, but not after an examiner’s. There must surely be many simpler and more effective ways of assessing a person’s true abilities. Is it cynical to suggest that examinations are merely a profitable business for the institutions that run them? This is what it boils down to in the last analysis. The best comment on the system is this illiterate message recently scrawled on a wall: ‘I were a teenage drop-out and now I are a teenage millionaire.’
1. The main idea of this passage is
[A] examinations exert a pernicious influence on education.
[B] examinations are ineffective.
[C] examinations are profitable for institutions.
[D] examinations are a burden on students.
2. The author’s attitude toward examinations is
3. The fate of students is decided by
[D] students themselves.
4. According to the author, the most important of a good education is
[A] to encourage students to read widely.
[B] to train students to think on their own.
[C] to teach students how to tackle exams.
[D] to master his fate.
5. Why does the author mention court?
[A] Give an example.
[B] For comparison.
[C] It shows that teachers’ evolutions depend on the results of examinations.
[D] It shows the results of court is more effectise.
1. pernicious 有害的，恶性的，破坏性的
2. knack 窍门，诀窍
3. embark 乘船，登记
4. write off 勾销，注销。确认某食物已损失或无效
5. syllabus 教学大纲
6. cram 塞入，把某物塞进，突击式学习(尤指应考)，以注入方式教人
7. duress 威胁，逼迫
8. stack 堆，垛
9. scrawl 写/画(的内容不工整，不仔细)潦草的笔迹，七扭八歪的字
10. script 讲稿，剧本，脚本，笔试答卷
11. cynical 愤世嫉俗的，自私得为人不齿的
12. boil down 熬浓，浓缩，归纳.
1. For all the pious claim that examinations test what you know, it is common knowledge that they more often do the exact opposite.
2. As anxiety-makers, examinations are second to none.
【结构简析】second to none固定搭配，义：不亚于任何人或事物。
3. induce cramming
诱人采用突击式学习方式。Cram尽力塞入，应试突击学习。EX: cram for a chemistry test.为应付化学考试而临时抱佛脚。Cram pupils以填鸭式教学生。
4. Yet you have to mark stacks of hastily scrawled scripts in a limited amount of time.
5. And their word carries weight.
6. This is what it boils down to in the last analysis.
1. A 考试对教育具有有害的影响。文章第一段就点明：考试是测试记忆的好方法，是测试在巨大压力下快速工作的技巧的好方法，却测不出一个人的真正能力和水平。第三段集中指出：考试不是促进学生广泛阅读，反而限制其阅读;考试不能使学生追求更多的知识，而是诱导学生进行应付考试的突击式学习。他们降低了教学水平，因为他们剥夺了老师的一切自由。常常以考试结果而不是所教课程来评定老师，是他们不得不以他们所轻视的考试技巧来培训学生。第二段和第四段也涉及其后果。
2. C 批评的。第一段中作者明确指出，考试方法依旧，不能测出人的能力和水平。第二段点名，这种无用的考试决定人生的成败。第三段说考试最成功的考试者经常不是最佳的受教育者，他们是在胁迫下最佳获得考试技巧者，而好的教育应能培养人的独立思考。第四段涉及阅卷者又累又饿，常犯错误，不得不在限定时间披阅一大堆匆忙中七扭八歪写出的卷子。最后一句“我过去是一个是来岁的辍学者，现在我是一个年轻的百万富翁”画龙点睛地指出，考试指挥下的教育的失败。这一切都说明作者对考试的批评态度。
3. C 考试。答案在第二段，考试是最终忧虑制造者，那是因为许多事情取决于考试：它们是我们社会中成功或失败的标志。你的未来可能全取决于这决定性的一天。
4. B 培养学生进行独立思考。第三段第一句话点明：好的教育应该是培养学生自己独立思考。
5. B 作对比，答案在最后一段倒数第二句“审判官裁决后，你有权力上诉，而披阅考卷人给分后，学生可没有上诉权”后面又谈及“一想到考试只对进行考试的机构有礼，未免太自私了。这酒是最终分析归纳的东西。”所以作者呼吁，可定还有许多更简便，更有效的评估人真正能力的方法。