Continual assessment is a system being adopted in more and more schools in Singapore, especially IP schools. Proponents of the system will say that it encourages consistency and such. That may be true, but I believe it has its shortcomings as well, and the implications of these shortcomings are worse, in my opinion.

Because almost everything they do is graded, students are more likely to do the work for the grades and not for education itself. The implications of this are two fold, but both ultimately lead to the same end.

Firstly, in a society that already has an inherent fear of failure, continual assessment further embeds that fear into the minds of students. When they are graded in everything they do, there is more chance for failure, and students as such don’t try new things. When you are graded, there is a tendency to not try new ideas in fear of failure. By grading students in everything, creativity is thus further discouraged, in a way.

Secondly, passion is lost among students. When everything is graded, the focus becomes the grade and not the process and education itself. By focusing on the grade, students tend to lose passion in the subject. A loss of passion has very grave consequences, one of which is a loss of creativity. When passion is lost, students will not want to pursue the topic on their own accord, they will not be inspired to learn and try new things, and as such, creativity is lost.

Two simple implications of continual assessment, but with a really significant end result – students are educated out of their creativity. What’s worse, is that this system is getting implemented mostly in IP schools, which are supposed to be the top students, the cream of the crop. We’re educating our brightest thinkers out of creativity, and it can’t be a good sign for society.