History of Examinations

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The very word examinations bring shivers to all,right from children to adults, leading to trembling hands, parched lips,pounding heart and sleepless nights. It has formed an inseperable adjunct of our everyday life through ages. Even during ancient times Lord Ramji and his brothers also went to Vashisht muni ashram and had to undergo tests of all kinds very off and on. Kauravas and Pandavas also also took ‘Deeksha’ from Guru Dronchacharya and were put to severe tests irrespective of their noble lineage.

In West, the earliest reference dates back to 1818, at Schrewsbury, London where the conducted consisted of two sets of marks for viva and written. Promotion to the next class –most amusingly was based not on academic records but on seniority in age (Nice! Is’nt it). Schrewsbury was also the pioneer in introducing first half yearly examinations. Printed exam. Papers however, appeared for the first time for the sixth form at Harrow in July 1830. Practice of conducting the first school certificate exam. By a board or university, to provide a recognized status for the pupils of middle class schools was instituted at Oxford in 1858.

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Mr. T. D. Acland, a former M. P. and an agricultural reformist, was the main instrument behind it. Although Acland’s plan did not work out for the target pupils due to lack of rapport between the college and the university but his plan to award certificate at two levels namely below 18years and under 15 years is still in practice. Exam. By an outside independent body was first introduced by Mr. Goodacre at Nottingham for the certificate of college of preceptors in 1850. To overcome sexual disparity, the system of exam. For girls came much later, after a gap of 33years in December 1851.

Thirty five girls (of an unrecorded school) were the first ones to undergo the ordeal of exam.. Although the results were not satisfactory but the practice continued. In 1863, another initiative was taken over by one Miss Emily Davis, founder of Girton College,Cambridge. In spite of continued poor performance, it finally got approved in May 1867. Oxford followed suit three years later in 1870. Leaving the realm of school exam. And coming to the more interesting IQ or intelligence quotient test – as the record says, it was developed by a Parisian psychologist – Alfred Binet in 1905.

He based his tests on the methods used by an English scientist,Francis Galton for assessing sensory perceptions. After an exhaustive research , expanding to a period of ten years,he devise a scale for measuring the intelligence. Later Binet scale was used for assessing children by Paris Educational Authority. Another contribution was made by a German psychologist Ebbinghaus –making combinations based on Binet scale. First IQ test at famous Oxford was conducted under the direction of Sir Cyril Burt in 1908, whose inference that children from middle class had higher intelligence than children from working class, came under much criticism.

IQ test on a mass scale to classify candidates according to their mental capacity to select candidates for responsible positions was adopted for the first time by the Div, of Psychology, U. S. Army. Med. Dept. in October 1917. Today IQ testa are very popular. Each exam. Is accompanied by such test. Although efforts are on to do away with academic exam. In order to give some solace to the pupils, yet come March- April, the examination devil teases one and all, reminding the arrival of examination, even much after the student life is over.

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History of Examinations. (2018, Jun 29). Retrieved from


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