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A message to examiners

"Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practise the very same things."             Romans 2: 1
 


Yesterday in Jersey important examination results became known - the judgment of the examiners on the "A" Level work of Jersey students. Next week's results will be for GCSEs. All these examinations will affect the future lives of Jersey teenagers. Yes, it’s that serious.

Much discussion rages over the objectivity of these examinations. Are the standards demanded of students indeed higher this year than last? Are they an absolute test? Are they the best test?

Three As at "A" Level were required of the daughter of a friend of mine if she was to pursue her chosen course in the autumn. Why should her life hinge (even in part) on an objective test that did not take into account other factors that, together, would far better describe her worth?

For instance, what about truthfulness and honesty? Surely employers would value every employee with a deeply held regard for truthfulness and honesty – and an aversion to theft, in particular. And what about a strong work ethic? Or a determination to see a difficult thing finally resolved and completed?

How about, then, objective examinations in these areas? 
 
 
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‘When you educate a man in mind and not in morals you educate a menace to society.'  (Franklin D Roosevelt, President of the United States 1933-45)

Good idea - but. The ‘but’ arises because, if we devise objective tests for all of these highly desirable moral and ethical attributes, we will find written percentages being reported by the examiners about us: e.g. 65% truthful; 80% honest; 49% in work ethic; 30% in persistence because gives up far too quickly....

That has to be a no-no - because employers would want near-100% grades in these vital areas - grades that objective examiners (or work-assessors) would not be able to grant (without being untruthful themselves).

Another really strange thing about this is that we know that employers looking at CVs often expect more from others than they would find it reasonable to expect from themselves - and that's a real problem. Even me - how come I know exactly how others should behave - but excuse myself, giving (to myself) tolerances that apply to me only and not to others?

The Bible seems to have sussed out that problem. From the above two sentences from a letter to Roman residents written about 30 years after Jesus Christ rose from the dead in AD 33 (and from elsewhere in the Bible), one gathers that there will indeed be an absolute standard against which we will all be examined and reported on. The absolute standard will be that standard which we have required of others around us.
 
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‘Do you suppose, O man - you who judge those who do such things - and yet do them yourself - that you will escape the judgment of God.’ (Paul to the Romans circa AD 63)
At final examination time then, I shall have replayed to me my own views (as an examiner-in-chief) about what others should or should not have done - and the examiner will then show me what I did or did not do in identical circumstances. 
 
Those are the life examinations that are indicated hereafter. In many ways the examination system seems to be very fair.
 
Other people will not judge me - I won't even have to worry about the outcome of a democratic vote on my behaviour. I shall be my own judge of myself - but according to the objective standards that I have decided upon and required of others.
 
That leaves me with a strong wish to escape my own justice.  I fear that I shall fail my own examinations............because I, personally, set the standard - and the pass mark – when I opined on others, when I judged others. 
 
I need help with this serious problem.
 
 
Richard Syvret

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