Evidently grading is the best method we've come up with yet. If you can't interest a pupil in the material, instilling a fear of failure to encourage them to force the material into their heads is a reasonable substitute, isn't it? I think the reason for grading's success is that it seems to produce quantified results (they passed their tests, didn't they?), which are great for politicians who want to know, "are our children learning?" Never mind whether those results are accurate or useful.
I think we should keep the 'grading' system, but all examinations should be open book - just like in real life: if you can't remember a formula, you look it up.
People will find after the first exam that the book doesn't help unless you already know how to do the work which means studying and revising it, however, it does mean that if you do forget something you have the ability look it up.
Here i am talking more in regards to math and physics subjects.
However, there are many other english based task which don't allow the use of a dictionary during examinations which i personally find a stupid restriction. Here is why:
Because if you are going to look the word up and check its spelling you have to have an idea that it isn't correct so it isn't voiding that criteria. People will probably still make just as many mistakes but when the time comes and the go 'wait, i don't think that is correct!' then they can check it, but by doing so, they have already proved that they are familiar with the correct spelling.
Also, i find the idea that you should know facts and information off the top of your head and be able to write a concise, unprepared essay on an unknown topic is just crazy, especially with a time restriction.
What does such examinations prove?
Your clerical speed and your writing ability, not your knowledge of the topic! and if you are like me and have a slow 'clerical' speed, or are the kind of person who thinks through information more than most, you will have big difficulty writing quality essays under those conditions yet will normally do very well on assignments.
And even more unusually, the criteria for both exam or assignment is exactly the same in Australia (or QLD at least) - no consideration is supposed to be taken concerning exam conditions.
It really annoys me how stupid the education system is, especially considering the way which people are normally most capable of displaying and learing real knowledge is through casual talk and interaction, not by rote or under the pressures set by schools - if anything, these reduce our ability to absorb information.