Who Invented Exams? Learn the History of Examination

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Who Invented Exams?

As per historical sources, Henry Fischel is considered to be the inventor of examinations. He was a businessman and philanthropist in the 19th century. Sources say that he is the first person to introduce the philosophy of tests to the world. His examination concept primarily focused on interior and exterior testing. It is said that he invented exams mainly to evaluate a student’s subject knowledge and understanding of a concept that has been taught to them.

A few more sources state that the modern-day examination system was invented by another person of the same name Henry Fischel during the 20th century. He was found working as a professor of religious studies at Indiana University.


Who Invented Exams


Basically, exams and assignments are the most horrible part of scholastic life. If you are a school or a college student, then in your mind, at least once, you would have developed hatred towards the one who invented exams or would have developed a curiosity to know who invented exams. Am I right? Hereafter, don’t get confused! It was Henry Fischel who invented exams. Now, let us travel to the past and find out why examinations were invented and the history of examinations.

What is an Examination?

An examination or exam is a formal test that professors or teachers commonly conduct to evaluate a student’s knowledge of a specific subject in a school, college, or university. Besides the subject knowledge, exams also assess a student’s aptitude and physical fitness. In specific, the exams measure all the necessary qualities of a student based on the answers he/she writes for the given set of questions.

According to the current education system of several countries, students will have to attend exams every academic year to get qualified. The primary aim of the examination is to test the personality, memory, and revision skills of the students. Furthermore, the exam results will also motivate the students to improve their academic performance and knowledge.

What are the Different Types of Examination?

Generally, there are different types of examinations as specified below.

  • Open-book exams
  • Take-home exams
  • Oral exams
  • Practical exams
  • Essay exams
  • Short Answer exams
  • MCQs, and
  • Case study exams.

The format, mode, and difficulty of all these examination types will vary based on the specifications, subject matter, and policy of the institution or the governing bodies. Mostly, the examinations will be pen-based but after the entry of technology, computer-based examinations are also now being conducted.

Interestingly, it is said that the concept of examination came into existence in ancient times and has faced several evolutions. Read further to learn about the evolution of exams.

Know the History of Examination

Here, let us trace back and have a look at the history of exams.

Ancient China was the first country that brought the concept of examination to select people for government jobs. Initially, in 605 AD, the Sui Dynasty conducted the first national assessment in the name of imperial examination for job placements. But later, the appointment system through exams was abolished by China in the year 1905.

After China, in 1806, England followed the examination system to evaluate candidates who were eligible to serve the Majesty’s Civil Service. But, after several years, the assessment concept was applied to evaluate the academic performance of students. In the education sector, teachers consider examination as a powerful tool to assess the subject knowledge of students in a session.

Finally, from England, the idea of conducting examinations for educational purposes spread across the world, and all the countries began to follow it in their convenient ways. Even today, the examination type and pattern differ in each country as per their education system. However, the seed for the concept of examination in the education field was sown by Henry. Hence, Henry Fischel is known as the founder of examination.

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Understand the Idea of Tests and Assessments

Nowadays, the examination system is changing drastically. To be more specific, exams have evolved into a variety of tests and assessments like term papers, research papers, personality tests, multiple-choice questions, and essay assessments. At times, two different assessments will be combined for evaluation. Besides educational purposes, some organizations also use holistic testing for their job interview processes. Typically, to find out the real competency of a person, holistic testing takes into account a lot of individual components.

Learn About Cambridge Assessments

When talking about Assessments, we should not forget the role played by Cambridge University. In the world, the Cambridge assessment is one of the reputed and trustworthy assessment systems. Keep on reading to know the amazing history behind Cambridge Assessments.

During the end of the 19th century, the English schools asked the young males in England to appear for the standardized tests prepared by the Oxford and Cambridge universities. At that period, only boys will be asked to attend examinations.

The first Cambridge assessment was hosted on 14 December 1958 at churches and schools across England. In the assessment, the questions were asked from several subjects such as Mathematics, English, History, Latin, German, French, Politics, etc. Mainly, for exam supervision and evaluation, external invigilators from several parts of the country stepped in.

Even today, the University takes a lot of effort to conduct modern-day tests and exams. This is the major reason why Cambridge assessments are considered reputed.

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Who is the Founder of Standardized Tests?

Basically, each country follows a unique examination system as per its government policies and education guidelines. However, one of the common and effective methods that are practiced worldwide is standardized testing. The concept of standardized testing was invented by Frederick J. Kelly. It was he who didn’t want the students to make interpretations. Hence, he proposed the first multiple-choice exams with no ambiguity.

Exam vs. Test: Know the Differences

Examinations and Tests are the two common terms you would have heard frequently in your scholarly life. Here, let us have a look at the difference between exams and tests.

  • Exams are formal but tests are informal.
  • Usually, for evaluating the overall performance of the students, exams will be conducted at the end of an academic year. Students can qualify, only if they get pass marks in the exam. But the tests are not like that. Mainly, to prepare the students for the final examination, multiple tests will be conducted throughout the academic year.
  • Students have to pursue their course again or retake the exam if they fail. But, they can improve their scores and perform well in the next one, if they get poor marks on a test.

Like examinations, during academic life, students can’t escape from doing homework and assignments. Generally, in order to improve the understanding of students, schools daily give homework on various subjects. It is because, if the students regularly do homework, then they can update their subject knowledge and perform well in their exams. In specific, assignments act as a preparatory ground for the exams.

Are you Struggling to Complete your Homework?

For students across the world, writing homework is a burdensome task. Therefore, some countries have banned homework. But, in certain countries, the educational institutes would provide extra or bonus marks for the homework and would add those marks while calculating the overall exam scores. If you are a student who gets locked into a strict education system like this, then you can’t escape from finishing your subject assignments. Mainly, to get top scores in the final examination, you will have to forcefully compose your homework as per the requirements or guidelines your supervisor gives you.

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