Oral exams will never replace written assessment

With final exams only a week or two away, the argument for oral exams arises once again (“If It Was Good Enough for Socrates, It’s Good Enough for Sophomores,” The New York Times, Dec. 2).  It’s based on the model used in other countries.

But I maintain that professors oppose oral exams because then they would have to grade them.  As things stand now, their teaching assistants do the job.  The truth is that effective instruction as measured by any form of evaluation is detrimental to tenure and advancement. Professors want to devote all their attention to research because that’s the only thing that really count

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