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Who Invented Exams? - Origin of Exams, History

Update on 11 Jan, 23

Who Invented Exams? - Origin of Exams, History

Details of Invented the Exam

Though the word Exam instills fear and uncertainty in the minds of the students, it is a core part of academic life as it evaluates the understanding of the student in a particular subject or topic. “Who invented exams” is the most common question that haunts the minds of students.

This thought especially becomes intense among today’s youngsters as their assessment day gets closer. The dread of exams is severe among the students who reside in countries where rote learning and Board exams prevent students from having a deeper understanding of the topics of the curriculum.

Who Invented Exams

Exams were invented in the 19th century by Henry Fischel, a businessman, and philanthropist. He proposed a system of Exams to assess the understanding of students in a particular subject.

Henry Fischel mainly emphasized the concept of Interior and Exterior testing of what the students have learned.

According to some other theories, another religious teacher at Indiana University, who was the namesake of Henry Fischel, invented the exams. He invented the exams in the 20th century. He is also credited for starting the Jewish Studies program.

History and Origin of Exams

As we answer the question of who invented exams in this article, we shall also discuss the origin of the exams. The invention of the exams is attributed to two gentlemen from the United States (Henry Fischel) the roots of the system of exams lie in ancient China.

  • Imperial Exam

The first exam was conducted by China under the regime of Emperor Yang of Sui. This system of exams that was conducted 2000 years ago was a means to evaluate the candidates for Government jobs.

Through this form of exam, the candidates were selected as Government officials based on their merit and not on their birth.

The Imperial Exam was a National mode of assessment and was introduced by the Sui dynasty. This system of the exam was known as the Imperial exam and ancient China was the first country to implement it.

This was followed by the Tang dynasty in China which made some reforms in the Imperial Review and this form of the exam was for the selection of candidates belonging to the economically underprivileged sections of the society.

  • Civil Services Exam

After China, the Civil Services exam was followed by England in 1806 for the appointment of candidates in the Majesty’s Civil Service. This became a significant method of evaluating students in educational Institutions in the later years.

This system of holding examinations to test the skills of the students spread into other parts of the world.

  • Cambridge Assessments

Until 1858 the system of exams was restricted only to boys. At the end of the 19th Century, the schools in England approached the Cambridge and Oxford Universities to conduct standardized tests for men in England.

The different subjects that were covered by this system of exams were Mathematics, History, Latin, German, French, Politics, and English.

The first Cambridge Assessment was conducted in 1958 in the schools and churches of England and students from all over the country participated in the exams.

External examiners from all over the country were involved in invigilating and evaluating the candidates based on their performance in the exams.

After the system of Exams became popular in England, countries all over the world started formulating their own ways of exams depending on their academic curriculum.

  • Standardized Tests

The Standardized Testing method is a popular way of evaluating students. This system is followed worldwide and was invented by Fredrick J Kelly who introduced multiple choice exams to test the concepts of the students and avoid ambiguity.

  • Modern Day Exams

Hopefully, Those of you who were wondering Who invented Exams have got the answers. According to experts, Henry Fischel, an American Businessman, and Philanthropist invented the exams.

However, this is a debated topic as some experts say that Henry A Fischel, a professor at the Department of Religious studies, at Indiana University invented the exams.

So it is still unclear as to which Henry invented the exams as different sources have different opinions.

As we see that the concept of exams has undergone a huge change from the time that it started. In modern times, Exams refer to the holistic evaluation of the candidates as they are assessed on the basis of their academic knowledge, skills, and aptitude.

The exams are not restricted to classrooms and HigherEducational Institutions but are conducted in different strata of an individual’s career growth. Exams in the present times are highly competitive due to a large number of candidates participating.

Who Invented Exams in India?

According to some sources, the Kautilya Arthashastra, a treatise of 313 B.C. was for the appointment of candidates as civil servants in the Mauryan Empire. The eligibility of the candidates was laid down by the Kautilya Arthashatra.

In India, the appointment of Civil Servants was conducted by the East India Company directors. However, this system of nomination of the candidates was abolished in 1853 by the Parliament of England, and exams were held to appoint Civil Servants.

In this system of Exams, a horse riding test was considered a compulsory part of the assessment, and the exam was conducted in England.

The Indian Civil Service Exam was conducted simultaneously in India and England after the fall of the East India Company. The British Civil Service took responsibility for this exam.

The Early Nationalists helped in introducing reforms like the Public Service Commission and the House of Commissions in the Civil Services exam.

Types of Exams in India

There are different types of exams held in India that including the ones conducted by Institutes, recruiting agencies, and organizations. At the school level, the exams are held as Secondary or Higher Secondary Boards.

For admission to Higher Educational Institutes like colleges and Universities, candidates have to appear for National State or Institute level exams.

In the job sector, exams are conducted by Government agencies or Private organizations for recruiting candidates for different posts.

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