“You don’t do exams?!”

When we talk to people about Auseras, there’s always a point at which this topic crops up. The responses to this revelation generally fall into one of three categories:

Agreement – “What a good idea!”

Curiosity – “How does that work?”

Anger – “You can’t do that!” (Actually, we can)

Let’s take each response in turn…

“What a good idea” – It is indeed. We believe that student are much more than their grades. Deep down, everybody knows that the effort, determination and mental heavy-lifting that goes into years of learning simply cannot be summarised in a single letter or number. To try and argue otherwise is folly.

“How does it work?” – The most dangerous phrase in the world is “But we’ve always done it that way.” Just because exams and grades have been around for years, doesn’t mean they’re the best way. Exams, en masse, is assessment built down to a cost. At Auseras, our students are assessed on their projects; question-led, open-ended, real-world and meaningful. Assessment of these projects is a conversation, not a spreadsheet. A kind, productive, ongoing and meaningful conversation which gives a student insight, direction and support in what could come next.

“You can’t do that” – This reaction often comes from people entrenched and established in the current education system; worried about changes to the status quo that has served them so well. The thing is, we’re not looking for anyone’s permission. Support is always great to have, as is constructive criticism, but if this approach isn’t for you, then so be it. We know that what we are doing is right for our students, in order to help them achieve happiness, find their purpose, and have a positive impact in the world.

The bottom line is, that exams are little more than diagnostic testing to see what can be remembered. And we can do better.

Stay well,


“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

William Bruce Cameron

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