Among the great beliefs by those outside of education who seek to “improve” education performance is that giving students examinations ensures learning can be measured. The Russian government instituted the Single State Exam which was designed to fight academic corruption and end cheating in education. Unfortunately, for test makers, a high school graduate from Omsk bought questions for the Single State exam for the lordly sum of $55– actually the cost was divided among his friends who also wanted the exam questions–before the exam, that is.
The Single State Exam replaces oral and written exams and the new test consists of a series of multiple choice questions. Think about this change– shifting from requiring students to discuss and analyze to having them fill in bubbles on a paper! Russian educators are already echoing feelings of American teachers who are tired of devoting months to cram students in order to pass the multiple choice exam.
There are reports some students while taking the exam used their cell phones to access the Internet and get the right answer. I doubt if that could be done during an oral examination.