Though exams are the knowledge assessment process, its quite a stress builder for most students; ever wondered who invented exams and why? Here we have the brief origin of exams.
Henry Fischel, invented the concept of exams in the late 19th century he was an American Businessman and a philanthropist. And China was the first country to implement this concept nationwide and conducted the first-ever exam, namely the Imperial Examination.
Besides, some experts also attribute the invention of standardized assessments to another expert by the same name, i.e., Henry Fischel. He was a professor of religious studies at Indiana University during the early 20th century.
Table of Content
- A Brief History of the Origins of Exam
- Ancient China and the Imperial Examination System
- Her Majesty's Civil Service Examination
- The Cambridge Assessment
- Who Introduced Exams In India
- Who Invented Exam- Henry or Henry
A Brief History of the Origins of Exams
The word 'examination' can mean two things. It could imply a deep observation, inspection, or study of a particular subject or phenomenon. These 'examinations' are usually conducted by researchers, scientists, and scholars across various disciplines. The other meaning for the word 'examination' represents a formal test where a person's knowledge and understanding or proficiency in a particular subject is assessed.
Academic or governmental institutions conduct these 'examinations' as a screening test for a candidate's eligibility to:
- Qualify for a seat in an educational or government institution
- Get promoted to the next grade/ level in an academic institution.
Several key moments in history point to examinations, which means assessment in government or academic settings.
Popular exams in India are as follow
Ancient China and the Imperial Examination System
According to historical data, exams as a concept were invented in Ancient China. The Sui Dynasty introduced what is known as the Imperial Examination System or the 'Imperial Review' in 605 AD to recruit candidates for specific government posts. The system was considered to select people based on merit rather than by birth. Candidates, if qualified, would become part of a prestigious group of government officials under the leadership of Emperor Yang of Sui.
The Tang Dynasty introduced the concept of written examinations to select candidates under Empress Wu Zetian. In addition, she introduced reforms to the imperial review wherein members of the elite bureaucracy came from humble beginnings.
Her Majesty's Civil Service Examination
The growth of the British Empire in the 18th century saw institutions like the Office of Works and the Navy Board grow enormously. However, it became increasingly clear in the 19th century that these systems weren't working since the staff was appointed by patronage or purchase.
The East India Company College was set up by the East India Company under Charles Grant, with training administrators. British officials who had observed the Imperial Examination System in China recommended that the institution be set up. The idea was to replace patronage with examinations regarding the selection of government officials.
In 1855, a civil service commission was set up to end patronage and oversee the open recruitment of government officials.
The Cambridge Assessment
Being one of the most renowned and sought-after educational institutions globally, the historical university introduces examinations for schools across England.
In the late 19th century, schools across England approached universities in Cambridge and Oxford to issue standardized tests for male pupils across the country. In 1858, and boys could only take up the test.
On December 14, 1958, the first Cambridge Assessments were administered to students to take up the test in schools or churches (among other places where it was conducted). The subjects were similar to today's syllabi across institutions, including English, Mathematics, History, Geographic, Latin, German, and French.
Similar to how exams are conducted today, these assessments were administered and overseen by invigilators who travelled from Cambridge to various parts of the country, where the tests were administered.
Who Introduced Exams in India
The Kautilya Arthashastra was a treatise that Chanakya or Vishnugupta laid down during the Mauryan Period in 313 BC. Historians dispute the identity of Kautilya, with some claiming that both Chanakya and Vishnugupta were the same people, while most reject this claim. The Kautilya Arthashastra is the earliest known document that laid down the qualifications required for the appointment of civil servants.
The actual introduction of exams in India happened in 1853. Up until 1853, civil servants in India were appointed by the directors of the East India Company based on nominations. The Parliament of England abolished the system of nominations in 1853. From this point on, the selection of civil servants was conducted through competitive examinations, regardless of race. The exams were conducted only in London in August every year, and candidates were required to pass a compulsory horse-riding test as part of the examination.
Following the downfall of the East India Company, the British Civil Service took on regulatory responsibilities of the fallen British joint-stock company. However, it wasn't until the rise of the Early Nationalists, also known as the Moderates, that the Indian Civil Service examinations were conducted simultaneously in England and India. This was achieved by implementing social reforms like a Public Service Commission (PSC) appointment and the House of Commons resolution.
Who Invented Exams- Henry or Henry
Various sources point to Henry A. Fischel as being "the man who invented exams." However, since the information available on this figure is quite vague, it's best to take this information with a pinch of salt.
Henry A. Fischel was a respected professor of Near Eastern languages and Cultures at Indiana University. He is credited with having started the Jewish Studies program and the Indiana University Department of Religious Studies.
If we were to go by historical references, exams were invented in the late 19th century by Henry Fischel, an American businessman and philanthropist. Besides, some experts also attribute the invention of standardized assessments to another expert by the same name, i.e., Henry Fischel. He was a professor of religious studies at Indiana University during the early 20th century.
POST YOUR COMMENT