From Aaron Sloman:
One of the things I have recently realised is that even intelligent well educated people don’t understand the difference between assessment as a reward mechanism and assessment as a mechanism whose function is diagnostic, educational, and in some cases predictive (e.g. for employers or career choices). Mixing up the latter functions with rewards (and inevitably also punishments) can seriously distort the process and harm the educational process.
Assessing and rewarding/punishing the amount of work people have done, their motivation, the amount of progress they have made, and their attitudes, should never be mixed up with assessing what they have and have not learnt, what they need to learn, where there are confusions that need to be addressed, and what they need to doin order best to make progress.
Whether we can afford an educational system that does the more important tasks will probably be a topic of disagreement. May be the question should be whether we can afford not to perform those tasks.