In relation to earlier comments - I think we need less coursework, not more.
They are not perfect but they are the best method of assessing pupils fairly and en masse.
My politics teacher despised the education system, as he felt students were being taught to pass the exam, not taught the subject.
I think exams are slightly unfair too, as usually those with the higher marks are those with the best memories.
Perhaps if everyone worked equally hard, then they'd be good indicators of academic ability, but I know I didn't work as hard as my friends. So if we'd worked at the same pace, then the grades would have been different.
Exams are the best way to test people. Too bad if it's stressful, etc, because if someone can't cope with exams, they won't be able to cope in real life.
And it's much better than assignments, projects, etc. With assignments, there is the inevitability that some people will get a lot of help with their assignments, that some people will plagiarise, and even that they will get someone else to do it for them. Not exactly indicative of their academic ability.
Additionally there is the fact that some people will have more time than others to work on the assignment (eg. one person may be doing a greater number of challenging subjects). Some people don't spend all their time working on projects. They may do extracurricular activities like sport, charity, etc. Why punish someone for having a well-rounded life?
In an exam, everyone gets the same conditions, the same amount of time to do it, etc. It's much fairer, and, imo, better.
I agree that exams are an excellent way of highlighting how hard a student is prepared to work at revision as well as showing off their academic knowledge. Both are significant traits needed for successful employment (amongst others).
I'm all for exams, I don't know about the 'system being flawless' part but I think I'd shoot myself if more coursework was introduced!