Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wise to Scrap Examinations?


I spoke earlier today to caution the Government against a hasty move to scrap the UPSR and PMR examinations.

You can view the Free Malaysia Today and Malaysiakini news reports.

14 comments:

KoSong Cafe said...

Once the two examinations are scrapped, we can find literally illiterate school leavers! Scary, even though we can find some already in our system, what with objective questions and the chance to 'tembak' answers with a 20% chance of being correct by just marking for eg. all (a)s in answering all the questions!

Anonymous said...

UMNO BN IS BANKRUPT OF IDEAS, BY ABOLISHING THE SAID 2 EXAMS HOW DO WE KNOW THE FUTURE GENERATIONS OF THE STUDENTS HAVE A QUALIFICATION TO FURTHER THEIR STUDIES OR ENTER THE JOB MARKET WHAT WILL BE THE BENCHMARK TO MEASURE THEIR CAPABILITY OR DISBILITY, NO EXAMS MEANS AIMLESS EDUCATION WITH NO GOALS NOR PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENTS TO ACHIEVE AND FINALLY ALL ARE UNEDUCATED SO THAT THEY CAN BE MANIPULATED BY THE HIGHLY QUALIFIED FOREIGNERS OR THE FOREIGN EDUCATED ELITE FROM THE UMNO BN RULING FAMILIES.

THIS IS AN EVIL DESIGN TO RETARD THE BRIGHT STUDENTS OF THE RAKYATS' FAMILIES FROM GETTING A GOOD EDUCATION AND QUALIFICATION IF THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO STUDY OVERSEAS JUST LIKE THE ELITE FROM UMNO BN RULING FAMILIES WHO SENT THEIR CHILDREN OVERSEAS TO STUDY.

Anonymous said...

Nice zinger to drive home the points.

But a further question is how do you implement a system that will allow a such examination question? It DOES NOT HAPPEN with an unmeritocratic system. These questions and answers are based on merit without which there is no fair answer and hence impossible to ask the question itself.

Jeremiah said...

I agree that quality teachers and a revamp of the exam syllabus are essential for creating a new breed of creative thinking, problem solving students/citizens.

But the greatest asset that the education system should emphasize on (which is usually diluted and overshadowed by rules, policies and bureaucratic civil servants) is for teachers and students to ask the right open-ended questions that probe into the mystery of life, history and human nature.
Without encouraging students to ask the right questions (and instead pressurizing them to seek the right answers), we will never promote creative thinking and a new generation of outstanding scientists, artists, craftsmen, philosophers, innovators and business leaders.

But if the government does not wish to seek the final goal of an innovative, intellectually vibrant working population, all these policy changes and academic debates are useless.

Let's not confuse the ends with the means as the government often does. Scrapping the UPSR and PMR is like using a sledge hammer to kill a fly.

We should work backwards from the final goal and ask ourselves what steps it takes to reach that goal.

aavaz said...

Our children have become pawns in the political game. Each Education Minister comes and makes hasty changes.

Bunnies said...

Spot on! You are so right about our education system.

Seriously, our education system sucks big time. We have teachers who are lazy and couldnt be bothered with either the students or their quality of teaching. Number 2, we have outdated and hopeless lessons!!

I had to march to my daughter's school to thrash it out with her geography teacher all because her geography teacher is too dumb to know that there are other recycling methods. The teacher refuses to accept my daughter's proposal on methods of recycling that is different from the rest of the class. (Apparently, my daughter told me that everyone in the class just copy what was told by the teacher) The teacher belittled my daughter for giving other methods and threaten to fail her!

I was shocked beyond words when the teacher told me that any other methods besides those she had mentioned is not acceptable!! WHY!? I can only guess is that the teacher has limited knowledge of recycling or simply too lazy to go find out.

While I was in my daughter's school, I also took up the case where answers to questions are written on the board for students to copy. Apparently, you dont have to do your homework.. you just need to keep it for a day and the next day, answers will be given on the board. The student's job is to copy down the answer and that is considered homework done. And if you are a child like my daughter who like to think a little deeper and ask questions, you are told to shut up or if you provide any other answer besides those on the board, you are told to erase your answer and copy what is on the board. Mine you, I checked her exercise book and there is no marking whatsoever.

The teacher's rationale is that there are a lot of students in 1 class (42) and it will take a lot of time to go thru everyone's book and if everyone is to give different answers, it will be too tedious! It is easier to just provide the answers! I was damned!

Of course I thrashed the teacher and headmistress! Of course I told them that is not how it's suppose to be! Of course I told them not to give me nonsensical and stupid excuses as I have been thru school myself and in my days, my teacher reads and correct each and everyone of our work! Yes, I had my exercise book flung to my face for writing rubbish or doing something wrong but at least, my teacher took the time to read what I wrote! Of course I was sarcastic because the teacher intimidated and threatened my daughter.

What is the point of giving out homework when you dont want to read what is done? What is the purpose of homework if it is not to gauge the level of understanding of the lesson besides to provide practise? WHAT!? To waste precious paper? to waste precious time? Come on!!

"Pau See" (Sure die) is the word for our education!

Anonymous said...

Instead of scrapping the exams, teaching methods and quality teachers play important contributors for the output (good students).

Apart from that, why not looking into ways to re-organize the scoring (40% personal projects/thesis, 30% group projects and 30% exam), that will emphasize less on exam, encourage critical thinking and practical works through projects.

Karen Lee said...

Dear Tony,

In a couple of years, your eldest will be in year 1. If you are planning to send her to SJK(C), you will find that, right from year 1, it's work, work and work all the way. The momentum mustn't stop coz if one does, you will face with an avalanche of work coming straight at you.

Even if they revamp the style of examination questions like you mentioned, the students will face harder time coping with answering such questions coz they have no time to think 'why' things happened. The syllabus they have to cover is too much for them to handle.

Have you recently look at year 1's BM and chinese?? They are like our BM and Chinese when we were in year 4..... And the UPSR is like our SRP..... many students are struggling especially the slower and creative ones.

Jeremiah said...

An education sylabus is like a preparing a healthy meal/diet that is delicious and nutritious.

If the present sylabus/diet does not produce long-term health, we have to find out why instead of jumping to the conclusion to scrap the exams (which may or may not be right).

The emphasis of exams can be split into 33% memorisation of facts, 33% analysis of facts with the help of evidence and 33% judgmental and qualitative thinking.

The problems with most Msians these days is their inability to distinguish facts from opinions and their inability to be intellectually honest by keeping two opposing thoughts in their minds.

They often get caught up emotionally and lose all energy to probe the truth further. That's lazy thinking which comes from the present education system.

alwyn said...

What about scrapping CLOSED-BOOK examinations? In one stroke this could(?) force both teachers and students to study differently.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony, I have to disagree with you on this issue. There is a lot of comments stated that we will not be able to track or monitor the students progress if both exam were to scrap. However, aren't the school have final exam every year to asses the students learning progress? Malaysia have too many major exam like, UPSR after that PMR after that SPM after that STPM before entry to tertiary education. These will mold our society that view learning in context of only pass or fail. If fail, you're a failure. We need to create a student that learn from failure and mistake, that are not fear of failure or make mistake. Furthermore, parents are using their child major exam grade to boost their ego among other parents, thus adding a lot of undue pressure to the child learning development. Learning supposedly to be fun and creative and not rigid and robotic.

Anonymous said...

Would a free market in primary and secondary schools improve education as suggested by Milton and Rose Friedman?

Anonymous said...

Tony, I bet the Examinations Section of the Ministry of Education does not have the talents to set versatile history questions as you mentioned in your meet the press session. Continue the good show and the public will appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Good idea - Apart from that, why not looking into ways to re-organize the scoring (40% personal projects/thesis, 30% group projects and 30% exam), that will emphasize less on exam, encourage critical thinking and practical works through projects.

Agree - Malaysia have too many major exam like, UPSR after that PMR after that SPM after that STPM
before entry to tertiary education.

My opinion - We must understand each student have different talent - some can study and some can't . What I dont like in school is the teacher pandang rendah for those not very well in study .
Sometimes , the mee goreng one at road side not corrupted , but instead too much education ,
having top post in sand company and yet corrupted .
Why today in school we must say " I want to be accountant , cannot say I want to be taxi / bus driver , to improve public transport " . So everybody become accountant , nobody become bus driver , inst stupid country ? We need some exam - Mathematics for calculation knowledge , but
not every exam in every subject . Why take History exam if the student prefer music ?
Moral study ( without exam ) is important . You may find some young student so arrogant , will say " Tony Pua , u are stupid " because his house got swimming pool , but your house don't have .