THE Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga (PT3) results were recently released and the overall outcome did not favour students, which led to much hue and cry from students and parents alike.
Before we start pointing fingers, let us look at the Form Three assessment system in a rational and professional way.
Students of SMK Derma in Perlis collecting their Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga results. We should not be too critical of the results because this is the first time the Form Three assessment had been conducted.
As a senior teacher of 34 years (come next year), I congratulate the teachers involved in PT3, especially the examiners/assessors who did a splendid job despite restrictions and time constraints.
PT3 questions were procured from a database provided by the Malaysian Examination Board and no two schools had the same set of questions although there were bound to be similarities.
Form Three teachers were subject to a lot of pressure before, during and after PT3. They were provided with little information on the format and standard operating procedure SOP) of the examination. Even book publishers, who would have made a killing with their resources, could not provide enough materials or clues for teachers to prepare students.
As head of department for English language in my school, I know the anguish and pressure my teachers went through.
Students, parents and teachers alike had earlier cautioned on this school-based assessment, citing that malpractice was bound to happen. Those (including me) who had reservations about the sincerity and dignity of these Form Three teachers have to eat humble pie now. They performed their duties professionally and ethically, and the results speak for itself.
The teachers could have manipulated the marks at the school level but they chose to remain ethical to their profession.
We should not be overly critical of the results because this is the first time PT3 was conducted and we will see improvement in years to come. There will be some hiccups when a major examination like this is carried out.
Students need not worry about getting into residential schools for From Four as I am sure the Education Ministry has plans so as not to disappoint deserving students.
To be fair, ample time should have been provided to make adjustments to the new format of assessment. The SOP of conducting PT3 could have been better.
There were also doubts concerning the assessment (markings). Questions based on Higher Order of Thinking skills (HOTs) have a probability of answers beyond the comprehension of teachers because candidates will come out with logical answers that are not found in the marking scheme. A think tank panel must be engaged to think of all the probable answers a candidate may provide.
The Malaysian Examination Board should collect sample answers from schools and moderate the papers at national level to come up with a consistent set of answers.
In the last examination, examiners were bound by the marking scheme and were not allowed to give marks beyond the boundaries they were assigned, no matter how logical the answers might be.
Everyone grows wiser from experience and this is not the end of the world.
I hope next year, PT3 teachers will live up to the professionalism, ethics and perform their duty beyond the call of the nation. We should not compromise the future of the students and the nation.
Give the system a chance. It can be tough on the teachers, but the end-result can be gratifying.