kheru2006 (kheru2006) wrote,

Hot over HOTS questions

MY daughter will be sitting for the UPSR in September. We have been informed that there will be more HOTS (High Order Thinking Skills) questions this year as compared to the last two years.

The concept of HOTS itself is something that has been lacking in our public school system for some time.

I, too, do not wish my children to become rote learners and, personally, I have always taught them how to analyse and rationalise situations.

However, it appears that the concept is not being implemented as well as expected.

Now, instead of rote learning the answer directly, the students are being taught to rote learn the way of thinking!

An example of this is a question presented to the class. They were given a map of the solar system showing all the planets and the sun arranged in their proper order. The question was: “Which planet, in your opinion, is the hottest?

Now, the students have learned before that the hottest planet is actually Venus (due to its atmospheric conditions) and not Mercury (which is closest to the sun).

However, the teacher explained that the right answer to give would be Mercury, simply for that reason (i.e. it is closest to the sun).

So are our children now being taught to get the answer wrong just because they have to “think” in a certain “logical” way? Will we penalise those students who have managed to remember the right answer?

In such cases, it is actually unfair to those students who do have HOTS because they end up over-thinking and over-analysing the question, trying to figure out which way they are supposed to “think” despite knowing the right answer.

I have told my daughter to answer such questions as such: “The hottest planet is Venus due to its atmospheric conditions and not Mercury, despite it being closest to the sun”. That way, hopefully, whoever is marking will be able to see that the student actually knows how she is supposed to “think”, but chose to give the right answer.

But that is if the question is subjective. What if it is objective?

I feel any such HOTS questions should be subjective, because we need to see how a student is rationalising their answer.

Objective questions give no chance for a student to display that. Can someone from the Education Ministry explain what the actual answer to the question above on the planets should be?

HOT OVER HOTS Kuala Lumpur The STAR Home News Opinion Letters to the Editors 23 June 2015
Tags: hots

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