WHILE students are busy fitting into a new year in schools, I can’t help looking back at last year when my daughter sat for her PT3. The amount of work put in was actually three years’ worth, starting from Form One. This year’s Form Three students will be the third batch to sit for PT3.
I would like to share some feedback on PT3 with hope that the relevant authorities will look into some of the comments and suggestions.
It was reported that the number of straight As’ achievers in 2015 was more than in 2014. What are the reasons for the improvement? The 2015 batch was notified about the PT3 exam when they were in Form Two compared to their seniors who were given short notice. By then, teachers and students were aware of the format of the PT3 questions and had access to a bank of questions from the past year and forecast questions.
However, one cannot stop wondering whether the exam actually brought the best out of the students. The PT3’s examination format is comprised mainly of higher ordered thinking skills (HOTS) with many application type of questions. This requires switching from the traditional mode of teaching to facilitating, where students are encouraged to think on their own and research for answers which might not be in their text books.
Have our teachers been trained and prepared to carry out this mode of facilitation and learning? Today, teachers cannot rely totally on books. They also need technology to enhance the learning process. Is IT infrastructure adequate in all schools? How many schools have fast Internet access and computers for students to Google the World Wide Web for information? Sadly, many schools are struggling to maintain their IT services and not all students have Internet access in their homes.
With regards to HOTS, I believe it should cover only a portion of the PT3 exam. We should not forget to access fundamental knowledge and give it due importance and significance as well.
As HOTS questions require students to think out of the box, the PT3 examination marking scheme should not be too rigid to the answers provided by the Examination Board. How does the answers scheme address creative thinkers whose answers might be correct as well?
For all the subjects, the examination answer scripts are marked by the students’ own teachers. Then there is a committee of teachers who ensures the markings are carried out according to the standard set by the Examination Board. How can we be assured that there’s no bias in the marking of the answer scripts since the teachers already know whose script it belongs to? Teachers are human beings and, for whatever reason, some students have a special place in their heart. Unfortunately, we have the opposite case as well. Can schools ensure that each student’s answers scripts will be marked impartially by the teachers so that there is fairness in the markings?
These points should be discussed openly and addressed by the Education Ministry, which should initiate steps to further improve the PT3 exam. Infrastructure need to be placed to support students sitting for PT3, and parents and students need to be confident that the examination is flawless and good enough to have replaced PMR. Concerned Parent Batu Gajah, Perak The STAR Home News Opinion Letters 05 January 2016