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Malaysia 'PISA 2015' rigged and cheated by ....

MP: Heads must roll over attempt to ‘cheat’ Pisa scores

Education Ministry officials who attempted to “cheat” the Programme for International Students Assessment (Pisa 2015) should be sacked, said Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua.

Pua said the official explanation by assessment organisers had strongly implied that Malaysia’s disqualification from the Pisa 2015 overall ranking had to do with the manipulation of assessment results.

Education Ministry officials attempted to ‘cheat’ in PISA, DAP MP claims

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — DAP’s Tony Pua has accused the Education Ministry of trying to “cheat” in the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) by manipulating its results to misrepresent Malaysia’s performance.

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua demanded that senior officials involved in the move to be sacked to send a strong message that the ministry is only interested in substantive quality of local students. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

The Petaling Jaya Utara MP demanded that senior officials involved in the move to be sacked to send a strong message that the ministry is only interested in substantive quality of local students.

“There cannot be a bigger irony when our own Ministry of Education tries to cheat in its examinations, and actually expects to get away with it,” Pua said in a statement.

“The disgraceful attempt to cheat the system underlies a bigger problem in the administration of our education system. It shows that those in-charge of the education of our children is more interested in form over substance.

“They are only interested in meeting statistical benchmarks — by hook or by crook so that they could crow about it, and are not interested in the real substantive quality and performance of our students,” he added.

In a separate statement, Serdang MP Dr Ong Kian Ming said it is “highly likely” that Malaysia was excluded from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) world school report after officials overseeing it realise that Malaysia is trying to rig its sample size.

Last week, the Education Ministry said that Malaysians students registered better scores in mathematics, science and reading according to the latest PISA results.

Its deputy director-general, Datuk Dr Amin Senin said that all three scores were close to the 493 average recorded by nations in the OECD, which runs the programme.

Amin said scientific literacy was the main benchmark for PISA 2015. In 2009, it was literacy while mathematics was the focus for 2012.

However, Malaysia was not included in the ranking since only 51 per cent of schools had participated, compared to 99.3 per cent and 100 per cent in 2009 and 2015.

“One suspects that the Ministry of Education over-sampled the high performing schools in the PISA 2015 sample and excluded some of the lower performing schools from the sample,” Ong said.

He pointed out that PISA data showed that 2,661 out of 8,861 students sampled, 30 per cent were from fully residential schools, whereas only less than 3 per cent of the 15-year-old cohort in 2015 were from the same type of school.

“Without a real transformation in the mindset of our officials in-charge of our education system, the quality of our schools will continue continue to deteriorate and we can only expect our students to be even worse off over time.

“As long as these officials who are only interested in artificial forms to pat themselves on the back and suck up to their superiors, no amount of beautifully crafted transformation blueprints will be able to ‘transform’ the system for the better,” Pua said.

Ong: Did ministry try to rig results for Pisa 2015 report?

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s results in the Program for International Student Assessment (Pisa) 2015 may have been rigged by the education ministry, says a DAP lawmaker.

DAP's Ong Kian Ming says highly likely that Pisa authorities recognised education ministry's attempt to rig sample size in order to artificially boost its scores.

Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming made the claim following the omission of Malaysia from the final ranking and assessment report released by the Pisa authorities on Tuesday.

He was referring to deputy education director-general Amin Senin’s remarks on the same day, pertaining to the improvement by Malaysian students based on the results achieved in the Pisa 2015 survey.

“No doubt, ministers, deputy ministers and politicians from the Barisan Nasional (BN) will use the latest Pisa scores as ‘proof’ that Malaysia is on the ‘right track’ when it comes to the standard of education in the country.

“What they would have conveniently left out is the fact that Malaysia does not feature anywhere in the 2015 Pisa rankings for Mathematics, Reading and Science,” Ong said.

On Tuesday, Amin announced that Malaysia’s Pisa scores for Mathematics, Reading and Science had improved from 421, 398 and 420, respectively, in 2012 to 446, 431 and 443, respectively, in 2015.

“The survey showed that Malaysia was moving towards hitting the global average score of 490 in mathematics and 493 in reading and science.

“We are on average, 50 marks from the global average in each domain. I am very pleased with the results and wish to congratulate all teachers, principals and students. Their commitment is commendable,” Amin was quoted as saying by The Star.


However, these statistics (seen in the graphic above) are not available anywhere in the official report released by the Pisa 2015 authorities in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and is purely based on the education ministry’s own submission to the OECD.

The official reason stated in the Pisa report for Malaysia’s exclusion is: “In Malaysia, the Pisa assessment was conducted in accordance with the operational standards and guidelines of the OECD. However, the weighted response rate among the initially sampled Malaysian schools (51%) falls well short of the standard PISA response rate of 85%.

“Therefore, the results may not be comparable to those of other countries or to results for Malaysia from previous years.”

Ong questioned the ministry on why only 51% of the schools initially chosen for the Pisa test in previous years, had participated in the test in 2015.

“Was it because the education ministry wanted to over-represent students from better performing schools and leave out students from low performing schools?

“This 51% participation rate raises many suspicions since Malaysia’s participation rate was 99.3% and 100% in PISA 2009 (151 out of 152 schools participated) and Pisa 2012 respectively,” Ong said.

He also doubted that school principals would have prevented their students from participating in the Pisa 2015 test, unless the ministry had decided not to choose the particular school again despite it being part of the original sample.

“I suspect the education ministry had over-sampled high performing schools in the Pisa 2015 sample and excluded some of the lower performing schools,” Ong said, implying it was to raise the scores in the 2015 report.

He gave the example of one state, Negeri Sembilan, where the 14 schools listed as the Pisa 2015 sample schools comprised secondary-level high performing schools (Sekolah Berprestasi Tinggi), and Fully Residential Schools (Sekolah Berasrama Penuh).

“The average student from these two types of schools will clearly outperform an average student from a regular secondary school.”

Ong added that the biased sample of schools in favour of high performing schools can also been seen in Pisa 2015’s own data on Malaysia.

“Out of a total sample of 8861 students, 2661 or 30% were from fully residential schools. This is clearly an over sampling of students from fully residential schools since they comprise less than 3% of the 15-year-old cohort in 2015,” he said, adding that it is highly likely that Pisa authorities recognise the education ministry’s attempt to rig the sample size in order to artificially boost its scores.

Ong called for the ministry to explain this distortion of the results and the exclusion of Malaysia from the Pisa 2015 report.

“Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid should explain so that we are not fooled into thinking that all is well and good in our education system as ‘evidenced’ by the latest Pisa scores.”

Tags: assessment, pisa

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