NUTP secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng says there’s no running away from exams
National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng said it wanted to know what kind of assessment would replace the PMR exam.
"The minute students reach Form One, the schools must prepare them for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) exam in five years.
"So they still cannot run away from having exams. The question is, what is going to be the alternative assessment for them?"
She said during the roundtable discussions held by the Education Ministry a few months ago, the union had suggested that students in Form One be divided into three educational paths before they were streamed into the science and arts classes in Form Four.
"Students with good academic results can focus on all subjects while those who are not very interested in academics can take vocational classes and the weak ones can go for basic skills training."
National Parent-Teacher Association Collaborative Council chairman Professor Datuk Mohamad Ali Hasan also urged the government to review the streaming of students after Form Three.
He asked about the improvements planned for the UPSR exam.
"UPSR has very little significance in assessing the 3Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic).
"So how does the government plan to incorporate the other components of intelligence, like emotional intelligence and spiritual intelligence?"
Page chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim is glad the UPSR has been retained
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (Page) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said she was happy that the UPSR exam was retained but expressed concern that replacing the PMR exam with a school-based assessment would result in students lacking focus.
"When teenagers are forced to take responsibility, they will become serious about it. For example, many students don't give their best in monthly exams, and with the distractions around them, we are concerned about their discipline."
She said the PMR exam prepared students for the SPM exam.
"If there is no PMR, it would affect the SPM exam results because students wouldn't be as prepared. Moreover, you cannot assess students fairly through internal exams as some schools have higher marking standards than others."
Parent Adillah Ahmad Nordin, who is also chairman of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tinggi St David's parent-teacher association in Malacca, said she agreed with the government's decision as she felt that there should be only one major exam for primary schools and secondary schools.
"There are many students who excel in the PMR exam and are placed in the science stream by the schools regardless of whether they want to be there. So, there's no need for a major exam in Form Three."
In June, Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government was reviewing the two exams to restructure the learning system.
The existing system was seen as unsuccessful in providing a total education experience or encouraging teachers and students to improve their creativity, co-curricular activities and involvement in sports.
The government had held two roundtable discussions before making the decision.
The consensus at the second roundtable session on July 27 was that students should be tested on their understanding of a subject, not their memorisation skills.
As such, the way students were tested in the two exams needed to be re-looked to produce students who could think critically and analyti-cally.
This was in contrast to what participants at the first roundtable session on July 19 had concluded. They had then largely agreed that the two exams be scrapped.