The Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) fall under the MES while the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) is under the MEC.
MES director Sufa’at Tumin said MES would do the “standard fixing” according to the results analysis as well as reports from examiners, among others.
During the marking process, he said, three meetings would normally be held between the examiners and chief examiners to discuss and ensure that the marking was carried out fairly and accurately.
Examiner A* explained that marks given were according to the answer script and marking scheme and this was strictly followed at all times.
“The chief examiner would then randomly pick five scripts from each examiner in the group.
“This is done in three stages to ensure there is consistency in the marking system as marks allocated between the examiner and the chief examiner at any time should not exceed five points,” she said.
Examiner A who has marked the Bahasa Malaysia papers at PMR, SPM and STPM levels, said while the marks were given by the examiners, the grade which students ultimately obtained was from the MES or MEC.
Examiner B* concurred, saying that they marked according to what was provided in the answer scripts given by either the MES or MEC.
MEC public relations officer Khawari Idris explained that examiners would mark students’ examination papers while their ultimate grade was decided by the council.
Sufa’at said external expertise would also be sought during the marking process to ensure that the grading system met international standards.
“Last year, we invited assessment experts from Cambridge University, New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) to observe and advise us on the grading system,” he told StarEducation.
However, when asked about the cut off marks for each grade in the new SPM assessment system introduced since 2009, he declined to reveal the details saying that they were confidential.
When announcing the recent SPM 2010 results, Education director-general Datuk Abd Ghafar Mahmud said this was the second year the ministry had used the new grading system with students graded according to A+, A, A-, B+, B, C+, C, D, E and G as compared to previously where the grades were from 1A to 9G.
This, he said would provide a detailed breakdown of excellent candidates who obtained grade A’s in the examination.
In 2009, former Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom had said it was not the number of subjects taken in the SPM which mattered, but the quality of the grades obtained.
He said this was why Gladys Tan Yee Kim of SMK Green Road in Kuching was named the country’s top student in the SPM 2009 as it was the quality of the 10A+’s she obtained that mattered, rather than the number of subjects taken.
In the past, it was the most number of A’s achieved in the examination which mattered.
The ministry, he added, had implemented a more detailed grading system from 2009 for the SPM results where an A+ grade was considered a super distinction.
Alimuddin explained that obtaining an A+ was the highest possible grade and meant students had scored more than 90% in their subjects (see chart).
The change, he added, was based on feedback from various quarters that the existing system did not provide a more detailed breakdown of excellent students.
By KAREN CHAPMAN and TAN EE LOO
Source: Home Education Sunday May 8, 2011