I am surprised for I thought schools have long ago done away with this archaic practice.
It is a very time-consuming and energy wasting exercise for all subject, class and form teachers concerned.
Besides, the validity of the “total marks” as a tool to evaluate and assess a student’s academic achievement is vague at best and irrelevant at worst.
Schools should just grade students’ achievement in every subject, following the format of public examinations.
There is no need to give the “exact” marks for each paper the students have sat for.
And, certainly there is absolutely no necessity to total up all their exam marks so that class and form positions can be “awarded”.
Students and parents alike must have the right perspective for examinations and examination grades. They should recognise that examinations are not instruments for competition and comparison.
The grades a student obtains simply tells him how much of the knowledge areas tested he has mastered.
He should know from the grades what he lacks in understanding and where he needs to improve. What is important is that each child should be encouraged to work hard.
Each child should be imparted with the understanding that it is his responsibility to at least pass every subject in all examinations. When a child takes care of his own learning, his grades will take care of themselves.
As for achieving excellence, each child has his own “niche” subjects. Excelling in Art is definitely out for some children, just as Additional Mathematics is for some others.
Parents and teachers should help their children and charges to identify their “strong” and “weak” subjects and motivate them accordingly. Our children should be relieved of the pressure to perform exceptionally well in all subjects.
I urge the Education Ministry to immediately issue a circular to all schools to do away with the practice of totaling school exam marks and giving class and form positions to students based them.
Source: The STAR Education Sunday July 17, 2011 LIONG KAM CHONG Via e-mail