THE examination-oriented system, where students sit the Ujian Pencapain Sekolah Rendah, Penilain Menengah Rendah and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examinations in the 11 years of schooling, should be reviewed for the transformation of the education system.
The purpose of examinations should be to assess, evaluate and reform.
Public examinations are the benchmark of the education system by which stakeholders can assess students’ aptitude and knowledge.
The Year Six examinations consists of standardised tests to gauge whether pupils are qualified to enrol for elite boarding and premier secondary schools.
The PMR examination segregates science students from arts students for Form Four.
The UPSR and PMR examinations are outdated and redundant. The largely multiple choice format questions of both examinations are not a reliable and valid indicator to gauge the aptitudes, abilities and cognitive skills of students.
The shift towards a knowledge- based economy needs a reformation and a rethink of our attitude towards education and examinations.
The social, economic and learning needs of society, nation and students are ill-served by an overemphasis on rote learning, or learning by memorising.
Rote learning and the multiple- choice format questions result in the regurgitation of facts and reduction in critical, creative and independent thinking.
The purpose of examinations is to assess, evaluate and reform.
Only a minority of bright students who score a string of As are selected and sent to elite schools. A majority of students who do not score high grades in the examinations are promoted automatically to a higher standard.
No remedial or reform classes are conducted to help students who fare poorly.
Primary school children should master the 3 Rs of reading, writing and arithmetic before they go to secondary school.
However, many move on to secondary school after their UPSR examination even though they are unable to read or write. No remedial classes are held for children in secondary school.
They remain illiterate till they leave school in Form Five.
The news report, “3 boys have last laugh with UPSR pass” (NST, Nov 18), talked about three boys, who were prevented from taking the UPSR examination initially by their school as they were deemed “not clever” and for fear that they would bring down the overall school results in the UPSR examination , but they scored a pass.
Their UPSR results were 2Cs and 3Es, 4Es and 1D and 2Es and 3Ds.
They will now continue to Form One but teachers teaching them will not be in laughing mood.
It is the same with the PMR examination.
After PMR, all students are promoted to Form Four, irrespective of their grades. A single pass enables the student to progress to Form Four.
The non-academically-inclined students create disciplinary problems for teachers.
Indiscipline in schools is related to the exam-oriented system, which emphasises on the academic inclination of students.
The reason why students go to school and study is to pass an examination. Teachers teach lessons tailored more for students to excel in examinations.
School examinations do not boost creativity and innovation with multiple-choice format questions.
Examinations also do not encourage students to be involved in sports and co-curricular activities.
A school-based assessment system — consisting of project work, observations, attendance, mini tests, quizzes and oral presentation, which is labour saving, economical and more appropriate for schools — should be adopted in place of the UPSR and PMR examinations.
By Samuel Yesuiah, Seremban, Negri Sembilan
Source: The NST Opnion Lettes to the Editor 13 December 2011