Students’ academic, non-academic performance will count in the final assessment
OVER the past week, tears of joy and anguish flowed along the corridors of secondary schools nationwide as school leavers received the results of the Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations. Joy was written on the faces of the top-scorers and those who never expected to pass but did, while those who expected to excel but didn't, perhaps falling short of an A or two, were a picture of disappointment and dejection.
In some rare cases in the past, disappointment over less than stellar results had driven students to suicide, as in the case of the 17-year-old boy who consumed pesticide after failing several subjects in the SPM. Such is the pressure our education system exerts that success is measured only by the number of As in one's scores. The introduction of the School-Based Assessment, or PBS (Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah), therefore, is a welcome change as the academic and non-academic performance of students will now be taken into account in the final assessment. The system seeks to take the pressure off students by reducing the over-reliance on examination grades to gauge their performance and move towards a more holistic education development. Under the new system, the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) exam will now be replaced with the Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3) where students will receive a set of four result slips -- the PT3 result, the School-Based Assessment (PBS), a psychometric assessment and a sports assessment. Schools will then decide, based on all four assessments, which stream a student is best suited for, thus helping parents and students make a more informed decision on the selection of streams.
To this end, the Education Ministry will be conducting training for all subject teachers in secondary schools nationwide from April to August to facilitate the success of the PT3 assessment which will be conducted by individual schools between October and November. This means there is a one-month window from the end of the training session to the start of the PT3 assessment. Parents, like most students, hope teachers would have been sufficiently trained within those five months to ensure the smooth implementation of the PT3. They are understandably cautious given the many teething problems that surfaced when the PBS was rolled out. It is fervently hoped that adequate preparations had been made by the authorities to ensure the PT3 is able to run without glitches.
NST Opinion Editorial 23 March 2014