MANY people are unhappy with the results of the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) because they feel the switch to the new format was too jarring.
This year, fewer than 5,000 pupils scored straight As out of the 440,782 who sat for the examinations in September. In contrast, 38,344 UPSR candidates had all As in 2015.
It is as if the pool of top Year Six students receded dramatically in just one year.
The Education Ministry has made it clear that it is not useful to make that comparison because the UPSR has been revamped this year in line with the recommendations of the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2015.
This is the first time that the examination is based on the Primary School Standard Curriculum (better known by its Bahasa Malaysia acronym KSSR), which the ministry began rolling out in 2011.
That means greater emphasis on higher-order thinking skills such as analysing, critical thinking, hypothesising and decision making
According to the Examinations Syndicate, this year’s As were awarded to those who showed strong thinking skills in the science papers, were able to elaborate and articulate well in the language subjects, and solved the mathematics questions using clear steps.
“We want to recognise the academic achievements of these excellent pupils and differentiate them from the normal pupils,” said Examinations Syndicate director Datin Nawal Salleh.
The trouble is, many of these “normal pupils” are accustomed to the idea that As are plentiful as long as they remember what the teachers taught and the questions they attempted before the UPSR.
Naturally, these 12-year-olds are shocked and dejected when their results fall short, particularly if they had done well in their trial exams. And their parents are upset, too.
In the world of business and management, this would have been diagnosed as a case of poorly managed expectations.
Students and parents were not ready for the fact that the As will not flow as easily as they used to, at least not during the early days of the new format.
And it appears that the schools and the ministry have not sent a clear message (until now, that is) that rote learning and predicting exam topics and questions, are no longer enough to produce high marks.
There is much about the new format that has to sink in, and questions remain about how well the students understand what is expected of them in the UPSR.
Meanwhile, this is the time for the adults to address the pupils’ confusion and dismay. These young ones need to understand what has happened and why.
It should be explained to the children that they need to see the results in the proper perspective. The Bs, Cs, Ds and Es – or the As, for that matter – do not represent the sum of a person. By no means do poor UPSR grades signify the end of the road.
The students need to learn about resilience and adaptability. And yes, the higher-order thinking skills will serve them well, too.
The Star Says.
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/the-star-says/2016/11/20/testing-time-for-upsr-candidates-and-parents/