Archive for the ‘Assessment and Evaluation’ Category

Moving away from exam-oriented mentality

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017
Pupils taking the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah in Kuantan. Psychometric assessments are useful in helping students determine the most suitable academic courses by matching their personality profile with their ideal field of study and career. FILE PIC

THE Education Ministry’s decision to not compare states and schools when announcing the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) results on Nov 23 is laudable. There was no mentions of which states or schools had the most straight As, and the list of top scorers was also not an item at the press conference. Instead, Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin focused on the Primary School Assessment Report (PSSR).

PSSR is a holistic evaluation method that incorporates other competencies besides pupils’ performance in UPSR. Pupils were also evaluated on their involvement in sports and physical and co-curricular activities. All these, including classroom evaluation and psychometric reports, provide us with a better assessment of pupils.

For example, pupils were evaluated on their fitness through the body mass index (BMI) and participation in sports, while classroom evaluation comprised assessment on learning and about learning.

The psychometric evaluation looks at pupils’ psychological traits, natural abilities in music, linguistic skills and mathematical logic. It is understandable that the ministry is giving this more emphasis as it provides a clearer picture of the pupils’ overall potential. It is the way forward, as it complements the Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3), which also has school assessments and psychometric reports.

Educators have for a long time been interested in psychometric assessments for pupils. Educators, along with decision makers in related agencies, used the input to find ways to make studying and learning more meaningful for students. As a result, education, especially at the higher level, has become broad based, with universities and colleges offering a wide range of courses to not only meet the needs of industries or ensure their survival, but to also provide options based on students’ interests and strengths.

As it measures students’ aptitude, the psychometric assessment is useful in helping students determine the most suitable academic courses by matching their personality profile, including their preferred lifestyle, with their ideal field of study and career.

Students can make better sense of this situation with the help of counsellors or private education consultants to plan academic progression that may help them get ideal jobs.

Interest in psychometric evaluation is also widespread at the workplace. In job interviews, employers conduct similar assessments to evaluate candidates’ competency and personality to see how they will fit in the organisation. The assessment can be tailor-made to provide specific and targeted goals.

In the academic field, the outcomes of psychometric tests have also been used to optimise students’ potential.

A good example at the secondary level is Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). TVET includes formal, non-formal and informal learning that prepare young people with knowledge and specific skills.

To underscore that TVET is a priority, the government proposed an allocation of RM4.9 billion for next year to implement the TVET Malaysia Master Plan, including providing 100 TVET Excellent Students Scholarships worth RM4.5 million.


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Education D-G: Year Six pupils not judged solely on UPSR.

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017
PUTRAJAYA: Year Six pupils are no longer judged formally based on the number of As they score in their Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examination.
Starting this year, Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin (pic) said they will also receive formal reports for sports, physical and curriculum activities assessment; classroom assessment and psychometric assessment.
All these components are part of the Primary School Assessment Report (PPSR) or Pelaporan Pentaksiran Sekolah Rendah, he said when announcing the PPSR report analysis on Thursday (Nov 23).
At the national level, sports, physical and curriculum activities assessment, UPSR and psychometric assessment give a general picture of the state of the primary school education system, he said.
“Overall, the results are good but there is still room for improvement,” said Dr Amin.
“Primary school pupils are assessed more meaningfully and holistically, and no longer just focused on their UPSR results.
A large portion of pupils showed good and excellent achievements in co-curricular activities with UPSR scores also improving this year.

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Assessment a bridge between teaching and learning

Thursday, November 16th, 2017
Idris Jusoh (centre) launching the MEA together with (from left) Noor Azlan Ghazali, UPSI chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin, Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching and Higher Education Department director general Datin Paduka Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir.Pic by MOHD KHAIRUL HELMY MOHD DIN

IN the era of globalisation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, English language plays an important role in commerce and technology, and at the workplace on the world stage.

To compete effectively, Malaysian graduates need more than academic qualifications alone.

Today’s employers expect graduates to possess smart social and soft skills, including the ability to communicate effectively.

The industry and talent recruiters say some job applicants lack communication skills and the Higher Education Ministry has taken steps to deal with this in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education).

The country needs a highly educated workforce with the right combination of knowledge and communication skills.

Tertiary institutions play an important role in raising the standard of English of the country’s graduates and future generations.

Recently, the ministry introduced the Malaysia English Assessment (MEA) which is embedded in the Ecosystem for English Language Learning and Assessment in Higher Education to nurture holistic, entrepreneurial and balanced graduates.


The MEA has three development phases. The first phase, which started in September, involves the construction of the Higher Education English Language Test Repository system — a “question bank” — developed by Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI).

This question bank will be used to construct standard Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) exam questions for the English empowerment programme in the public universities at the end of Semester 1, Session 2017-2018.

CEFR was originally developed to improve language teaching in Europe and it is recognised in practice as the international standard worldwide.

The second phase is the construction of test specifications for formal and informal assessments while the third phase outlines the MEA Guidebook and Test Repository Manual for users.

These developments are expected to be completed in stages by end of next year.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said assessment is not only critical to learning as it provides a bridge between teaching and learning, but it can also enhance the latter and drive a student’s educational experience.

“MEA will bring about a paradigm shift in the field of English language assessment,” he said at the launch of MEA in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

MEA consists of two components — formal assessment (MEA 1) and informal assessment (MEA 2).

Aligned with the CEFR, MEA 1 focuses on English proficiency and includes on-going assessments on listening, reading, writing and speaking. MEA 2 involves evaluating students’ ability to complete tasks using English in different situations comparable to those they will face when they enter employment.

CEFR includes a proficiency scale containing six levels from A1 to C2, and undergraduates are expected to improve their proficiency by at least one level, for example from B1 to B2, by the time they graduate.

In simple terms, the CEFR proficiency scale can be described as A1 (can communicate only about self); A2 (can communicate in simple and routine language); B1 (speaks with limited vocabulary); B2 (speaks fluently); C1 (able to teach English); and C2 (native speaker).

“Accomplishing the assessment tasks will require not only knowledge of English but also its appropriate use within a given cultural and social context,” added Idris.

MEA 2 requires students to go through a review of performance in engagement sites such as extra-curricular and co-curricular activities; interdisciplinary collaboration; online resources; community engagement; industry-academia collaboration; and global engagement, which should be regarded as part of learning (see infographics).

“It is to ensure that undergraduates are active participants in the assessment process, which is necessary for student-centred learning.

“This manner of engagement with English requires the use of a full range of capacities including the intellect, emotions, willpower and practical skills.

“In this way, learning English will be part of the student’s preparation for life after graduation. This is why we have to find ways of making more effective use of resources that are already available on campus.

“There are many informal opportunities for learning English on campus. We need to recognise them and make use of them.”

Chandra Sakaran Khalid and Zuwati Hasim


Dr Zuwati Hasim, a senior lecturer at the Language and Literacy Education Department in University of Malaya (UM), said learning and mastery of another language is an advantage, as being bilingual or multilingual opens up opportunities to build a global network.

She added that the mastery of the English language or accomplishing a certain level of English language proficiency is deemed necessary in the wake of globalisation as it is one of the widely used languages, other than German and French.

“Learning another language will not lower the status of the national language. Being able to communicate in English fluently adds value to graduates, especially in the workplace,” said Zuwati.

Various initiatives have been introduced to promote the learning of English at tertiary institutions such as making the language a part of the compulsory university curriculum.

Other projects include the introduction of English as the medium of instruction for content subjects, commonly known as Content and Language Integrated Learning in the European context.

Taylor’s University Centre for Languages and Cultural Studies head Chandra Sakaran Khalid said: “Today’s workforce is a global one and graduates need to converse ably in English and work well with counterparts from across the world.

“The assessment of performance under MEA, reported in the form of profiles, will provide indicators of students’ abilities and offer feedback on how to better empower students.

“The performance assessments will help teachers decide what to focus on and how to effectively guide students,” added Chandra, a member of a committee set up by the ministry to implement the English Ecosystem at public universities.

“Dr Thilagavathi Shanmuganathan from UM and I proposed that the English Ecosystem, specifically the Global Engagement aspect which we worked on, be implemented as a learning tool at public universities.

“Students from public universities will spend time overseas with partner institutions as a result of the introduction of summer programmes under the Global Engagement platform via MEA 2.

“This global exposure allows undergraduates to form connections with fellow students, both at their home university and partner institution, which will enable them to be more socially and culturally aware,” said Chandra.

Thilagavathi and Chandra came up with this learning tool after using Taylor’s University mobility programmes as a case study.

By Zulita Mustafa.

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Don’t measure success by just good grades.

Sunday, October 29th, 2017
Despite dropping out of college, the late Steve Jobs was a successful entrepreneur and billionaire.

Despite dropping out of college, the late Steve Jobs was a successful entrepreneur and billionaire.

MOST educators and parents focus on making sure their children obtain good scores in school tests or major exams.

Attaining high grades, is seen as the “passport” to high-paying jobs and future success.

This is a statement of fact for there is no one who would want to hire someone without knowledge, skills and competence in the work place.

However, let me point out that there are more successful people and self-made millionaires who did not earn good grades or grade point average (GPAs) in their studies.

More successful people have not always been A students. Who or where you are from in terms of one’s background or status, does not determine who you will be.

To achieve something successful, you need to work for it. It is loaded with entanglements, impediments, disappointments, and oversights.

Achievements require consistency, and mental and emotional toughness, in defeating these entanglements.

Successful individuals are good at postponing satisfaction.

They are capable of holding temptation and overcoming fear in order to do what they need to do. They are bold and brave.

Such qualities require mental strength and toughness, so it’s no coincidence these are some of the traits of successful people.

Successful people go for lifelong learning, they never try to stop learning and getting all the knowledge needed.

Just because you were once a ‘C’ or ‘D’ student does not necessarily mean you will be that way forever.

Your IQ can change, but you are the one who needs to change that.

Successful people will definitely not sit idle, they think out of the box and come out with unique concepts and innovations.

The late Steve Jobs dropped out of college yet he became a successful entrepreneur and was co-founder of Apple Incorporated.

Among those who dropped out of school but pursued their passion to have highly successful lives are singer Elton John and Bill Gates.There are many different types of intelligences and exam scores and grades only measure a select few.

A GPA does not measure a person’s ability to think outside of the box and solve problems. It does not measure a person’s emotional intelligence nor does it look at a person’s leadership ability.

These qualities are just as important to an individual’s success in life and almost none of them are measured by grades.

Grades, GPAs and standardised test scores largely measure one’s ability to answer questions and regurgitate information and not much else. This is why our world isn’t run by valedictorians and straight A students. For every CEO of a major company that graduated with a 4.0 GPA, there are scores more who did not.

What matters in business, and in life, is pursuing goals with a sense of purpose. There are many who are not as ambitious when it comes to academic goals.

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Is education a journey or a race?

Sunday, October 15th, 2017
In today’s competitive world, the rat race starts early. Excellent grades in academic subjects are the primordial benchmark that sets kids apart from their peers. FILE PIC

UPSR, SPM, STPM, GCE — just a few of the acronyms haunting many young minds at this time of the year. Young minds and their parents alike.

Remember the days when everything was a race? First to reach the bathroom in the morning, first to down their Milo, first to call shotgun for the ride to school. First to sit on the swing at recess, first in line for canteen lunch. First on the school bus to secure the best seat and first to reach the front door and ring the bell. A happy childhood consisted mostly of healthy competition among friends and siblings, a race to be the first in all things that, from an adult’s perspective, don’t really matter.

Most children gladly put their competitive mind to rest between recess and lunch. Pupils used to run out of the classroom, not into it. Hardly anyone pushed and shoved to be the first at the blackboard and try their luck at a complex math formula. Oh, happy childhood days. Not the most ambitious of times, but happy days, nonetheless.

So, what happened? Instead of a rambunctious crowd, today’s pupils march in single file from their parents’ cars onto the school grounds, born down by a school bag so big and heavy that the child who carries it could easily find space to sit in it herself. If Malaysian schools run two sessions per day, a fact that absolutely boggles the outsider’s mind, where are all the students that have the other half of the day off?

Why are they not playing outside, in their front yard, in the neighbourhood park? Why are they not hanging out at the local mall or mamak stall? Where and when are today’s children being children, where are the nation’s teens being pubescent?

Youngsters have no time to be childlike, or rebellious, or sullen, or dreaming, anymore. Youngsters are at tuition. They are at tuition centres that have popped up all over the country like “mushrooms growing after the rain”, to borrow a local saying.

In today’s competitive world, the rat race starts early. Excellent grades in academic subjects are the primordial benchmark that sets kids apart from their peers; the yardstick that determines a parent’s measure of success at their job as a progenitor.

Academic excellence is a must in secondary school; it is even the norm in primary school. Parents and guardians send their scions for after school tuition up to seven days a week. Gymnastics and piano lessons are squeezed in somewhere in between.

The “Asian F” is a very real notion. It is the widespread understanding that an A- is not good enough. The pressure on school children and their parents is growing to unhealthy proportions.

At the same time, many life skills are thrown overboard in a constant effort to be the best among the best. Professors in tertiary education lament the fact that they lecture classes of exceptionally well-instructed students who don’t understand what further education is all about. Students are bright and diligent, but they don’t know how to think critically, how to build an argument, how to debate, or how to work towards a solution as a team.

If parents and schoolchildren willingly submit to the burden of pushing for always better grades, it is in an effort to be best prepared for the real rat race, the demands of modern career perspectives.

However, it seems that academic excellence is not the whole ticket. Employers undoubtedly look favourably upon perfect scores. But, recruiters also look for attributes such as individuality, drive, passion, curiosity. These aren’t skills learned in the classroom, nor in a tuition centre, no matter how well intentioned the teachers and tutors might have been. These character traits are fashioned on the playground, on a football field, in a band, even while playing video games.

At first glance, this argument might come across as irresponsible, dismissive of academic values, rebellious even. It is not. It is simply an attempt at widening the scope of modern education.

A healthy education should be a marvelous journey, not a race. It is a plea for restoring a childhood that leaves space for learning how to fail, in order to better succeed, a childhood that is given the opportunity to grow at one’s individual pace.

It is an appeal, to give children the chance to spend time in a meadow, so that they know how to stop and smell the roses when they grow up.


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Sarawak’s Ranking Based On Public Exam Result Worrying – Michael Manyin

Friday, September 8th, 2017

KUCHING, Sept 6 (Bernama) — Sarawak’s position at 13th ranking based on the average overall student passes in public examinations is a cause for concern for the state government, said Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong.

He said the ranking needed to be improved to at least 10th position so that Sarawak would not continue to be left behind in education compared to other states in Peninsular Malaysia.

“What is more worrying is the very low average passes in Science and Mathematics subjects, at only 23 per cent compared to the national target of 60 per cent,” he told a media conference after holding a dialogue with members of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly on the proposed merger of schools with low enrollment here today.

He said efforts to improve the passing rate of students in Sarawak, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects were vital to enable students from the state to compete with others at the university level.

Among the factors identified that contributed to the decline are poor education facilities, lack of teaching and learning resources, lack of qualified teachers for specialised subjects and a less competitive learning environment.

As such, he said his meeting with the Barisan Nasional assemblymen today was to discuss on how to overcome the problem among the students.

The Ministry of Education and Department of Education were also urged to provide better and adequate education infrastructure besides teaching staff who were specialists in certain subjects such as Science and Mathematics.

Manyin said currently there are 1,454 schools in Sarawak, comprising 190 secondary schools and the rest primary schools, with 1,020 schools being classified as in deplorable state and another 415 in a critically deplorable state.

At present 651 schools in Sarawak had student enrollment of 150 or less while 1,004 schools had less than 30 students.


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Success in life not defined by exam results.

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

AFTER every major public school examination, we see a media frenzy and much talk about the high achievers.

Pictures of the “superstars’ and their impressive results in exams such as Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), PT3 (Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga), Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) are always splashed across our dailies.

The SPM is a major examination for secondary school students and seen as a the first big hurdle. Students are under pressure to do well in the examination.

The outcome of SPM paves the way for college and tertiary admissions.

Students who excel are offered scholarships and grants to pursue degree programmes in prestigious foreign institutions.

So, students are from the start, under tremendous pressure from their parents and teachers to score a string of As in the SPM.

Last year, over 8,400 students scored all As (A+, A & A-) while 102 scored A+ in all subjects.

The super high achievers represent less than 2% of the over 450,000 students who sat for the SPM last year.

The celebration and adoration for the super achievers in the media is justified because these exemplary students were able to excel in each of the papers they sat for.

It must also be noted that not all students are academically inclined. So, not all students can score a string of As in school or major examinations.

Some students are physically, emotionally and mentally challenged and learning or studying is not their forte. Students who did not do well in SPM may feel down and dejected.

Many parents and students think that scoring As in any examination can lead to automatic success in life.

Somehow it has been ingrained through our emphasis on the examination system that scoring As can guarantee an individual a good life and success.

So does it mean that students who do not excel in their studies will not be successful?

Success is subjective and it differs from one individual to another.

It is difficult to define success. To some, success is equated with having big houses, driving fast cars and having lots of money.

However, to others, success is about having a job which is able to provide one with the comforts of life – food and a roof over their heads.

Yet to others, being successful is being healthy and happy.

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Mahdzir: Parents too fixated on academics

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

CYBERJAYA: Parents’ fixation with As are making them neglect their children’s holistic achievements under the Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga (PT3), said Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

“It has become a culture across the board in our society to achieve (as many) As (as possible).

“When the PT3 results are announced, reports on all four assessments – physical, sports and co-curricular activities as well as a psychometric – are released, but no one looks at these assessments as everyone just wants to see how the child has performed in their academics,” Mahdzir told reporters yesterday after witnessing the signing of a note of understanding between the ministry and the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit.

The two parties are looking to upgrade the ministry’s data centre into a Public Service Data Centre.

Mahdzir said the ministry would work towards improving communication with the public in fixing the public’s perception that only academics counts.

“This is the future of our education, where holistic assessments are carried out instead of having exams like in the past,” he said.

“Maybe we need to change the way the PT3 results slip look,” he said, adding that this was because the first slip a student receives is that of their academic assessment followed by the other three.

He said on Monday that PT3 was a holistic assessment of students based on continuous assessments by the school, which is responsible for the administration, marking of examination scripts and release of the results.

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Testing and supporting struggling students

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

The Education Ministry has come up with a test that assesses pupils with learning difficulties and helps them define their strengths and skills, to move on to the next level.

THE Year Six boy carefully counts the change and hands the money to his “customer” on the other side of the counter.

The “customer’ has bought some popiah from his “stall’ to have for her mid-morning break.

Just behind him is his teacher who observes the transaction. She takes note of the cash he has as the boy puts it away in the till.

The teacher’s presence at the “stall” is to grade her pupil for his basic counting ability and his interactive and conversational skills with his customer.

Her rating of the pupil is a requirement that has been outlined in the Pentaksiran Alternatif Sekolah Rendah (PASR).

Introduced in February, the PASR is an assessment to gauge pupils with learning disabilities who have between six and eight years of schooling. It is similar in concept to how mainstream Year Six pupils are gauged in the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR).

The PASR objective is to assess pupils’ aptitude for numbers, their ability to interact with others and learn a skill.It also aims to measure the achievement and the development level of special needs pupils using an integrated assessment approach which encourages meaningful learning by using skills that can be applied in real life.

Prior to the PASR implementation, pupils with learning disabilities did not have any alternative to cater to their learning needs.

In fact, there has so far been no centralised assessment at all for special needs pupils.

While no single test or evaluation can capture a child’s full spectrum of strengths and challenges, an assessment like the PASR helps teachers gauge their pupils to some extent.

Examinations Syndicate Alternative Assessment Development Sector head Mohd Satar Ramli says the Education Ministry wanted a fair way to assess these pupils.

“We explored and studied the assessment instruments used in foreign countries and found that they had modified their mainstream syllabus to suit the pupils’ needs,” he adds.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (second from left) presents Khoo Jenny (second from right), a special needs student from SK Bukit Rahman Putra, Sungai Buloh, with her PASR certificate. — File photo

“We didn’t want to modify the national syllabus for special needs pupils just for the sake of doing so,” he adds, saying that the ministry wants to make sure the assessment report has a purpose in helping and defining the pupil’s development to the next level.

He says the ministry is taking a “gentle approach’’ as the children are sensitive.

In 2016, 2,550 pupils from 738 schools took the PASR.

One of the ways the ministry is using a gentle approach for this assessment is to do away with grades.

Instead, candidates are given a competency level ranking.

“They are either “not competent”, “competent” and “more than competent”.

Under the PASR, there is no “fail” or “distinction”.

“We are not judging them by grades, neither are we trying to sugar-coat and give false impressions,” he adds.

“This is what we call an authentic assessment.”

“The ministry believes that if a candidate is rated “not competent” in a skill, but continues to be taught and guided, he can become competent in that skill.

“We also do not want to draw comparisons among candidates as this will cause competition and that is not what the PASR is about,” he points out.

A comprehensive report is also given at the end of the assessment.

The PASR provides a holistic and comprehensive overview of what a child has picked up in primary school, says Mohd Satar.

Mohd Satar says that the candidates will receive a physical activity, sports and co-curricular assessment, and psychometric assessment reports as well.

Those who sit for the PASR must be from national, national-type and schools with special needs classes and integrated schools that are following the Primary School Standard Curriculum (KSSR) Special Education also known by its Malay acronym KSSRPK.

Only children who have completed the KSSRPK Level 2 can sit for the assessment.

Examinations Syndicate Alternative Assessment Development Sector assistant director Ku Azman Tuan Mat says candidates must also be in their final year of primary school, and since they have learning disabilities, they are allowed to take the exam between the ages of 12 and 14.

Assessment instruments

Mohd Satar says that the only thing “centralised” in the PASR is the assessment instrument and the scoring rubric used.

The PASR consists of two integrated assessment instruments carried out at the school level, better known as school-based assessments.

Pupils are given eight weeks to complete the instruments known as Special Project (ProKhas) 1 and four weeks to complete ProKhas 2.

ProKhas 1 consists of Bahasa Melayu, Mathematics and Life Skills carried out for eight weeks throughout July and August.

All the subjects are integrated and assessed concurrently through an activity.

Life Skills can be divided into four areas – farming (perkebunan), cooking (masakan), animal husbandry (penternakan) and sewing (jahitan).

For this year, the cooking assessment was based on making, marketing and selling popiah, and it was held in conjunction with Entrepreneur’s Day at the schools.

It is kept very flexible for these pupils as the teacher has a choice of assessing all four life skills or choosing only the best score.

Pupils with special learning needs undergo the PASR at the school level when they finish their primary education. — File photo

“It all depends on the candidate’s capabilities,” he says, adding that the life skill taught to the child would also depend on the facilities available in the school.

He adds that it does not matter how much popiah they sell but rather, whether they can communicate effectively, measure the ingredients correctly, follow the recipe taught to them and count the change meant to be given to their customers.

“What we want to measure is how they fare – whether they can read, write, speak and count correctly, as well as the knowledge, skills and values demonstrated in the 20 constructs in a holistic and integrated assessment,” he adds.

“They need to talk to their customers, they need to design a poster with words to promote their product — these are ways we assess their Bahasa Melayu skills.”


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New format to suit blueprint needs

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

The UPSR results cannot be compared to the results of previous years because there has been a change in the format this year, said Examinations Syndicate director Datin Nawal Salleh.

Explaining the sudden drop in UPSR 2016 results on Friday, Nawal said that the UPSR format was changed to suit the aspirations of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2015.

The format had remained the same for the past decade, she added.

Parents and pupils were upset with the results but Nawal pointed out those who scored straight this year were clearly “outstanding” and that set them apart from the rest of the candidates.

One of the aspirations of the Blueprint was to produce students who had thinking skills and this had been clearly reflected by those who scored straight As.

“They had strong thinking skills (in science), were able to elaborate and articulate well (in the language examinations), and could demonstrate clear steps when tackling mathematics questions,” she said.

On Thursday, Education director-general Tan Sri Khair Mohamad Yusof said that a total of 4,896 pupils scored straight They were 1.1% of the 440,782 candidates who sat for the examinations, compared to 38,344 or 17.7% out of 337,384 candidates last year, under the old format.

She said this year’s UPSR candidates were the first batch who used the new KSSR (Primary School Standard Curriculum) from 2011.

The UPSR is a centralised examination that is based on the KSSR, she reiterated.


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