Archive for the ‘Assessment and Evaluation’ Category

Exam dates rescheduled

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

PETALING JAYA: The Education Ministry has rescheduled centralised and other major examinations following the extension of the movement control order until April 14.

For the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) exam dates, the written portion will now be conducted in one phase from Nov 16 to Dec 7.

Originally, the first phase was to start from Oct 5-14 while the second phase was from Nov 2-19.

The Form Three Assessment (PT3) which is scheduled for Sept 28 to Oct 6 will see the Bahasa Malaysia and English Language papers held on Sept 28 and Sept 29 respectively.

However, the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examination dates remained unchanged, said the ministry in a statement.

The Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) Semester 2 examination which was initially scheduled for early May has been postponed to Nov 18,19,23 and 24 while the Semester 3 examination will take place as scheduled on Nov 3,4, 5,9 and 10.

The Semester 2 examination was rescheduled to give ample time for schools to manage the remaining second semester.

Separately, all public institutions of higher education (IPTA) must begin the second semester for the current academic year between April 27 and June 1.

The Higher Education Ministry said the decision was made following the extension of the MCO.

“The decision was made after an in-depth discussion with representatives from all IPTAs and private higher education institutions (IPTS) and taking into consideration several factors, ” it said in a statement.

The ministry said among the factors were the latest MCO period and directives regarding Covid-19, students’ safety and welfare, and the Hari Raya holidays which would start on May 24.

The ministry added that it had considered the readiness of higher education institutions to implement teaching and learning using a variety of methods, including online learning, and also the need to end the current semester and begin the new 2020/2021 academic year.

“The first semester of the new academic year is expected to begin in mid-October 2020, ” it said, adding that IPTS were free to choose their own dates based on their own academic calendars and taking into account the above factors.

“Based on this, IPTAs need to manage the return of their students to the campus and take into account the above factors.”

Read more @

Education Ministry washes its hands of Zakir Naik exam question issue

Monday, December 30th, 2019

PETALING JAYA: The Education Ministry’s Higher Education Department will not interfere in the matter of exam questions from a public university that went viral, on the basis of “autonomy with accountability”.

The department said some questions from Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) included lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-related questions, Jawi consolidation and Zakir Naik being an “icon” of the Islamic world.

“We will not interfere in the conduct of academic programmes as we hold to the concept of autonomy with accountability.

“Through this, the university is responsible to all stakeholders, including students and the public, ” said the department in a statement Monday (Dec 30).

The department added that every university has an internal and external quality assurance system.

“Academic committees of each university (including the university senate) are responsible for their academic standards, ” it said.

UniMAP is expected to provide further clarification on this issue, the department added.

It also said that it constantly monitors universities’ excellence through a number of matrices such as graduates marketability, institutional excellence, and the university’s impact on industry and society.

The question is believed to be part of the university’s Ethnic Relations Course, and the test was held on Sunday (Dec 29).

The question reads: “Zakir Naik is one of the icons of the Islamic world, he is very active in spreading true Islam and following the Quran and Sunnah of Rasullah SAW. He is able to reason and to answer every question that is asked to him. However, in Malaysia, he is no longer allowed to deliver speeches. In your opinion, as a Malaysian, why does this happen?”

The answers provided were: (1) Malaysians do not bother getting actual information; (2) Malaysians are sensitive and feel threatened for no reason; 3) Malaysians just follow the crowd without verifying any information; or

4) Malaysians are ignorant about their own religion.

The multiple-choice question allows the student to choose more than one answer.

In August, Zakir was banned from delivering public speeches in Malaysia after he insulted Malaysians of Chinese and Indian descent, and is known for criticising other religions.

He was at the recent Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019, saying he was there at the invitation of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.


Read more @

Focus on students’ development

Thursday, December 12th, 2019
Higher Order Thinking Skills must be executed in stages. FILE PIC

THE Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results are out.

Our education system reform appears to be heading in the right direction. Let’s hope for more progressive moves to secure a better position.

Interestingly, the results had caused many to steer their interest towards HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills). Some teachers are showing a genuine interest to learn the techniques needed to handle HOTS questions and are even requesting courses to be held to assist them. Kudos to them.

However, no amount of courses is going to help if the basic skills of thinking are not honed among the students.

Analytical, critical and creative thinking are the basis for tackling such questions. These skills are important as they have a profound impact not just on the exam results but also on a student’s future.

Contrary to general belief, HOTS cannot be taught in isolation but has to be integrated into lessons and made an integral part of teaching and learning.

HOTS questions expect students to apply, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information instead of simply recalling facts. Unfortunately, I seldom see these skills given due importance in schools.

In the quest to secure good grades, memorising and recalling skills are glorified, leaving critical thinking critically abandoned.

It should be executed in levels, beginning with knowledge or remembering which then has to be gradually moved to understanding, applying, analysing, evaluating and finally, creating.

It’s sad to see our students’ progress slows down after the initial two levels.

Remembering facts are still given paramount importance in many schools.

Producing desirable results is demanded from teachers and oftentimes, they bow to this pressure thus becoming mechanical in their approach and techniques in delivering knowledge.

Instilling HOTS skills consumes time and many do not have the patience.

It’s high time we focus on a holistic development of our students — intellectual, spiritual, emotional, as well as physical dimensions — and arm them with the much-needed skills.


Read more @

Form Four elective subjects: Subject packages instead based on interests and capabilities

Thursday, November 28th, 2019

Education deputy director-general Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim.

KUALA LUMPUR: Form Four students will not be allowed to choose elective subjects solely at their whims and fancies.

Education Ministry deputy director-general (policy and curriculum) Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim (pic) said instead they will be given subject packages which cater to their interests and capabilities.

“It is not totally open and flexible,” she said during a briefing on the new subject package options for Form Four students.

This new system will come into effect in 2020, affecting this year’s Form Three students.

She said the new packages will allow students to pick up to five elective subjects and mix between the subjects.

Habibah added that there are two main packages – STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and literature and humanities.

She also said the subject packages offered to students will depend on the capabilities, availability, suitability (facilities/infrastructure), as well as consideration of each school.

There had been a lot of confusion among the public when Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik announced that Form Four students will no longer be streamed into Science and Arts last month.

Stakeholders were questioning how this would be implemented with many worrying about how it will affect students’ chances of pursuing their tertiary studies.

Entry requirements to higher education institutions are based on certain subject combinations.

Read more

Maszlee: Govt still waiting for UEC review committee report

Sunday, September 29th, 2019

KLUANG: The government is awaiting reports from the special task force on the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) before deciding if the certificate should be recognised nationwide, says Dr Maszlee Malik (pic).

“We need to get reports from the committee’s findings first before we can decide on it.

“Once we have received it, the ministry would then bring it forward for the Cabinet to make a decision,” said the Education Minister.

He said this to reporters after attending the Sentuhan Kasih Program at SMK Dato Abd Rahman Andak in Simpang Renggam here Sunday (Sept 29).

Dr Maszlee was reported as saying in Parliament that the special committee would consult with stakeholders, collect feedback and compile data on UEC.

When asked to comment on Sabah’s decision to recognise the UEC, Dr Maszlee said it was a choice the state had made on its own.

It was earlier reported that the Sabah state government had given the nod to UEC, making it the fifth state to do so after Sarawak, Selangor, Penang and Melaka.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the state Cabinet had made the decision to recognise UEC holders for enrolment into local institutes of higher learning as well as employment in the state civil service.

However, this comes with conditions including getting a credit in Bahasa Melayu and a pass in History at the SPM level as well as a pass in the Malaysia University English Test (MUET).

The UEC is a standardised test organised by the United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (Dong Jiao Zong) based on the curriculum taught in Independent Chinese Secondary Schools (ICSS).

UEC is recognised as an entrance qualification in many international tertiary educational institutions in Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, China and some European countries, as well as most private colleges in Malaysia.

Read more @

Grading system limits our children’s mindset

Monday, September 16th, 2019
Our education system is a vital ingredient for solid and sustainable nation-building. FILE PIC

OUR education system serves numerous long-term goals. At the humanity level, it is responsible in educating the people.

At the economic level, it plays the function of a human capital developer for current and future market needs.

At the societal level, it plays the role of a social engineer, to ensure that the human capital it produces can be the driver of values and provide livelihood for current and future generations.

And at the political level, it serves as one of the instruments of patriotism.

Together, they make our education system a vital ingredient for solid and sustainable nation-building.

The issue, however, is the method we use to measure our achievements — the grading system.

Growing up, I have always wondered how is it that the children of teachers are always able to score highly in exams compared with others.

I was told then that this was because they had inherited the ‘genius’ genes of their parents, hence enabling them to understand things better and quicker, relative to other students.

It was only much later in life that I realised the actual shape of these ‘genius’ genes was a bundle of papers entitled ‘Buku Skema Jawapan’ or samples of past examination papers.

It seemed that our whole education system is so immersed in the pursuit of excellence, that it has forgotten the real excellence lies not in schools, but in life after school.

When its proper function as a means to an end is properly understood, the grading system used in our education system can be a strong tool for many purposes.

The grading system is causing our children to have a limited mindset, one that is characterised not by the long-term benefits of their learning, but the short-term gains of their academic standing.

In reality, when we express the merits of our students’ educational excellence through the system of grades 1,2,3, or A, B, C, the first thing that we are teaching them is not the pursuit of excellence, but rather, the formation of the us versus them mentality.

While the grading system is designed to enable educators to identify the weak learners, and allocate more focus on them, in reality, students are pressured by the mounting workload and expectations to deliver more As

Furthermore, our educators would be more likely to focus on those who have potential compared with the lesser performing ones.

The weak students will be demoralised when they realise they can’t make it to the top 5 or the top 10 students.

It is evident that we are actively pushing not for a holistic development of our students, but rather the formation of a successful minority and unsuccessful majority of the future.

Worse, these successful minority might not even be able to sustain their success, once they start their careers after graduation.

While it is true that the market demands graduates with technical abilities to drive operations, the real driver of the market will be by those who are humane with community values.

The economic cycle is characterised by ups and downs, and that being the case, the main determinant of success within the market is not solely the strength of academic qualifications, but rather, the strength of the person’s character.

This is the chief reason why we always come across successful businessmen with an unsuccessful academic record.

Human capital is not something that we can measure through a numerical or an alphabetical grading system; it is something that we measure by gauging our students’ ability to solve real-world problems, and how effective they are at bringing people together.

This grading system was inherited from the Western education system and already we are witnessing its negative repercussions.

But then again, success is never a destination — it is a journey, and all journeys begin with the first step.


Read more @

Re-sitting exam: Waste of time?

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

THERE are many students who have done very badly in their final examinations and do not know what to do next. They feel lost and withdraw themselves into their own world.  Whenever you ask them to re-sit, they are not very happy. They give many reasons for not doing so. They actually need help and guidance.

David (student)

David, for instance, failed his A levels. In fact he did very badly. Actually David is a very smart student.

He passed his SPM with flying colours. He didn’t really know what to do next. During an education exhibition, there was this college offering one – year A Levels.

They convinced him and his parents that he need not waste two years doing his Pre-U. He can take a short cut and save one-year.

Since he is a bright student, he can sail through his A Levels without any doubt.

With the assurance he got from the college, he enrolled for the one-year A Levels. Unfortunately, he was unable to cope.

In the Primary and secondary schools he studied everything in Bahasa Malaysia.

Most of the subjects were in Bahasa Malaysia. Suddenly, he has to do all the subjects (Physics, Chemistry, Biology) in English. Firstly, his English was weak. Secondly all the subject terminologies were in English.

He was struggling with his studies. When the results came out, he found that he had failed miserably.

The college told him that he could study on his own and re-sit. He tried that too but he was not successful. He failed again. He lost almost RM 40,000 doing his A Levels.

Today he just locks himself in his room and wants to be left alone. He is very reserved and feels very shy.

All his friends who did Matriculation and STPM have gone into tertiary education. As for David, he is still stuck with his A Levels.

The elders in his family advised him to enroll in another college and re-sit for the A Levels. But David is hesitating to do so.

Students like David must face reality. They have been studying in the Bahasa Malaysia stream for eleven years.

Suddenly, if they want to switch to taking A Levels in the English Stream it is not going to be easy.

Firstly he must master his English. Next he has to learn the subject terminologie  in English. This is going to take time.

The College should not have misled David. If he had taken the two-year A Levels, perhaps he would have coped with his studies.

What should he do next?

There are several options:

(a) He could enroll himself in a college and re-sit for his A Levels. Although his peers will be laughing at him from behind his back, but who cares. This is your life. You do what you feel is right. Ignore their remarks.

(b) He could switch to a different Pre-U such as SAME, Foundation Program, Diploma Programme, etc. There are “stiff” Pre-U programmes and “easier” programmes. Many easier Pre-U programmes are based on 60pc course work and 40pc final exam. Why not bite what you can chew?

(c) Find out about your ambition. Which career are you thinking of? Look at the various routes. There are competitive courses which requires you to have a good A Levels. There are also courses which only requires just any Pre U. You can also do a Diploma and reach your career path.  Be realistic.

Re-sitting exams

When you sit for an exam many factors could influence your results. You may be sick on the examination day and you didn’t do well in your examination. You had “examination fever.”

Your spotted topics that did not come out in the exam.

You misunderstood the question and wrote out of point. The examination format was changed and you didn’t know. You were not really prepared.

Something happened on your way to the examination hall. Someone close to you passed away.

Whatever it is, please re-sit and give yourself another chance. You don’t have to worry about what your peers or people around would say. This is your life. If you want to re-sit, it is your choice.

by K. Krishnan.

Read more @

Is MUET the right assessment?

Sunday, June 9th, 2019

THE dust has yet to settle on the Education Ministry directive instructing English option teachers to sit for the Malaysian University English Test (MUET).

Teachers, who are key to the successful implementation of the programmes aimed at improving English, are unhappy with the directive. And, they’ve taken to social media to question the rationale of it.

A secondary English option teacher who only wanted to be known as Chan, thinks it is not the “right instrument” to gauge the proficiency and ability of teachers to teach the language.

Having taught for two decades, she says it impractical and unnecessary, to have over 20,000 English teachers sit for the exam by December.

“Allow us to attend conferences and conventions so English teachers can pool our resources and help each other.

“Even a mentor-mentee programme within the school, helps. This MUET idea is just a knee jerk reaction that has no long term benefit,” she says.

The Selangor teacher questions the need for English teachers to sit for the test, instead of going through upgrading exercises such as attending conferences and seminars.

Such exercises, she says, are more beneficial than tests. What happens to teachers who don’t do well in the test, she asks.


“If teachers who do not fare well are removed, who will take over the lessons? And if they are not removed, then why bother testing?

“Will there be interventions to help teachers pass?”

She feels the move will discourage teachers, who are already bogged down with many changes in the system, from teaching English.

While it is unlikely that the ministry will budge, a meeting with stakeholders was held to discuss improving the quality of English language education in the country.

Education director-­general Datuk Dr Amin Senin says the ministry was willing to listen to the voices of teachers.

A closed-door meeting with the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP), Sarawak Teachers’ Union and the Sabah Government Teachers Union (KGKS) was held in Putrajaya last week.

“We received constructive feedback and input from the unions.

“Various aspects were discussed during the meeting, including the rationale behind the implementation of the English Language Education Reform in Malaysia: The Roadmap 2015-2025,” says Dr Amin.

Abdul Basith doesn’t mind taking proficiency tests to gauge his competency in the language, but MUET just “isn’t good enough”.

The English option teacher from a primary school in Selangor says qualified English teachers have degrees, masters and some even a PhD in the language.

“Why should they revert to MUET?

“I wouldn’t mind other international standard tests but (with MUET), even the competency of invigilators and examiners are questionable.

“Who are they? Are they qualified?” he asks.

He, however, supports the need to gauge the proficiency of language teachers.

“I believe in always upgrading oneself but please use another assessment test, not MUET.”

Faridah Kassim from SMK Aman Jaya also disagrees with the directive. She teaches English to Forms Four and Five.

Instead of theoretically testing a teacher’s proficiency and competency, she says practical courses and training should instead be provided.

“MUET is a pre-university test. Many English option teachers have much higher qualifications. It’s not a good gauge of proficiency.

“Making us sit for MUET feels like a downgrade.”

According to the Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta), proficiency is important, but it’s not the sole indicator of a teacher’s competency.

There are limitations to using standardised tests to assess English language teachers, Melta says, such as MUET not aligning to the objective of the ministry’s initiative to test teachers’ competency.

“MUET is a four-skill assessment designed for varsity entry and to assess students’ ability to manage academic requirements in higher education.

“The test is neither focused on teaching, nor on context and language English teachers are likely to use.

“So how can the test results be mapped against the language competency needs of English teachers?”.

There are other existing assessments designed to assess competency, the association says in a statement.

“Valid and reliable means to determine and assess an English teacher’s proficiency are a must if outcomes are to be accepted.

“Sustainable competency among English language teachers can be achieved if they are provided the appropriate environment and support programmes for their development and growth.”

Melta, however, commends the ministry for its initiatives to upgrade the quality of teaching English in the country.

“Melta is prepared to support the ministry in the move to improve English proficiency among students.”

Universiti Malaya Faculty of Education department of language and literacy education senior lecturer Dr Zuwati Hasim questioned whether it’s necessary for English language teachers to sit for the MUET, and the rationale behind it.

She says instructing teachers to sit for a test because of the poor performance among students in speaking the language, is not the best move.

“All English option teachers were screened and interviewed in order to be accepted into a teacher

training programme or into a Bachelor’s Degree of Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).

“By right, all English option teachers (would) have sat for at least one proficiency test, be it MUET or IELTS.

“Some teachers feel it is a downgrade and an act of distrust.

“We need to tackle the real issue, find the root cause. Are teachers solely to be blamed for the lack of English language proficiency among learners?” she asks.

Dr Zuwati says for an assessment to be valid, it should achieve what it was designed to measure.

MUET is used as an entry requirement into local universities, so how can it be a good gauge of English option teachers’ proficiency, she asks.

“Instead, the ministry can invest more on professional development training for teachers which should include pedagogical training as well as leadership training.”

NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan says while the union is engaging with the ministry on matters concerning MUET, it is also in discussion with the ministry on how to improve students’ competency in the English language.

“We have requested the ministry to bring in more stakeholders such as the Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia, the minister’s advisors on teaching of English, examination divisions, conducting teacher training and reviewing the curriculum.

“It’s only then we believe we can contribute effectively towards the goals as set out in the English Language Education Reform in Malaysia: The Roadmap 2015-2025,” he says.

While the uproar has yet to settle down for English option teachers, even non English option teachers find themselves in a limbo.

Education Ministry deputy director-general Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim told StarEdu it is not compulsory for non English language option teachers to sit for the test.

However, early last month, Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching says these teachers will have to sit for it to allow them to teach the language and to upskill themselves.

By Sandhya Menon
Read more @

ACCA exams to go on

Friday, June 7th, 2019

THE Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) written exam will continue as scheduled although the Hari Raya Aidilfitri public holiday is expected to fall on June 5 and 6, the Education Ministry said.

The exams are from June 3 to 7.

The ministry said in a statement, that 10,795 candidates will be sitting for the exam, which involves 37 exam centres in all states.

“The exam is conducted simultaneously at 400 exam centres in 170 countries around the world.

“Therefore, the June 2019 candidates are required to attend the exam at the centres as scheduled,” said the ministry last Wednesday.

The ministry said a total of 363 examiners were appointed on a voluntary basis.

Read more @

Ken Hwa sets target for three public exams

Friday, May 10th, 2019

KENINGAU: SMJK Ken Hwa here has set a target for this year based on its development programme and academic achievement, especially the school and students performances in the three public examinations namely the PT3, SPM and STPM last year.

Principal Chong Nyuk Choon said this involved development programmes such as classroom building (phase 2), mini auditorium and school infrastructure.

“As for the students’ academic achievement for PT3, the average grade target this year is 4.04 with 80 per cent passes while for SPM, the average grade target is 4.50 and 94 per cent passes and the STPM target is average grade of2.60 with 100 per cent passes,” he said at the launch of the School Target 2019.

The ceremony was launched by Chairman of the School Management Board, Pang Shu Hin, that saw teachers, students, parents, members of the School Management Board and Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) members attending.

Chong said co-curriculum achievements were also taken into account where 70 per cent uniformed unit, 97 per cent attendance, co-curriculum meeting, 35 per cent achieving Grade A in co-curriculum and 100 per cent pupils achieving at least Grade C.

He said the Student Personality Development target is 96 per cent and above in terms of annual attendance, 85 per cent on cleanliness and cheerfulness, less than three per cent in heavy discipline cases, 65 per cent attendance of parents compulsory functions in PTA KPI 1and KPI 2, 25 per cent parents attendance in other events.

“In conjunction with this ceremony, there was also incentive presentation for outstanding students in PT3, SPM, STPM exams last year and for Test 1.

“There was also the dialogue for Form Five and Test 1 Transcript Submission which were attended by parents of students and members of the School Management Board,” he said.

He urged the students to work harder and initiate healthy competition among them to excel.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Board of School Management, Pang Shu Hin, also urged the students to strive for success not only in education but also in life and that teachers must play their role in helping the students excel in their education.

By: Johan Aziz.

Read more @