Exams play role in holistic education

Sunday August 5, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/8/5/education/11759733&sec=education

THE School-Based Assessment (PBS) system is an issue burning in the hearts of many parents. Instead of exams, pupils’ performance in their studies are now based on assessments conducted by schools.

These assessments do not indicate where a child stands academically or specify his weaknesses.

They do not present figures that parents can refer to in identifying areas in which their children need special attention.

The assessment report only gives feedback on what the child is good at on a particular band and informs the parents that the child is prepared to proceed to the next band.

What happens if a child or a group of pupils in a particular class fails to achieve the required band? What does the teacher do?

Will the children remain in the same primary level and not proceed to the next level?

The system also requires teachers to constantly record every lesson manually. This requires loads of papers and also space to stack the records at the school.

Are we now moving towards a paperless world or a paper-filled world? The system appears dubious, even after two years of implementation.

In talking to some parents, I was amazed to find out that some schools are still conducting tests (formative) and two examinations (summative).

Most of the parents I spoke to agree with me that schools having their own examinations should be saluted.

I also came to know it was the Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) of the schools that proposed that exams be conducted.

I believe that schools which can make the most of the PBS as well as conduct examinations will better prepare young people to join the nation’s workforce.

Students who have gone through the rigours of preparing and sitting for examinations will be able to tackle challenges and cope with future successes and failures.

When preparing for examinations, students have to discipline themselves to study.

Examinations train the mind and the body to rise up to challenges. What is life without challenges? School is the best training ground. I don’t see where the abolition of exams will head to, other than producing children who are lazy and ill-prepared to face life’s many challenges.

In my opinion, the PBS system should be upheld along with summative tests at least twice a year that can be prepared by the teachers themselves.

S. SHARMINI