Sunday, 24 May 2020

Letters: Still in the dark about 2021 SPM examination

IT has been more than two months since the Malaysian Examinations Board released the exam format for SPM 2021. But until today, it is yet to release even one sample paper that ties the newly-established format with the content of the new syllabus.

If you ask teachers about the content of the exam papers for SPM 2021, most will say they have no idea and are still waiting for more information from the Education Ministry.

Even English teachers have no idea what types of essay and writing questions will be tested in SPM 2021 as the new format now has three writing sections for Paper 2 instead of the usual two in the previous SPM papers.

Worse, SPM 2021 will now have oral and listening exams that represent a shocking third of their grades. SPM 2021 students have zero to limited resources to practise for these papers, so how are they supposed to prepare for them? Are we going to see another disastrous national-level exam result for SPM 2021 like we saw in UPSR 2016 and PT3 2019?

The lack of sample papers has forced teachers, parents and students to prepare for SPM 2021 without any guidance. They are actually flying blind. They have no idea what will be tested in the Malay Language paper or what would be the compulsory essay question for Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

This is actually the trend that we have been witnessing since 2011. Students born in 2004 have long been placed at the mercy of last-minute changes. On top of this, they are now almost two months away from their schools and with no reopening date in sight, they might not return to their classrooms anytime soon.

While SPM 2020 candidates have many reference and practice books on the market and 15 months of normalcy to prepare for their exams, SPM 2021 candidates have had only three months of normal schooling before the pandemic turned their lives upside down. Even Form 5 textbooks for them are yet to be published, forcing them to wait and slow down their preparations.

In elite schools, teachers do little teaching and instead dump a lot of homework on students. Hence, students’ understanding of the subject matter has deteriorated.

It is high time for the Education Ministry to use television as a tool for teaching. All those guru cemerlang (outstanding teachers) could be recruited to do teaching on television while we wait for schools to reopen. You do not need expensive visuals to teach via television; white boards and passionate teachers are all you need.

It is also high time for the Malaysian Examinations Board to release sample papers for SPM 2021 candidates. It is also the right time to train all teachers in Malaysia on the content, format and marking requirements for SPM 2021.

SPM 2021

Subang Jaya

Source: The Star

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