In June 2010, the Minister of Education Muhyiddin announced the probability of UPSR, and PMR examinations being abolished. With the ever changing policies from the Ministry of Education every time the minister changes,(Kheru,2011) this news came as a no surprise. But the main issue still remains intact. It is not just the UPSR, and PMR, but should we just abolish the whole three main examinations, UPSR, PMR, and SPM?
Even though examinations makes students focus in their studies, and can differentiate, whether they should be in the arts stream or in the science stream, these examinations only restricts creative thinking because it makes the students study only for the sake of passing the examinations and students do not study anything other than the topics that will appear in the examinations. The first argument that the anti-abolishment poses is that the students can focus in their studies with the UPSR, PMR and SPM examinations. However, students can still focus on their studies with the normal semester tests and yearly examinations.
The normal examinations will be more effective because it will keep the students on their toes because they do not only have one test to pass but a monthly/ yearly tests/ examinations. It will actually make the students take examinations more seriously because the examinations would be treated as a long- term assessment. (Murali, 2012) For example, every month we have a simple test just to check the progress of the students, then before the first semester break and the year-end break, conduct an examination. It is just like our current system, just without the UPSR, PMR and SPM.
The next argument stated by the anti-abolishment is that the examination is the only way the school can differentiate the students that will go to science stream or arts stream (Fared, 2010). But, with the long-term assessment, the teachers would know what suits them most through the results of the exam. The students talents will show in the results, whether they are more suited for science stream or art stream. The teachers will play an important role in the selection of students because it is them that have the most contact with the students.
They should be able to tell whether the students are more suitable in science or arts. For example, if a student’s results shows that she excels at math and science, then he/she is suited more in the science stream but if a student shows continuous problems in science and mathematics, then he/she is probably not suited for the science stream. Thirdly, the anti-abolishment stated that the teachers will start being lazy if the three main exams are abolished. (Fared, 2010). With the long-term assessment, the teachers’ job will be more than enough.
The teachers would need to pay attention to the students’ growth more closely because the students’ potential will be gauge only by the teachers so that to determine whether their abilities belong in the science or arts stream. The tests and year examinations will make sure the teachers teach the students properly by completing the syllabus on time. The teachers also have to conduct other activities to fully gauge out the students potential and further develop their creativity and self-confidence with activities which makes them to be more outgoing and open-minded.
Personally I think that the three examinations (UPSR, PMR and SPM) will result in the students to lack personality and creativity, and will not be qualified enough to fulfil future careers. The exam-oriented education system distorts motivation and learning by overemphasising the importance of scores as outcomes and measures of students’ abilities. (Murali, 2012) This statement could not be more true, as there are many students which have excellent scores but their soft skills, like public speaking and presenting their own ideas and arguments, are largely lacking.
Moreover, students lack the confidence to correct the teachers if the teachers are wrong. According to Murali, in the article ‘GOOD scores, no life skills, “In my classes, students do not dare to talk with me because of the lack of confidence and intellect to justify arguments. ” They are used to having blinding faith in authority, which are the teachers and the textbooks. They would not even think that the teachers or the textbooks could be wrong.
Resulting in them being too dependent on the teachers and are not willing to do more than what they had done in class. To sum it up, despite the fact that examinations makes students focus in their studies, and can differentiate, whether they should be in the arts stream or in the science stream, we should keep in mind that these examinations only hampers creative thinking because it makes the students study only for the sake of making the grade the examinations and students do not study anything other than the topics that will appear in the examinations.
We should take the education system of countries like US, Australia and the European Union as a reference because their system provides the students the opportunities to improve many types of their intelligence. The students are encourage to be creative, free-thinking, more tolerant and open-minded person. ( Kheru, 2011) Countries like China, Japan and Korea have already started to make a changes in their education system, albeit slowly. So, when are we going to start? Or are we still going to stick with the system that was created when we were still colonised by the British?
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