Pengenalan: Streaming = Sistem pengasingan kelas

Bagaimanakah murid-murid patut dikelompokkan ke dalam kelas masing-masing?

“Kelas depan” dan “kelas belakang” adalah (secara rasminya) sesuatu yang tidak akan digunapakai lagi. Bermula dari 2019, sekolah-sekolah di Malaysia sepatutnya tidak lagi mengumpulkan pelajar ke dalam kelas berdasarkan keputusan peperiksaan akhir mereka pada tahun sebelumnya. Kelas campuran daripada segi kebolehan dan prestasi, atau kelas bercantum, selalunya menjadi kebiasaan di sekolah-sekolah kecil yang hanya mempunyai satu bilik darjah. Selain itu, sekolah-sekolah tertentu (seperti di Terengganu dan Putrajaya) telahpun menggantikan sistem pengasingan kelas dengan sistem kelas bercantum sebelum 2019. Walaubagaimanapun, kebanyakan sekolah di Malaysia mengimplementasi kelas bercantum untuk pertama kalinya pada tahun ini, dan sesetengah orang berpendapat bahawa sistem pengasingan kelas perlu dilaksanakan kembali di sekolah-sekolah.

Nota: baru-baru ini, menteri pendidikan mengumumkan rancangan untuk menggabungkan aliran sastera dan aliran sains untuk pelajar menengah atas. Namun demikian, perbincangan kami sepanjang bulan ini bertumpu kepada streaming berdasarkan pencapaian dalam peperiksaan.

Apabila garis panduan kelas bercantum diumumkan pada lewat 2017, terdapat pelbagai jenis respons daripada warga pendidik dan juga pihak berkepentingan. Personaliti terkenal di Facebook, Cikgu Mohd Fadli Salleh menyokong dasar kelas tanpa pengasingan, berdasarkan pengalaman positif sekolahnya dengan kelas bercampur sejak tahun 2011. Walaubagaimanapun, terdapat guru-guru lain yang mengatakan bahawa mengajar kelas bercampur adalah sesuatu yang sangat sukar. Tambahan pula, walaupun Majlis Intervensi Awal Kanak-Kanak Kebangsaan (NECIC) menyambut baik dasar baru ini, Persatuan Ibu Bapa Untuk Pendidikan Malaysia (PAGE) menyatakan kebimbangan mereka mengenai kelas bercampur yang juga mempunyai banyak pelajar.

Jenis-jenis pengasingan kelas

Terdapat tiga cara utama untuk mengumpulkan murid berdasarkan keputusan peperiksaan mereka: Pengasingan berdasarkan keputusan peperiksaan secara keseluruhan dimana murid akan tinggal di kelas yang sama untuk semua mata pelajaran, atau “streaming”; penetapan murid berdasarkan prestasi mereka dalam mata pelajaran tertentu sahaja, atau “setting”; dan secara kemampuan bercampur dimana kelas dibentuk tanpa merujuk kepada keputusan peperiksaan.

Walaubagaimanapun, terdapat lebih banyak cara untuk melaksanakan pengumpulan ini. “Streaming” boleh dilaksanakan berdasarkan keputusan peperiksaan dan juga subjek elektif pilihan pelajar, seperti yang terdapat dalam aliran sains dan sastera di sekolah menengah. Malah, sistem “streaming” dan “setting” sebenarnya boleh dilaksanakan pada masa yang sama. Contohnya, sebelum tahun 2019, murid-murid Tingkatan 1 di bawah Sistem Set MBMMBI dikelompokkan untuk pengajaran Bahasa Inggeris berdasarkan ujian diagnostik Bahasa Inggeris, tetapi diselaraskan ke dalam kelas untuk semua pelajaran lain berdasarkan hasil UPSR keseluruhannya.

Pencapaian dan motivasi pelajar

Seperti kebanyakan dasar pendidikan, “streaming” mempunyai kelebihan dan juga kekurangan. Pada keseluruhannya, kebanyakan penyelidik bersetuju bahawa “streaming” mempunyai kesan negatif terhadap pencapaian purata pelajar. Salah satu analisis yang telah meneliti banyak kajian yang berlainan telah menyimpulkan bahawa: “Secara purata, murid yang belajar dibawah sistem “streaming” atau “setting” akan mencapai kemajuan yang kurang berbanding murid yang diajar dalam kelas campuran” – walaupun sering terdapat kesan negatif yang kecil terhadap murid yang mencapai skor ujian yang rendah atau sederhana sebelumnya, dan kesan positif yang kecil kepada murid yang bermula dengan skor ujian tinggi. Data daripada penilaian antarabangsa PISA dan TIMSS menunjukkan bahawa sistem pendidikan yang memperkenalkan sistem aliran (iaitu membenarkan pelajar mengambil subjek yang berbeza, seperti aliran seni dan sains, atau versi silibus yang lebih mudah dan sukar) sebelum umur 16 tahun akan memburukkan ketidaksamaan sosioekonomi di antara pelajar, tanpa meningkatkan keputusan keseluruhan.

Salah satu sebab mengapa “streaming” boleh memberi kesan negatif ialah ia mempengaruhi minda dan motivasi kita. “Streaming” mungkin akan memberi gambaran bahawa kanak-kanak dengan skor ujian yang lebih tinggi adalah manusia yang lebih baik – terutamanya jika mereka diberi bilik kelas yang lebih baik dengan meja dan kerusi yang lebih baru – sedangkan mereka yang mempunyai skor ujian yang rendah adalah “memang macam tu”. (Berikut adalah video remaja dari Singapura yang bercakap tentang bagaimana pelajar dari aliran “tinggi” menilai pelajar dari aliran “rendah”.) Ini menimbulkan masalah kerana harapan guru terhadap pelajar mereka dapat mempengaruhi kemajuan pelajar. Apabila guru mempunyai jangkaan tinggi, pelajar sering mampu mendapat motivasi untuk mencapai jangkaan ini. Menurut para ahli psikologi, jika anda percaya bahawa setiap orang dilahirkan dengan IQ tertentu dan IQ mereka tidak dapat berubah, maka anda mungkin tidak mahu menghadapi cabaran dan anda mungkin tidak mencapai potensi penuh anda. Sebenarnya, IQ seseorang mampu berkembang.

Pengesuaian untuk keperluan berbeza

Namun demikian, kelas kebolehan bercampur juga memberi cabaran besar kepada guru: iaitu membezakan pengajaran untuk disesuaikan untuk murid-murid dari pelbagai latar belakang akademik yang berbeza. Sehubungan dengan itu, ramai guru di Malaysia kini sedang berjuang dengan cabaran ini – mereka hanya mempunyai satu tahun untuk menyesuaikan diri dan pengajaran mereka sejajar dengan perubahan dasar ini, yang juga menambahkan bebanan tugas mereka kerana mereka juga perlu menjalankan tugas-tugas yang lain. (Sebagai contoh perubahan dasar secara beransur-ansur, parlimen Finland mengundi pada tahun 1963 untuk menghentikan “streaming” murid-murid berusia 10 tahun ke aliran berorientasikan universiti atau ke aliran asas. Tetapi dasar ini hanya dilaksanakan sepenuhnya pada tahun 1979, kerana mereka mengambil masa untuk membangunkan kurikulum, menjalankan ujian perintis, dan mengimplementasi dasar ini secara berperingkat di seluruh negara.)

Sesetengah negara menangani cabaran pembezaan dengan memberikan sokongan khas untuk murid yang kurang mahir atau murid berpencapaian tinggi. Finland terkenal dengan sistem pendidikan khasnya, yang memberikan sokongan tambahan kepada pelajar yang mengharungi pelbagai cabaran di sekolah – termasuk penyakit sementara, masalah keluarga, atau masalah tingkah laku – dan pada masa yang sama mengekalkan pelajar-pelajar ini di dalam kelas bercampur. Sokongan ini disediakan oleh guru yang terlatih, yang bekerja bersama guru kelas biasa. Begitu juga Kanada, yang mempunyai kelas kebolehan bercampur dengan sokongan keperluan khas, tetapi juga menawarkan sokongan kepada pelajar yang berbakat daripada segi akademik, yang kadang-kadang berlaku dalam beberapa program di mana sebahagian daripada pelajar akan meninggalkan kelas kebolehan bercampur biasa mereka untuk pembelajaran khusus beberapa jam setiap minggu. Walau bagaimanapun, sesetengah orang berpendapat bahawa program-program tersebut adalah tidak wajar, antara salah satu sebab mengapa mereka mempunyai pendapat tersebut adalah kerana program-program itu menggunakan sumber yang boleh digunakan untuk membantu guru menyokong anak-anak lain juga.


Jadi, bagaimanakah murid-murid patut dikelompokkan ke dalam kelas masing-masing? Kongsi pendapat anda di bawah (nama, e-mel, dan website tidak wajib), mengikut polisi komen kami.

Minggu depan, kami akan memetik beberapa komen yang menarik ke dalam post baru. Sementara itu, bacalah komen daripada pembaca lain juga terdapat di Facebook kami. Terima kasih!

How should students be grouped into classes?

“Kelas depan” and “kelas belakang” are (officially) a thing of the past. From 2019 onward, Malaysian schools are no longer supposed to group students into classes based on their exam results. Mixed-ability classes have always been the norm in small schools with only one classroom, and some schools (like those in Terengganu and Putrajaya) replaced streaming with mixed-ability classes last year or earlier. However, most Malaysian schools are now experiencing mixed-ability classes for the first time, and some people think we should bring streaming back.

Note: recently, the minister of education also announced plans to remove the arts and science streams in upper secondary school. But our discussion this month will focus on streaming based on test scores.

When the no-streaming guidelines were first announced in late 2017, reactions were mixed. A popular Facebooker, Cikgu Mohd Fadli Salleh, strongly supported the no-streaming policy based on his school’s positive experience with mixed-ability classes since 2011. However, another teacher said that it was very difficult to teach mixed-ability classes. Similarly, while the National Early Childhood Intervention Council welcomed the new policy, the Parent Action Group for Education expressed concern about mixed-ability classes that also had many students.

Ways of grouping students

There are three main ways of grouping students based on their exam results: streaming, setting, and mixed-ability. “Streaming” means dividing students based on their overall results, with students staying in the same class for all subjects. “Setting” means grouping students based on their performance in particular subjects only. Mixed-ability classes are formed without referring to exam results.

However, there are many different ways of implementing these groupings. Streaming can be based on both exam results and students’ chosen elective subjects, like in the upper secondary arts and science streams. Also, streaming and setting can be combined. (For example, under the MBMMBI Sistem Set, Form 1 students were grouped into sets for English lessons based on an English diagnostic test, but streamed into classes for all their other lessons based on their overall UPSR results.)

Student outcomes and mindsets

As with most education policies, streaming has both advantages and disadvantages. On the whole, most researchers agree that streaming has a negative impact on average student achievement. One analysis looked at many different studies and concluded that: “On average, students experiencing setting or streaming make slightly less progress than students taught in mixed attainment classes” – although often there is a small negative effect on students who start out with low or medium test scores, and a small positive effect on students who start out with high test scores. Data from the PISA and TIMSS international assessments show that education systems that introduce tracking (i.e. streaming students into different subject combinations, like the arts and science stream, or easier and harder versions of the syllabus) before age 16 worsen socioeconomic inequality between students, without improving overall results.

One reason why streaming can have negative effects is that it affects our mindsets and motivation. Streaming can send the message that children with higher test scores are better human beings – especially if they are given nicer classrooms with newer tables and chairs – whereas those with lower test scores are “memang macam tu”. (Here’s a video of Singaporean teens talking about how students from “higher” streams look down on students from “lower” streams.) This is problematic because teachers’ expectations of their students can greatly influence students’ progress. When teachers have high expectations, students often rise to meet them. According to psychologists, if you believe that everyone is born with a certain IQ and that their IQ cannot change, then you are likely to avoid challenges and might not reach your full potential. In fact, our intelligence can grow.

Meeting different students’ needs

However, mixed-ability classes give teachers a huge challenge: differentiating lessons to support students from many different academic backgrounds. And many Malaysian teachers are currently struggling with this challenge – they only had one year to prepare for the change, on top of all their other work. (For an example of gradual policy change, Finland’s parliament voted in 1963 to stop streaming 10-year-old students into either university-oriented or non-university tracks. But this was only fully implemented in 1979, because they took time to develop the curriculum, conduct pilot tests, and phase in the policy across the country.)

Some countries address the differentiation challenge with special support for struggling or advanced students. Finland is famous for its special education system, which provides extra support for students who are struggling in school for any reason – including temporary sickness, family issues, or behaviour problems – while these students remain in their mixed-ability classes. This support is provided by highly trained special education teachers, who work alongside the regular classroom teachers. Similarly, Canada has mixed-ability classes with special needs support, but it also offers support for academically gifted students. For example, some schools have “pull-out” programmes where children leave their normal mixed-ability classes to attend special lessons for a few hours each week. However, some people argue against these gifted programmes, partly because they use resources that could be used to help teachers support other children as well.


So, how should students be grouped into classes? Share your thoughts below, and please remember to follow our comments policy. (It is not compulsory to include your name, email, and website in order to comment.)

Next week, we will feature some of the most interesting comments in a new post. You can also read more comments from other readers on our Facebook page. Thank you!

 

Comments

  1. 1. Ability grouping done between schools vs ability group done between classes

    Just wondering how much ability grouping done by parents (i.e. parents sending children to better schools) affects educational outcomes, versus ability grouping done within schools (i.e. grouping students in different ability classes).

    I guess this stems from dinner table talks among parents about which school they should send their kids. Feels like there are times where ability grouping already happens even before a child enters a school.

    Come to think of it, some schools do test students or require students to send their UPSR/PMR scores before accepting them.

    2. Do initial performance negate/enhance mixed-ability classes?

    And does the initial average performance of all students affect whether mixed-ability classes are more effective? Just wondering if a school is at the bottom 20%, does it negate the positive effects of mixed-ability class?

    A comparison would like this:

    School A – top 20% (mixed-ability classes)
    School B – top 20% (ability grouping happens)
    School C – bottom 20% (mixed-ability classes)
    School D – bottom 20% (ability grouping happens)

    3. Feedback

    Don’t think you’re facing this issue so early on, but perhaps a summary/reminder of your comment policy can be placed closer to the comment section? If it’s a quick change, I would probably do it to reduce the frequency of poor quality comments.

    Btw, really like this website! Love the dual lingual access. A lot of thought and work is poured into this.

    • Terima kasih atas feedback tersebut! Nanti kalau perlu, kami cuba uruskannya. (Pengetahuan kami tentang CSS dan HTML kini tak berapa mendalam, haha.)

      Dan memang benar bahawa pengasingan antara sekolah ialah satu variable lagi dalam perbincangan ini. Walaupun complicated sangat, isu pengasingan kelas ini memang penting, dan kami menghargai pandangan anda.

  2. I would start off with two caveats. I have neither personally done any research on the topic, nor have I read any related research papers. My schooling was in national type schools in Ipoh from 1961 (Standard 1) to 1972 (Form 6, Cambridge HSC). Grouping students into classes according to overall results achieved in the Mid-Year and the Final Examinations was then the norm. Those with the highest marks were placed in the A class, although one could ‘slip’ into a ‘lower’ class in the following year(s). Equally one could move ‘up’. However, my experience was that each year only a handful of students were involved in such an ‘exchange’. In Forms 4 and 5 we were streamed into Science and Arts classes. Within these 2 streams, again students were grouped into separate classes based on exam results. In Form 6 the Science students were sub-streamed into the ‘Maths’ and ‘Biology’ classes, the former intended to produce engineers, and the latter doctors and dentists. Of course, not all ended up being engineers, doctors or dentists. The Form 6 Arts students were to the best of my knowledge not sub-streamed.

    As for teachers, from Standard 1 to 3, one teacher per class taught all subjects, including Bahasa Kebangsaan. From Standard 4 to 6 an additional teacher per class taught Bahasa Kebangsaan. The same Bahasa teacher in fact taught all Standard 4 to 6 students. So, in 6 years of primary education, a student typically saw no more than 7 teachers. It was only from Form 1 onwards that we experienced ‘specialist’ subject teachers.

    So, was this grouping and streaming in this manner good or bad? Frankly, I did not give it much thought when I was in the system. Malaysian society then was structured very pyramidically, and I was used to that. Perhaps, I was able to accept that structure with equanimity being, on the one hand, the offspring of a police sergeant and a home-maker, and being, on the other hand, always in the A class in primary and lower secondary school, and thereafter in the Science stream. However, with the benefit of hindsight, certain flaws in that system do come to mind. That very few students moved ‘up’ or ‘down’ the pyramid was clearly symptomatic of one basic flaw in that system. Basically, apart from the outliers, one was stuck in the same stratum – not entirely conducive for academic and other development, not to mention accompanying feelings of inadequacy, lack of motivation, etc for those in the ‘lower’ groupings.

    Another issue was the pressure brought to bear on students, mainly by parents, but also by teachers, one’s peers and one’s own self, to get into the Science stream. I don’t know how many were shoehorned into something they were good at (at least at that level) but were not entirely interested in. Personally, I was a good science student up to Form 6, and although I went on to complete a B.Sc. degree, it was very heavy going at University.

    Perhaps, the main flaw was that, in my experience, the system tended, generally, to produce one-dimensional adults – very good at what they did, earning sizeable incomes, but not much else. They mixed mainly with like-minded people (because of grouping), read very little else besides their ‘speciality’ (because of streaming), and, sadly, sometimes smack of opinionated narrow-mindedness.

    So, whilst grouping and streaming based on exam results, might be very good (and convenient) for teachers, it is far from so for students. I am, of course, not suggesting that there is nothing good about the current results-based grouping and streaming for students. Thus, a knee-jerk reaction of immediately abolishing this system, and replacing it with mixed-ability classes, will also not represent a good solution. Gradual implementation of mixed-ability classes would probably represent a better approach, especially since it is doubtful that we currently have sufficient teachers who are trained in effectively teaching in mixed-ability classes.

    • Terima kasih atas sharing yang menarik ini! Kami di Dialog Pendidikan melalui persekolahan sekitar zaman 90-an, haha — so kami memang suka mendengar pengalaman dan refleksi seperti yang dikongsikan ini.

      Nota sampingan: persoalan tentang grouping pelajar ini memang besar, jadi kami akan membincangkan cara mengasingkan mata pelajaran sekolah menengah (seperti aliran sains, aliran sastera; tanpa aliran; dsb) pada bulan Mei nanti.

  3. Saya terima dengan baik perubahan dasar kementerian pendidikan. Sebagai bapa yang anaknya akan memasuki alam persekolahan pada tahun hadapan, segala dasar yang kini sedang dirombak akan memberi impak yang besar kepada generasi ini. Pembatalan sistem ‘streaming’ perlu selari dengan pemerkasaan warga pendidik dalam membentuk pelajar yang lebih ‘rounded’. Saya juga percaya dasar ini perlu selari dengan sistem TVET yang sedang dirombak juga.

  4. In the bigger picture, I personally think that this is the right decision on the part of the MOE. As a former secondary school teacher for the MOE, and brother of a current student of the public education system, I’ve seen firsthand how our streaming policies have severely disadvantaged many students. However, ultimately I think that the effectiveness of the policy will depend on the implementation process, and the political will to see this through at least an entire schooling cycle (from Standard 1 to Form 5).

    Regarding the negative effects of streaming on mindsets and motivations- as a teacher I remember how it was common for me to observe classes that were the lowest ranked to not have teachers enter class, for a myriad of reasons. A common reason was that the class was too challenging to manage because they’re “last class kids” and they don’t behave- so teachers were often so demotivated that they would sometimes just skip entering the class. Another reason might be that the teacher had a lot of paperwork to complete and decided that if there was a class to skip so they could catch up on paperwork- it would be the “last class” because they “couldn’t learn”.

    My brother was in the “last class” when he was in Form 1. One time, his BM teacher decided not to turn up to class for 2 whole weeks. He was just sitting in the staff room during their class time. The reason he gave the class was that they were “difficult to teach”.

    Please note that I in no way intend to place full blame teachers for these behaviours. I personally felt very similar feelings described above and had to intentionally fight to not succumb to them. The point I’m trying to suggest is that simply by virtue of the streaming system- it automatically psychologically embeds a belief system of how to look at and classify children- which teachers need to invest additional personal motivation and cognitive load to break free of.

    While streaming might supposedly help teachers cater to the needs of their students more effectively (because lessons can be easily planned for the level of the students), I don’t think that this actually plays out in practice in most schools in Malaysia. In my experience, one teaching approach that I observed as common for “last classes” was for teachers to conduct lessons in which students would just copy down notes the entire lesson.
    This was seen as an easy way to teach, as often “last classes” are perceived as hard to manage, but would somehow remain silent and on task if asked to copy notes. It resulted in full, accurately filled in exercise books, but often with students not comprehending a single thing, often due to a lack of back literacy skills.

    A colleague and I once asked a senior teacher in our school if there had ever been a case of an illiterate student from the “last class” who eventually learn how to read and eventually progress to tertiary education. She couldn’t recall that ever happening (now, it might have, but at the time she couldn’t think of any, and I never did hear of a case during my time as a teacher). That just makes me think that the streaming system is not a liberating structure in which students are getting the support they need at their level of ability, but instead, a structure which traps them in a viscous self-fulfilling prophecy of their ability.

    My brother did transition from the “last class” to the “first class”. So I recognise that not everyone is “trapped” in this system. However, I’d argue that my brother was a beneficiary of the fact that he was literate and came from an educated family that could help him with his school work and could afford to pay for extra tuition classes. Therefore he was able to progress not because of the system, but despite it.

    So it’s for these reasons, and many more examples I could give you, that I am personally convinced that this is the right move, especially if we want an equitable education system that is working to support all children to live into their fullest potential. But will a simple policy change make a difference? I think it will take a lot of implementation effectiveness, ownership and capacity building at every level, and political resilience for the policy in order for it to make a meaningful difference.

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