Pengenalan: Ujian di sekolah rendah = Primary school tests

Apakah cara yang terbaik untuk menguji kemahiran murid sekolah rendah?

Apabila terkenang kembali ketakutan dan kerisauan yang dialami pada detik-detik sebelum menduduki peperiksaan di sekolah rendah, anda mungkin berasa sedikit cemburu terhadap murid-murid yang kini berada di Darjah 1, 2, dan 3. Bermula Januari 2019, pelaksanaan peperiksaan pertengahan dan akhir tahun telah dihentikan untuk para murid dalam tiga tahun pertama di sekolah rendah, menurut pengumuman Kementerian Pelajaran pada akhir tahun lepas. Sebaliknya, guru-guru diarahkan untuk menilai murid di dalam bilik darjah, menggunakan aktiviti pengajaran dan pembelajaran seperti bercerita, melaksanakan projek, permainan, lakonan dan kuiz.

Selepas pengumuman tersebut, terdapat beberapa orang yang menyatakan kebimbangan mengenai pemberhentian peperiksaan untuk murid Tahap 1. Walau bagaimanapun, kebanyakan orang kelihatan menyokong keputusan untuk memansuhkan peperiksaan di Tahap 1. Sebagai contoh, dalam sebuah tinjauan pendapat yang dilaksanakan di platform media sosial Twitter, berdasarkan pengumuman awal Menteri Pendidikan Dr Maszlee Malik, 78% daripada 1,788 responden bersetuju dengan pengumuman tersebut.

Ini mencerminkan perubahan sistem secara beransur-ansur daripada sistem sekolah yang berorientasikan peperiksaan, pada pendapat umum dan juga pada dasar kerajaan. Contohnya, apabila Kementerian mencadangkan pemansuhan UPSR pada tahun 2010, Kesatuan Perkhidmatan Perguruan Kebangsaan Malaysia (NUTP) tidak bersetuju, menyatakan bahawa UPSR adalah diperlukan untuk peralihan yang lancar dari sekolah rendah ke sekolah menengah. Walau bagaimanapun, apabila cadangan itu dikemukakan semula pada tahun 2016, NUTP akhirnya bersetuju bahawa UPSR patut dimansuhkan. Walaupun UPSR belum dimansuhkan, laporan prestasi akhir murid pada akhir Darjah 6 sejak 2017 telah memasukkan bukan sahaja keputusan peperiksaan UPSR yang standard, malah komponen penilaian berasaskan sekolah (PBS) seperti tugasan dalam kelas, kecergasan fizikal, dan aktiviti kokurikulum turut dikira sekali.

Jenis-jenis ujian

Terdapat pelbagai cara yang berbeza untuk mentaksir kemahiran dan pengetahuan pelajar. Satu perbezaan utama adalah sama ada ujian-ujian itu diseragamkan atau tidak. Peperiksaan dan ujian awam mempunyai soalan dan skema yang sama supaya keputusan antara murid dan kelas dapat dibandingkan. Penyeragaman ini boleh berlaku pada tahap yang berbeza. Peperiksaan awam seperti UPSR diselaraskan di seluruh negara manakala peperiksaan akhir tahun biasanya diseragamkan di tahap sekolah. Sebagai alternatif, ujian boleh diubahsuai oleh guru agar sesuai dengan kelas bahkan murid-murid tertentu. Ini dapat memberikan gambaran yang lebih jelas tentang berapa banyak yang telah dipelajari oleh murid, tetapi hasilnya tidak dapat dibandingkan dengan murid dalam konteks lain.

Selain itu, terdapat pelbagai faktor lain dalam merancang sesebuah ujian. Sesuatu topik boleh diuji menggunakan kaedah penilaian yang berbeza. Walaupun sesetengah ujian direka untuk diambil oleh setiap murid di seluruh negara (seperti semua peperiksaan awam di Malaysia), sesetengah ujian lain menyerupai kaji selidik awam. Ujian jenis “survey” ini hanya diduduki oleh sampel murid yang kecil, tetapi skor mereka dianalisa untuk memberi anggaran keputusan bagi seluruh negara, negeri atau daerah (seperti ujian TIMSS dan PISA, atau Penilaian Kemajuan Pendidikan Kebangsaan Amerika Syarikat). Tambahan pula, keputusan ujian boleh digunakan untuk tujuan yang berbeza: adakah keputusan hanya akan ditunjukkan kepada setiap murid secara peribadi, atau adakah ianya akan digunakan untuk menentukan kedudukan murid dan sekolah? Adakah kedudukan ini akan diterbitkan di akhbar?

Kebaikan dan keburukan

Ujian dan peperiksaan boleh memberi banyak kesan sampingan yang negatif. Terlalu banyak ujian dan peperiksaan awam mampu merencatkan perkembangan kreativiti murid, terutamanya apabila guru mengajar semata-mata untuk ujian; iaitu dengan memberi tumpuan kepada kaedah menjawab soalan ujian dengan betul dan bukannya mempelajari intipati subjek dan kemahiran terbabit secara mendalam. Ujian juga boleh mencetuskan banyak tekanan, yang menghalang sesetengah murid daripada menunjukkan kebolehan sebenar mereka. Ujian yang penting juga boleh menggoda murid dan guru untuk menipu, sama ada di Malaysia atau di negara lain. Di samping itu, keputusan ujian mungkin tidak tepat kerana murid mengalami hari yang buruk — dan satu hari yang buruk boleh menjejaskan pencapaian universiti pelajar dan peluang kerjaya.

Walau bagaimanapun, ujian juga dapat meningkatkan kualiti pembelajaran untuk murid dan juga sistem pendidikan. Dapatan penyelidikan sains kognitif telah menunjukkan bahawa teknik “mengingat semula” atau “retrieval practice” — iaitu sengaja cuba mengingat sesuatu dalam ingatan anda – adalah salah satu cara yang paling berkesan untuk membina pengetahuan. Walaupun terdapat kaedah yang berbeza untuk mengingat semula, ujian di bilik darjah merupakan kaedah yang paling biasa dan mudah. Ujian juga boleh menjadi cara penting untuk memantau sama ada murid mempelajari segala yang mereka perlu untuk menyediakan mereka untuk alam dewasa. Sebagai contoh, sesetengah negara sedang berusaha untuk menutup jurang antara pencapaian murid perempuan dan lelaki di sekolah — dan keputusan ujian adalah bukti penting untuk mendiagnosis dan memantau jurang itu, jika ada. Fungsi pemantauan ini mungkin salah satu sebab mengapa sebuah kajian antarabangsa mendapati bahawa perbandingan keputusan ujian antara sekolah kerap kali mempunyai kesan positif terhadap prestasi murid, terutama di negara berprestasi rendah.

Aneka pilihan

Setiap jenis ujian mempunyai kombinasi kesan positif dan negatif yang berlainan. Keseimbangan antara kesan-kesan ini bergantung pada kesesuaian sesebuah ujian itu dengan konteks dan tujuannya. Terdapat pelbagai kaedah penilaian dan pendekatan yang mampu disesuaikan dengan situasi tertentu.

Dua pendekatan yang menarik adalah penilaian berasaskan portfolio dan ujian selaras berasaskan sampel. Penilaian berasaskan portfolio adalah sama dengan Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah (PBS) yang dilaksanakan di sini dan juga Penilaian Bilik Darjah (PBD) untuk Tahap 1; kecuali tugas penilaian akan menggantikan peperiksaan sepenuhnya. Sebagai contoh, dalam perjumpaan Konsortium Piawaian Prestasi di New York, setiap pelajar perlu membuktikan kelayakan diri untuk menamatkan pelajaran dengan menyelesaikan tugas-tugas termasuk menulis esei yang mengkritik elemen kesusasteraan, menulis kertas penyelidikan kajian sosial, menjalankan eksperimen sains, dan menyelesaikan masalah matematik yang kompleks. Walaupun penilaian berasaskan portfolio lebih holistik daripada kebanyakan ujian bertulis, agak sukar untuk guru merancang dan menilai keputusan penilaian ini dengan adil dan konsisten.

Seterusnya, ujian selaras berasaskan sampel dapat memberikan gambaran prestasi sesebuah kohort murid pada tahap nasional. Ia juga boleh memberikan gambaran sama ada prestasi murid semakin baik atau lebih buruk dari semasa ke semasa, atau sama ada jurang antara kumpulan yang lebih berada dan kurang bernasib baik sedang melebar atau menyempit. Negara Finland telah menggunakan ujian berasaskan sampel sedemikian untuk mengukur kualiti sistem pendidikannya tanpa memberi tekanan kepada murid, guru, atau sekolah. Walau bagaimanapun, ujian berasaskan sampel ini tidak memberi maklum balas individu, dan ini mungkin bermakna bahawa murid dan sekolah yang ketinggalan tidak dikenal pasti.


Jadi, apakah cara yang terbaik untuk menguji kemahiran murid sekolah rendah? 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, komen daripada pembaca lain juga terdapat di Facebook page kami. Terima kasih!

How should primary school students be tested?

If you remember being terrified of exams when you were in primary school, you might be jealous of students who are currently in Standard 1, 2 or 3 (i.e. Tahap 1). As of January 2019, students in the first three years of primary school no longer take midyear and end-of-year exams, according to a Ministry of Education announcement at the end of last year. Instead, teachers are expected to assess students in the classroom, using activities such as storytelling, simple projects, games, role-playing and quizzes.

After the announcement, some people expressed concerns about the implementation of such classroom assessments. However, most seem to support the decision to remove exams in Tahap 1. For example, in a Twitter poll based on Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik’s initial announcement, 78% of the 1,788 respondents agreed with the decision.

This reflects a gradual shift away from our exam-oriented school system, in both public opinion and government policy. For example, when the Ministry proposed abolishing the UPSR in 2010, the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) disagreed, saying that the UPSR was necessary for smooth transitions from primary to secondary school. However, the proposal was raised again in 2016, and this time the NUTP agreed that the UPSR should be removed. Although the UPSR has not been abolished yet, students’ results at the end of Standard 6 since 2017 have included not only the standardised UPSR exam scores, but also school-based assessment components, such as classroom tasks, physical fitness, and cocurricular activities.

Types of tests

There are many ways of testing students. One main difference is whether or not a test is standardised. Standardised tests have the same questions and marking schemes so that results can be compared across students and classrooms. This standardisation can happen at different levels. Public exams like the UPSR are standardised across the whole country whereas end-of-year exams are usually standardised across the school. Alternatively, tests can be modified by the teacher to fit a particular classroom or even a particular student. This can provide a clearer picture of how much a student has learned, but results cannot be compared with students in other settings.

Besides this, there are many other variables in designing tests. A single topic can be tested using different assessment methods. While some tests are designed to be taken by every student in the population (like all our public exams), other tests are designed like public opinion surveys. These survey-based tests are only taken by a small sample of students, but their scores are analysed to give estimated results for the whole country, state, or district (like the TIMSS and PISA tests, or USA’s National Assessment of Educational Progress). Also, test results can be used in different ways: are results only shown to each student privately, or are they used to rank students and schools? Are the rankings published in newspapers?

Pros and cons

Tests can have many negative side effects. Too much standardised testing can limit the development of students’ creativity — especially when teachers “teach to the test”, focusing on how to answer test questions correctly rather than on how to learn content and skills deeply. Tests can trigger a lot of stress, which prevents some students from showing how much they have really learned. High-stakes tests can also tempt students and teachers to cheat, whether in Malaysia or in other countries. Additionally, test results might be inaccurate just because a student is having a bad day — and one bad day may affect a student’s university achievement and career success.

However, testing can also improve the quality of learning, for both individual learners and education systems. Cognitive science research has shown that “retrieval practice” — the act of purposely trying to recall something in your memory — is one of the most effective ways of building knowledge. Although there are different methods of retrieval practice, classroom testing is a common and straightforward method. Testing can also be an important way of monitoring whether students are learning everything that they should in order to prepare them for adulthood. For example, some countries are trying to close the gap between girls’ and boys’ achievement in schools, and standardised test results have been an important way of diagnosing and monitoring the gap. This monitoring function may be one reason why a large international study found that standardised tests that compare performance across schools tend to have a positive effect on student performance, especially in low-performing countries.

Multiple choices

Different tests have different combinations of positive and negative effects. The balance between these effects can depend on how well the test suits its context and purpose. There are numerous assessment methods, and also countless assessment approaches that have been tailored to specific situations.

Two interesting approaches are portfolio-based assessments and sample-based standardised tests. Portfolio-based assessments are similar to our school-based assessment (PBS) and the new classroom assessment (PBD) for Tahap 1, except that the assessment tasks completely replace exams. For example, in the New York Performance Standards Consortium, students prove that they are ready to graduate by completing tasks including “an analytic essay on literature, a social studies research paper, an extended or original science experiment, and problem-solving at higher levels of mathematics.” While portfolio-based assessments are more holistic than most written tests, they can be difficult for teachers to plan and hard to mark fairly and consistently.

In turn, sample-based standardised tests can give a national snapshot of how a cohort of students is performing. They can also provide a picture of whether student performance is getting better or worse over time, or whether the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged groups is widening or narrowing. Finland uses such sample-based tests to measure the quality of its education system without putting pressure on individual students, teachers, or schools. However, this lack of individual feedback means that certain students or schools may fall through the cracks.


So, how should primary school students be tested? 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. A lot of Malaysians look toward Singapore as a model for how we should run our education system, in some cases with more idol-worship than critical thinking. The general perception is that Singapore is a very intensive, hothouse type of academic culture. Guess what? Last year they announced that they are also abolishing exams for lower primary. They’re also reducing them for upper primary and for lower secondary students. As well as minimising the amount of info on result slips to cut down on kiasu parent competition (showing only the child’s marks but not ranking relative to the rest of the class). And no more red ink for “F” grades.

    For Primary 1 and 2 students in particular, there won’t even be weighted assessments and teachers will report individual students’ learning qualitatively. I think this does require teachers to have the training and time to be able to do this well and fairly though.

    I’m not sure if Malaysian teachers would be up to this yet without re-training some of them. I can imagine this subjective evaluation could be quite horrible in the hands of an unprofessional teacher, they would just write nice things about their pets and nasty things about the class “black sheep” regardless of how much the kids are actually capable of.

    https://sg.news.yahoo.com/no-exams-p1-p2-students-2019-ministry-education-083500082.html
    https://mustsharenews.com/singapores-education-system/

    Actually even before this, the previous year I had met up with a friend who had moved his family from Singapore back to Malaysia some years ago because he wanted his children to grow up in a more relaxed environment. The last time I saw him, he shared that he was thinking of moving his kids BACK to Singapore because the system was now becoming LESS stressful than Malaysian Chinese schools.

    However, they are still going to keep the dreaded PSLE (Primary School Leaving Exam), the equivalent of our UPSR. Fair enough, you need a way to ensure that every child has acquired the basics before moving on to secondary school. But they need to make the secondary school options more flexible so that society doesn’t assume that one examination at age 12 dictates one’s destiny. Especially given the evidence that intelligence can change quite dramatically during adolescence. I have heard that many Singaporean HR departments demand new hires’ PSLE results, which is beyond ridiculous when evaluating an adult.

  2. I think we should keep the mid-year and end-of-year exams even for children in Tahap 1. Written exams are simpler to administer and more objective when compared to “storytelling, simple projects, games, role-playing and quizzes”. Moreover, too much lesson time will be taken up to assess children by these means, especially when there are many children in the class.

    We should also keep in mind that children who are shy or do not have good oral skills will not do well in storytelling or role-playing. So how will they be assessed?

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