More brickbats for PT3

While the assessment system for Form Three students may be a good one, students and teachers have complained about the uncertainty and lack of clear instructions from the authorities.

THE Form Three Assessment (Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 or PT3) has drawn more flak from all parties involved due to last minute changes and a lack of clear instructions.

Students were assessed on case study instrument assessments for History and Geography and (listening and speech) oral tests for English and Bahasa Melayu earlier this year.

Written examinations for Bahasa Melayu, English, Mathematics, Science, Islamic Education, Living Skills, Arabic, Chinese, Tamil, Iban, Punjabi and Kadazandusun were held in the past week, ending on Oct 16.

Although students sat for the examinations during the same time frame, the questions were likely to differ between schools as the Examinations Syndicate had provided several sets of questions for schools to choose from.

This was the first time Form Three students were sitting for the PT3. Prior to this, students sat for the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) — which was abolished at the end of last year.

Form Three student S. Shalini, from Kuala Lumpur, said she felt like a “guinea pig” because of the uncertainty surrounding the execution of PT3.

“Everything has been constantly changing and even our teachers were not sure about what was going to happen until the very end,” she said.

A student from Kajang, Nicole Tan, said that many Form Three students sat for the paper without knowing what kind of questions would come out.

“The questions were also very different from the module sets we did in school,” she said.

As for Tomas D., who is studying in Kuala Lumpur, he was confused about the purpose of the school-based assessments (PBS) and PT3.

“What is the point of stressing us out so much with PBS, when in the end, we revert to the ‘old system’ for our SPM examinations? There needs to be a continuation for the system to be effective,” he said.

Students were only told about the “final” changes in late June and had to sit for the case study instrument assessments and oral tests in July and August respectively.

This proved to be an issue for many students like Edward A., from Kepong, who said the questions were too difficult.

“We weren’t sufficiently prepared. For PT3, you really have to know the topic to answer, but we only had less than three months to prepare for the exams.

We didn’t even have enough time to study what’s in the textbooks or prepare for the higher order thinking skills (HOTS) questions,” he said.

However, Edward said that it would help students develop thinking skills, adding that if given more time, the system would work for the next batch of students.

However, teachers said that the new system would be­nefit students in the long run once the teething problems were resolved.

Norita Ahmad, a teacher from SMK Bukit Rahman Putra, Sungai Buloh, said the new system will help students see their own talent and potential.

“It evaluates students beyond academics as there are oral and listening assessments as well as psychometric tests.

“While the system matches our National Education Philosophy, the implementation needs to be worked on so it would not burden students and teachers,” she said.

“The problems now are only due to the insufficient preparation time but this system will definitely prepare students for SPM.”

SMK Damansara Jaya, Petaling Jaya teacher Angie Ng also said that the main issue was the short time span given for students to adapt to the system.

“Students will face difficulties with the wide scope of questions and they would still have to complete the PBS even after the PT3 exams,” she said.

“If given sufficient time from the start of their lower secondary education, it would have been easier for them to tackle the HOTS questions,” added Ng.

Klang Methodist Girls’ School teacher Rose Mary Muthusamy said she was happy with the direction the education system was taking.

“These exams will help ensure that the students who get good results have mastery of the subject at hand.

“As the students this year are in the first batch, there are bound to be some initial problems but they should be sorted out. I hope this will be adopted permanently as it’s a good system.”

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