In or out of the HOTS box

  • Education
  • Sunday, 15 Oct 2017

MY teen son came home disappointed recently after obtaining the results in the Ekonomi Asas (Basic Economics) paper, in his recent SPM trial exam.

His answers to the Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) questions in the paper were not acceptable, according to his subject teacher, as they were “not in the answer/ marking scheme”.

He asked me if it was wrong for him to offer his response which he said was based on his own logic.

He felt he had used his critical thinking/analytical skills and had answered the questions to the best of his ability.

He wasn’t alone, some of his friends were in a similar situation too.

These were HOTS questions that required students to think out of the box and provide answers that were reasonable and relevant.

While my son’s anawer may not have been acceptable, surely his intepretation of the questions could have earned him some marks.

He had to put on his thinking cap since it was a HOTS question.

It is not right for a teacher to reject an answer outright especially since it involves a HOTS question.

After all, student are expected to think and analyse before responding to such questions and situations.

We talk about creativity and the the authorities are often promoting the need for “thinkers” rather than “rote learners” or “memorisers”, so why curb a teen from offering his point of view, unless it is completely out of line.

Looks like my son and other learners will now have to “tune” themselves to the thinking of their teachers and examiners.

They will continue to provide answers that are expected of them, not explanations based on their own thinking, reasoning and key words.

This is certainly not envisaged in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.

From what I understand, HOTS expects learners to create new insights and invent ways of using what they have learnt in different situations.

Another matter that boggles me is will the “answer” that is acceptable in the answer/marking scheme remain relevant or outdated in another three years, considering the rapid speed with which transformation is taking place in the education sector and elsewhere.

I really hope the authorities would shed some light on the matter.

It is beyond me to comprehend why students are not allowed to use their critical and analytical thinking skills to the fullest.


Kajang, Selangor

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