PUTRAJAYA: Top scorers in this year’s new-curriculum Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) were those who showed strong scientific thinking skills, were able to elaborate and articulate well (in the language examinations), and demonstrated clear steps when tackling the mathematical questions.
“We want to recognise the academic achievements of these excellent pupils and differentiate them from the normal pupils,” said Examinations Syndicate director Datin Nawal Salleh.
“These are the standards that need to be met in the curriculum to show that they have absorbed the information (in the syllabus),” she told a press conference yesterday to explain the sudden drop in the UPSR 2016 results.
She said this year’s UPSR candidates were the first batch to use the new KSSR (Primary School Standard Curriculum) from 2011.
Nawal said parents who were unhappy with their children’s results could appeal by obtaining the forms at schools or the counter of the Education Ministry office in Putrajaya.
On Thursday, Education director-general Tan Sri Khair Mohamad Yusof said 4,896 pupils scored straight As this year or 1.1% of the 440,782 candidates who sat for the examinations, compared with 38,344 or 17.7% out of 337,384 students last year under the old format.
Nawal said the results should not be compared with last year as the format has been changed to suit the aspirations of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2015.
“This year should be the benchmark,” she said, adding that the UPSR format had not been changed for the past decade.
She also said that children’s development and assessment in school should not be based just on their ability to score but also on how well they performed in their school assessment, physical activity, sports and co-curricular assessment, and psychometric assessment.
She said this was why schools were instructed to provide reports on the above when they handed out the results slips to the pupils.
She added that one of the aspirations of the blueprint was to produce students with strong leadership qualities and thinking skills.
Hence, Nawal said the syndicate decided to include elements of higher order thinking skills (HOTS) in this year’s UPSR.
“The HOTS questions have been designed to test if a pupil has grasped the concept,” she said.
She also said the incorporation of HOTS questions was not new as it has been part of the KSSR.
“We want to develop HOTS from the time these children are in primary school,” she said, adding that the process of developing these skills happen during teaching and learning in the classroom.
Science teacher Menaga Salvarajoo said previously in Science, pupils were required to sit for one paper that was divided into two sections.
Section A had 30 objective questions and contributed to 60% of the grades, while Section B had five subjective questions, and made up the remaining percentage.
Under the new format for the 2016 UPSR, Menaga said Science had Paper One comprising 40 objective questions and Paper Two with eight experiment-based questions.
“The pupils had to sit for two papers that contributed to the grade 50-50. Pupils who are weak in Science and do not know the answer couldn’t just tembak (shoot) because of Paper Two,” she said.