‘SPM format change must be useful’

PETALING JAYA: Changes to the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) format must be purposeful, say educationists.

“While developments in the education system cannot be avoided, changes must be of purpose and not merely because of a new curriculum, ” said educationist Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam (pic).

He was commenting on the announcement by Education director-general Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim, who said changes to the format were due to the new Standard-Based Curriculum for Secondary Schools introduced in 2017.She disclosed that the Examinations Syndicate would upload the information on the ministry’s website next week.

“The ministry is in the process of finalising the format. We are almost done. Schools will receive the information beginning this month.

“It was brought to the highest level, the central curriculum committee, which has given its feedback on the format, ” she told reporters on Thursday after announcing the SPM 2019 result analysis.

Siva Subramaniam said the Education Ministry must ensure the examinations’ standards were also maintained when they made changes.

“Students’ interests must come first. If not, it becomes a mockery of the entire system.

“Opinions of teachers, parents and the public must be sought because people don’t like it when something new is introduced. By the time they find faults in it, it will be too late to implement changes to the system, ” said the former National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general.

Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) chairman Mak Chee Kin said the group hoped the Examinations Syndicate would not be “too ambitious” with the standard and marking scheme.

“They should be based on what our children are learning and their abilities, ” he said.

Parents and teachers also share what they hope to see in the new SPM format.

Fauzia Sultan, whose son will be sitting for SPM next year, hopes to see evaluation-based coursework from Form Four to Form Five, rather than a one-off exam in Form Five.

“A child’s ability should be measured through various aptitudes and not through exams only.

“In fact, the ministry should adopt university-style assessment because it is daunting to expect students to memorise two years of work, ” she said, adding that learning should be fun as knowledge was best acquired when students’ were not under pressure to perform.

Kavitha, another parent, said the ministry should standardise marking formats.

“Either only follow textbook answers or make it easier by following answers from reference books as well. As long as the student is able to make his or her point, ” she said.S. Sri Murugan, an English language teacher from SMK Subang Utama, wishes the new format is both practical and useful to students in the next step of their lives.

“I hope it tests their understanding and skills in the language.”

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Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia , SPM


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