SPM papers to be marked online from 2021

Full concentration: SPM candidates sitting for the first day of exams in Klang. — KK SHAM/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Starting this year, the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination papers will be marked online.

Education Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said the online marking system was a good approach to increase productivity.

“It also makes monitoring easier as the head examiner will know who has completed marking and who hasn’t.

“When we postponed the SPM 2020 examinations, students will require their results (fast) so that they can continue their (higher) education while others need them to enter the workforce.

“Naturally, when you postpone the exams, the results too will be postponed.

So, to overcome this problem, we found a method to accelerate the marking of papers while ensuring that the quality is not affected.

“We have increased the number of exam markers and for the first time in history, we switched the marking of all the papers to online, except for Seni Visual, ” he said in an interview on Thursday.

The SPM 2020, said Radzi, was one of the ministry’s biggest challenges in a year hit by Covid-19.

Taken annually by over 400,000 candidates, the SPM could not simply be cancelled or its method changed as some have suggested because it was an internationally accredited exam, he said.

The decision to postpone was also made after finding that students needed more time to prepare.

This was because schools were closed and although they studied at home, it was different, he said.

On the Feb 17 launch of DidikTV Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia, two days before the reopening of schools was announced, he said the channel, dedicated to broadcasting educational content in the country, had its benefits regardless of whether schools were open or close.

“Face-to-face lessons are the more effective way of learning but DidikTV can be used optimally.

“As we move forward, we don’t know what the future holds. DidikTV is beneficial in the event of a pandemic and the closure of schools is prolonged.

“If another wave were to happen and there is no DidikTV, people will then ask – why don’t we have it?

“Don’t look at it as if it will be of no use once schools reopen as it is a method to cover education for all levels and is beneficial in whatever situation, ” he said.

Radzi added that implementing home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) was a challenge because (prior to the pandemic) online learning was only done in school (computer labs).

“Although implementing the PdPR was challenging, parents understood the need for it.

“PdPR doesn’t just have to be online.

“Teachers are allowed to choose the best PdPR approach for their students.”

The ministry has come under fire for what stakeholders termed were “flip flops” when schools reopened in stages from June 24 last year before closing and reopening again this year beginning March 1, and with the implementation of PdPR.

Parents claimed that they had spent money to buy gadgets for PdPR only to have schools reopen soon after.

“Any decision the ministry takes in a crisis are based on current analysis, available data and information, the situation at the time as well as its risks, ” Radzi pointed out.

“Although some term these decisions as ‘flip flops’, we must understand that no one has gone through this process before.

“We have learnt a lot in this one year, ” he said.

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