The Education Ministry has announced that Year Six students sitting for next month’s Primary School Assessment Test (UPSR) would have to sit for an Aptitude Test too. I have some reservations over the impact this additional test can have on our children.
The grading system for this particular test ranks from Very Good User (Band Six) to Extremely Limited User (Band One) like the Malaysian University English Test (MUET).
In other words, besides receiving grading for the UPSR examination subjects, the students would have to undergo another grading. Although the outcome of the Aptitude Test would not be included in the final result, I worry that this would become yet another labelling of the children.
The kids are graded for the subjects that they have learned at the primary school education level. Those who scored all As in the UPSR are often deemed bright or gifted. The more As they score, the more compliments, such as “smart” and “intelligent”, that they receive from society.
On the other hand, students who score less As or have none at all, would be referred to as “dull” or “stupid”, or even cursed as “idiotic”.
Imagine a group of students who have not done well in their UPSR examination and obtained moderate band in the Aptitude Test. How would they feel? Wouldn’t they feel like they would be labelled “stupid” by our education system and hence lose interest in their studies altogether?
Won’t they have a negative mindset from then onwards? Won’t this mindset then turn into a vicious circle in that if they still fail to get good results in secondary school, they will be even more demoralised?
I am quite sure that they would as I have personally been through this vicious circle when I was still in school.
A phobia for examinations haunted me throughout my schooling days until my very last exam in university. For me, examination is rigid and it can’t possibly reflect a learner’s progress.
My failure to do well in exams even prompted me to think negatively that examinations are merely part of a system that benefits students whose brains work like a photostat machine that copies and pastes everything from textbooks onto the test papers.
Those who fit this rigid system and score well were deemed “talented”, and for those who do not fit this system, have to forget about getting first class or second upper for their degrees (for their assignments score might not accumulate enough marks for an A).
As a person who have been through this phobia and earned negative remarks based on exams, I really do not wish to see our children suffer even more than I did.
Their sufferings will kill off their interest and creativity in studies.
YEOW BOON KIAT,