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 Why So Many Exams in P1?

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horer1



Posts : 13
Join date : 2008-10-16

PostSubject: Why So Many Exams in P1?   Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:42 pm

ST FORUM ( 28 Oct 08 )

MY DAUGHTER is in Primary 1 in a neighbourhood school. For her Semester Assessment 2 (SA2), also called year-end examination, I was astonished to find out there are six examinable subjects. Beside the three core subjects - English, Chinese and Mathematics - my daughter has to sit for another three 'Open-Book Exam' (in the exact words of the letter to parents), namely Social Education, Music and Art. All these SA2 exams are spread across a two- to three-week period.
I question the rationale behind having exams in all six subjects in the first year of primary education. Other than the three core subjects, the others are more to develop the individual, morally, socially and aesthetically. Although it is an open-book exam, it will put pupils and parents in a stressful situation. I suggest it be replaced by continual assessment throughout the year.

As we are encouraging schools to 'teach less, learn more', heavy reliance on exams to assess students should be reviewed, particularly in subjects intended to help them appreciate the finer things in life and shape the morals of our children, our future.

I would like to hear the views of the Ministry of Education.


Tan Sze-Tong
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horer1



Posts : 13
Join date : 2008-10-16

PostSubject: MOE's Reply: Why There Are Various Forms of Assessment   Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:44 pm

MR TAN Sze-Tong questioned the rationale behind his daughter having to sit for open-book exams in Social Education, Music and Art in her Primary 1 year-end examinations, and suggested that the school replace them with continual assessment in his letter, 'Why so many exams in Primary 1?' ( Oct 28 ).

All Primary 1 students sit for year-end examinations in three core subjects namely, English, Mother Tongue Language and Mathematics. Some schools, however, might choose to assess their pupils in other areas so as to obtain a holistic understanding of their students' strengths and development needs.

Assessment is an integral part of a child's learning process as it provides feedback to the teacher, the child and parents on the child's performance and level of understanding. Schools decide on the type and frequency of assessments for their students, taking into consideration the learning needs and abilities of the students.

Mr Tan raised the concern of heavy reliance on examinations to assess students. We would like to explain that there are many forms of assessment and these are also meant for various purposes. For example, assessment could be for developmental purposes, to help teachers to plan and pace their lessons accordingly. Schools generally employ both formal and informal modes of assessment, which are integral aspects of teaching and learning.

We thank Mr Tan for his feedback and hope his discussion with the school will provide a clearer picture of the assessment framework and how his child can be helped to enjoy school and learning. We would also like to encourage parents to continue to provide feedback to schools, and work with them to provide a better school experience for our children.

Wong Siew Hoong
Director, Schools
Ministry of Education




horer1 wrote:
ST FORUM ( 28 Oct 08 )

MY DAUGHTER is in Primary 1 in a neighbourhood school. For her Semester Assessment 2 (SA2), also called year-end examination, I was astonished to find out there are six examinable subjects. Beside the three core subjects - English, Chinese and Mathematics - my daughter has to sit for another three 'Open-Book Exam' (in the exact words of the letter to parents), namely Social Education, Music and Art. All these SA2 exams are spread across a two- to three-week period.
I question the rationale behind having exams in all six subjects in the first year of primary education. Other than the three core subjects, the others are more to develop the individual, morally, socially and aesthetically. Although it is an open-book exam, it will put pupils and parents in a stressful situation. I suggest it be replaced by continual assessment throughout the year.

As we are encouraging schools to 'teach less, learn more', heavy reliance on exams to assess students should be reviewed, particularly in subjects intended to help them appreciate the finer things in life and shape the morals of our children, our future.

I would like to hear the views of the Ministry of Education.


Tan Sze-Tong


Last edited by horer1 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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horer1



Posts : 13
Join date : 2008-10-16

PostSubject: Public Response   Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:46 pm

anghwahong

Today, 07:30 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

let's just analyse this reply by officialdom. Did it address the question of the writer who asks why so many exams in Primary One? NO.
What's MOE for if they always pass the buck to the schools for so many exams?- 'schools..choose to assess their pupils in other areas...Schools decide on the type and frequency of assessments.'
When the writer asks for reasons why so many exams the MOE tells you `there are many forms of assessment and these are also meant for various purposes.. developmental' instead of answering why so many exams. This tactically evades the question asked.
MOE says "Assessment is an integral part of a child's learning process" - no-one is disputing this but over-assessment taxes and stresses the pupils and this is the nub which the MOE reply seems to overlook.

(#3)
Devil_XiaoWei

Today, 07:41 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr Tan, our education system is only exam oriented. Wong Siew Hoong is my RI classmate was also the principal of RI. He thinks that everyone can be groomed this way. I am afraid he is wrong. Hector Chee taught RI boys the open book style. Yes, RI boys and not at primary 1. Never let a child lose his childhood by forcing exams on them You will see lots of children seeking treatment at IMH Mr.Wong.


Devil_XiaoWei

(#4)
anghwahong

Today, 08:20 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Is the MOE is inhabited by elites like RI, RJC RGS alumnis that they are they fromulate policies in ivory tower by coming out with beautiful brilliant thesis that bears no inkling of the realities on the ground?
Too many like French General Navarre who lost Dien Bien Phu to the Viet Minhs - you can't be too clever as the smart are blinded by huge egos and can make the most foolish fatal mistakes.


anghwahong

(#5)
abideh

Today, 09:37 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our education system is very exam oriented...speaking from my own personal exp as parent with 2 teens, the only measure of a child worth in school is how well they score in their exam...others good deed by student is not put into exam and is forgotten.
Good student is base on good exam result...student who fail will hav a thougher time at school.
I think moe should get student and teachers feedback on what's the best way to teach and learn.


abideh

(#6)
RedFire_Ant

Today, 09:51 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Examinations are formidable even to the best prepared. Come on man, how to test a Pri 1 boy? Being an exam smart education system, most students cannot think critically. It is parroting like a 4 year old belting out pop songs at a singing contest. Natural talent? am afraid not.


RedFire_Ant

(#7)
fabritech01

Today, 10:49 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

it is ironic that while at lower educational levels, holistic approaches are taken, when it comes time to awarding scholarships, academic results take centre stage. In behavioral psychology, this is a conflict.


fabritech01

(#Cool
suakusuaku

Today, 01:05 PM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For the A-levels , I feel that exams is still a fairer way of assessment than project work.

A student might score a B grade for Project Work if he is in JC2 in RJC in 2007. If the same student were in HCI, he would have obtained an A grade. Similarly, a student in JC2 in 2008 in Serangoon JC might score a B grade for Project Work. But, he would have scored an A grade if he were to be in Yishun JC.So, is this a fair assessment?

Temasek JC has learnt their lessons from the PW results in 2007. Hence, there was a great jump in A scorers from 2007 to 2008 in Temasek JC.

Though the results of Project Work are obviously not reliable to assess the students' ability, they are important, more important than those for Mother Tongue , in ensuring a place in the local universities.

To me, exam is still a better way than PW as a form of assessment.


suakusuaku

(#9)
HelenaYeo

Today, 04:56 PM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As a former teacher, I have been quite interested in letters about education, and I have read many letters from this director of education, Mr Wong.

His letters are very typical of those written by the civil service in reply to the public. They don't really answer the question. Just look at this one.

A member of public, Mr Tan, wrote a letter to ask a simple question:'Why so many exams in Primary 1?' (Oct 28).

Instead of answering that question by saying something like 'Pri 1 has so many exams because....', Mr Wong, the director of education, goes off-topic by telling us 'why there are various modes of assessment'.

Excuse me, my dear director of education, Mr Wong. One can have many modes of assessment and still have fewer exams.

For instance, let's say that for pri 1, one school conducts 1 oral exam, 1 open-book exam, 1 closed-book exam, and 1 practical exam per month. Another school conducts 10 written exams per month. Obviously, in this case, the former has more modes of assessment than the latter, but the latter school has 'so many more' exams than the former.

I hope our dearest director of education, Mr Wong, can see the difference here, and answer Mr Tan's questions.


HelenaYeo

(#10)
aixinjueluo_duoergun

Today, 09:15 PM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

HelenaYeo,

I still remember that my English teachers used to reprimand us for not answering the question (NAQ).

Maybe this Mr Wong deserves some scolding and punishments from English teachers too!!!! Make him pull his ears and stand on the table???




horer1 wrote:
MR TAN Sze-Tong questioned the rationale behind his daughter having to sit for open-book exams in Social Education, Music and Art in her Primary 1 year-end examinations, and suggested that the school replace them with continual assessment in his letter, 'Why so many exams in Primary 1?' (Oct 28).

All Primary 1 students sit for year-end examinations in three core subjects namely, English, Mother Tongue Language and Mathematics. Some schools, however, might choose to assess their pupils in other areas so as to obtain a holistic understanding of their students' strengths and development needs.

Assessment is an integral part of a child's learning process as it provides feedback to the teacher, the child and parents on the child's performance and level of understanding. Schools decide on the type and frequency of assessments for their students, taking into consideration the learning needs and abilities of the students.

Mr Tan raised the concern of heavy reliance on examinations to assess students. We would like to explain that there are many forms of assessment and these are also meant for various purposes. For example, assessment could be for developmental purposes, to help teachers to plan and pace their lessons accordingly. Schools generally employ both formal and informal modes of assessment, which are integral aspects of teaching and learning.

We thank Mr Tan for his feedback and hope his discussion with the school will provide a clearer picture of the assessment framework and how his child can be helped to enjoy school and learning. We would also like to encourage parents to continue to provide feedback to schools, and work with them to provide a better school experience for our children.

Wong Siew Hoong
Director, Schools
Ministry of Education




horer1 wrote:
ST FORUM ( 28 Oct 08 )

MY DAUGHTER is in Primary 1 in a neighbourhood school. For her Semester Assessment 2 (SA2), also called year-end examination, I was astonished to find out there are six examinable subjects. Beside the three core subjects - English, Chinese and Mathematics - my daughter has to sit for another three 'Open-Book Exam' (in the exact words of the letter to parents), namely Social Education, Music and Art. All these SA2 exams are spread across a two- to three-week period.
I question the rationale behind having exams in all six subjects in the first year of primary education. Other than the three core subjects, the others are more to develop the individual, morally, socially and aesthetically. Although it is an open-book exam, it will put pupils and parents in a stressful situation. I suggest it be replaced by continual assessment throughout the year.

As we are encouraging schools to 'teach less, learn more', heavy reliance on exams to assess students should be reviewed, particularly in subjects intended to help them appreciate the finer things in life and shape the morals of our children, our future.

I would like to hear the views of the Ministry of Education.


Tan Sze-Tong
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horer1



Posts : 13
Join date : 2008-10-16

PostSubject: Re: Why So Many Exams in P1?   Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:57 am

Mad
There are a few items that were left unsaid in the communication between Mr Wong and Mr Tan. First, whether the number of examinations ("SA") administered to a P1 student in the neighbourhood school was justifiable. Second, whether 'non core' subjects, which according to Mr Tan, exist more to "develop the individual morally, socially and aesthetically" should slap students with an open-book examination. Third, whether his suggestion of replacing this examination with continual assessment ("CA") throughout the year would indeed serve the mandate of MOE's current TLLM ideology.

In order to address these questions, we need to have a clear understanding of what assessment is about and the relationship between CA and SA. An open-book examination is only one of the ways to assess a student that will serve a specific purpose(s). Presumably in this case, it is to determine the overall learning of the student in these subjects in the year. Whether there could be other form of assessment to serve this aim would ultimately depend on how the school has structured and delivered its art, music and social studies programme. It is conceivable for instance that a final end-of-year examination is suitable for a music course that perhaps focus on music theory and appreciation. Numerous parents send their child for the esteemed ABRSM theory examination at the tender age of 5 and 6. Whether a primary school should have the rights to administer an equivalent examination for its P1 student is debatable. On the other hand, there are other purpose of assessment, highlighted by Mr Wong, that are less well-served by an examination. The readiness of the P1 student to sit for six examinations and its impact on their future learning of these subjects have to be considered as well. Mr Tan's suggestion of replacing the SA with CA is not tenable if the aims of the assessment would actually be in conflict or were not met. It may in fact create a even more undesirable situation whereby the students would be regularly examined to determine their level of achievement rather than helping them to cultivate the passion of learning through assessment.

horer1 wrote:
MR TAN Sze-Tong questioned the rationale behind his daughter having to sit for open-book exams in Social Education, Music and Art in her Primary 1 year-end examinations, and suggested that the school replace them with continual assessment in his letter, 'Why so many exams in Primary 1?' ( Oct 28 ).

All Primary 1 students sit for year-end examinations in three core subjects namely, English, Mother Tongue Language and Mathematics. Some schools, however, might choose to assess their pupils in other areas so as to obtain a holistic understanding of their students' strengths and development needs.

Assessment is an integral part of a child's learning process as it provides feedback to the teacher, the child and parents on the child's performance and level of understanding. Schools decide on the type and frequency of assessments for their students, taking into consideration the learning needs and abilities of the students.

Mr Tan raised the concern of heavy reliance on examinations to assess students. We would like to explain that there are many forms of assessment and these are also meant for various purposes. For example, assessment could be for developmental purposes, to help teachers to plan and pace their lessons accordingly. Schools generally employ both formal and informal modes of assessment, which are integral aspects of teaching and learning.

We thank Mr Tan for his feedback and hope his discussion with the school will provide a clearer picture of the assessment framework and how his child can be helped to enjoy school and learning. We would also like to encourage parents to continue to provide feedback to schools, and work with them to provide a better school experience for our children.

Wong Siew Hoong
Director, Schools
Ministry of Education




horer1 wrote:
ST FORUM ( 28 Oct 08 )

MY DAUGHTER is in Primary 1 in a neighbourhood school. For her Semester Assessment 2 (SA2), also called year-end examination, I was astonished to find out there are six examinable subjects. Beside the three core subjects - English, Chinese and Mathematics - my daughter has to sit for another three 'Open-Book Exam' (in the exact words of the letter to parents), namely Social Education, Music and Art. All these SA2 exams are spread across a two- to three-week period.
I question the rationale behind having exams in all six subjects in the first year of primary education. Other than the three core subjects, the others are more to develop the individual, morally, socially and aesthetically. Although it is an open-book exam, it will put pupils and parents in a stressful situation. I suggest it be replaced by continual assessment throughout the year.

As we are encouraging schools to 'teach less, learn more', heavy reliance on exams to assess students should be reviewed, particularly in subjects intended to help them appreciate the finer things in life and shape the morals of our children, our future.

I would like to hear the views of the Ministry of Education.


Tan Sze-Tong
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horer1



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Join date : 2008-10-16

PostSubject: Another Response   Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:54 pm

I refer to the letter by the Ministry of Education (MOE), 'Why there are various forms of assessment' (Nov 4). I had written six months ago on a related issue - non-disclosure of assessment papers by the Board for Teaching and Testing of South Asian Languages.

To quote MOE: 'Assessment is an integral part of a child's learning process as it provides feedback to the teacher, the child and parents on the child's performance and level of understanding.'

From this statement, the board is doing only half the job - it assesses students through exams but for whose benefit? These assessments are merely used to write marks in report cards as in the past five years I have not seen my sons' exam papers in Mother Tongue (Hindi). I have no idea of the mistakes my sons made in those papers. Neither teachers nor students nor parents have access to these answer papers. Since the teachers have not seen the papers, they are unable to guide the students in how to improve. I have been able neither to express disappointment at shoddy and careless work nor praise a good performance. Marks awarded to students in an assessment are also an indication of how and where they need to improve. Each student has his strengths and weaknesses - concerned parents need to know these so we can help them to do their best. Our repeated pleas to those concerned have been in vain.

We are not asking for much - only a change for the better.


horer1 wrote:
MR TAN Sze-Tong questioned the rationale behind his daughter having to sit for open-book exams in Social Education, Music and Art in her Primary 1 year-end examinations, and suggested that the school replace them with continual assessment in his letter, 'Why so many exams in Primary 1?' ( Oct 28 ).

All Primary 1 students sit for year-end examinations in three core subjects namely, English, Mother Tongue Language and Mathematics. Some schools, however, might choose to assess their pupils in other areas so as to obtain a holistic understanding of their students' strengths and development needs.

Assessment is an integral part of a child's learning process as it provides feedback to the teacher, the child and parents on the child's performance and level of understanding. Schools decide on the type and frequency of assessments for their students, taking into consideration the learning needs and abilities of the students.

Mr Tan raised the concern of heavy reliance on examinations to assess students. We would like to explain that there are many forms of assessment and these are also meant for various purposes. For example, assessment could be for developmental purposes, to help teachers to plan and pace their lessons accordingly. Schools generally employ both formal and informal modes of assessment, which are integral aspects of teaching and learning.

We thank Mr Tan for his feedback and hope his discussion with the school will provide a clearer picture of the assessment framework and how his child can be helped to enjoy school and learning. We would also like to encourage parents to continue to provide feedback to schools, and work with them to provide a better school experience for our children.

Wong Siew Hoong
Director, Schools
Ministry of Education




horer1 wrote:
ST FORUM ( 28 Oct 08 )

MY DAUGHTER is in Primary 1 in a neighbourhood school. For her Semester Assessment 2 (SA2), also called year-end examination, I was astonished to find out there are six examinable subjects. Beside the three core subjects - English, Chinese and Mathematics - my daughter has to sit for another three 'Open-Book Exam' (in the exact words of the letter to parents), namely Social Education, Music and Art. All these SA2 exams are spread across a two- to three-week period.
I question the rationale behind having exams in all six subjects in the first year of primary education. Other than the three core subjects, the others are more to develop the individual, morally, socially and aesthetically. Although it is an open-book exam, it will put pupils and parents in a stressful situation. I suggest it be replaced by continual assessment throughout the year.

As we are encouraging schools to 'teach less, learn more', heavy reliance on exams to assess students should be reviewed, particularly in subjects intended to help them appreciate the finer things in life and shape the morals of our children, our future.

I would like to hear the views of the Ministry of Education.


Tan Sze-Tong
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