Friday, August 13, 2010

Singapore Marking System in Education is Rigid

Extracted from local newspaper TodayOnline Aug 13, 2010 article When a right answer is wrong:

I REFER to the letter by Chan Wai Piew on the rigidity of schools' marking criteria, "Incomprehensible comprehension" (Aug 11), and wish to share my similar experience.

My son is appearing for the PSLE exams this year and last month, I attended his school's briefing for parents. During the Science session, the teacher highlighted that, in answering short questions, students can only give their explanation in relation to their selected answer.

So for example, in an experiment showing two kettles with same volume of water, where kettle A is placed on a bigger flame surface than kettle B, the question asked would be: Which kettle of water will boil first, and why?

The answer most students would give would be kettle A. But the explanation would be considered correct and marks awarded only if the students say that kettle A was subject to a bigger burning surface. Students who explain that kettle B was subject to a smaller burning surface area would not be given marks.

In the English session, the teacher in-charge told us that when the students transform a sentence which contains the word "yesterday", the term to use in its place must be "the previous day".

A phrase that's typical used, "the day before", would no longer be accepted, we were told.

Despite seeking clarification from the teacher, I am still not able to comprehend the rigid rationale of the marking system.

Why should we hinder the creativity of young minds when they are still answering to the point and giving the correct analysis?

I didn't know Singapore's education system is so rigid. Can't the marking be more flexible?

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