School-based assessments could replace UPSR and PT3

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

AS THE government deferred and cancelled major school examinations in the country, an expert has suggested for the Ministry of Education (MoE) to use a school-based assessment to ensure students are not left behind in their studies.

Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs social policy research manager Wan Ya Shin said school-based assessments could still be done to evaluate students as the ministry said it would introduce an alternative method to evaluate students, which would not be based solely on academics.

This is following the decision by the MoE to cancel the Primary School Achievement Test (UPSR) and the Form Three Assessment (PT3) examinations due to disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

“The cancellation of UPSR will not affect the students’ evaluation as assessments can be carried out through various methods,” Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said in a press conference last week.

According to Wan, national examination that covers fewer topics could still be done if the situation stabilises very soon.

“However, this might be difficult if the Movement Control Order (MCO) prolongs since social distancing is still required after that.

“The decision on the method to evaluate students would depend on how long the MCO would last and what are the policies and guidelines on reopening of schools. MoE should prepare for different scenarios that might happen,” she told The Malaysian Reserve in an email reply.

Additionally, the Ministry of Higher Education has also agreed to postpone the admission date for foundation, matriculation and diploma programmes between July and August 2021, and degree programmes to September or October 2021.

Wan said in regards to the postponement, the examination results for both Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) and Malaysian Higher School Certificate (STPM) would be expected to be released before that.

“So, this batch of students should be able to finish their degree or diploma in the expected graduation year if they go to a local public university,” she added.

Last week, the MoE assured that the reopening of schools after the MCO would be subject to advice from the Ministry of Health and the National Security Council.

The MoE also said it will make the announcement at least two weeks before schools are to reopen, so that parents will have enough time to prepare their children to go back to school.