STARTING this year, UPSR assessment is going holistic, meaning examination results alone would not be enough to excel in school.
Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin said on Tuesday, apart from the examination results, the UPSR assessment, now a part of the Primary School Assessment Report, would evaluate the physical, sports and co-curricular component, classroom component and psychometric component.
But, parents and students are going ballistic. And, understandably so.
The shift in assessment is not merely a change in nomenclature, but one that will require the willing participation of parents and students.
While the move from purely academic assessment to a more holistic assessment is to be welcomed, the Education Ministry could have, at the very latest, informed the students and parents at the beginning of the year.
Abrupt announcements, especially on a policy decision such as this, are not good for teachers nor students.
It would have been ideal to test-run this in some schools before extending it to the whole country.
This would have enabled educators to gather necessary information to formulate the right strategies for the full implementation of the new assessment format.
Pilot projects will be able to mine data, such as the capacity of teachers to manage the teaching and assessment of the various reports, the optimum resources needed to run such a programme and to get the buy-in of the parents and students. Parents’ support is essential because they take on the role of educators once the schools shut their gates.
Like teachers, parents should have been recruited into the new assessment scheme early in the academic year.
Because the ministry did not do this, it does not mean parents should withhold their support. As we do not live in an ideal world, we need to make do with what we have.
Any shortcomings aside, the holistic assessment of students’ performance must be welcomed.
Education does not mean just academic education. It must mean the development of a well-rounded personality and character.
It must also mean acquisition of knowledge and skills, built and supported by values.
A well-rounded student will be confident, and, be better prepared for the future.
This the new primary school assessment system aims to do. As the Education director-general put it, Malaysia must shape a less exam-oriented, “A” focused society. We agree. All “As” and nothing else will make one a dull Malaysian boy or girl.
The Education Department says it will use multiple sources to assess the performance of students, and, we hope, this will be done over a six-year period, eventually, rather than just in Year Six.
Just focusing on the sixth grade may not help in guiding the learning of the child. Motivating a child towards a particular goal is not a short-term target.
A longer timescale of assessment will help teachers guide the learning of young minds. Besides, students too need time to self-reflect and take ownership of learning.