Examine, Evaluate, Estimate

I recently read that the new Form 3 exams are going to be called PT3 – Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3. As far as I understand it, taksir means to estimate. Checking the DBP dictionary, it seems that I am not wrong in saying that one of the meanings of taksir is anggar or estimate.

So, we’ve moved from examinations, to evaluations and finally to estimations. Whomever came up with the idea for PT3 deserves a medal. I can imagine all the jokes that the kids are going to crack about their PT3 results – merely an estimate.

The idea of decentralisation is great, assuming that we have the system in place to manage it. Otherwise, it is just going to be abused by the schools to improve their own rankings by ensuring that everyone scores. It’s a win-win situation.

This is probably why they’re calling it an estimate – because the results are not accurate as they’re subject to what the teacher had for breakfast that day. A student’s results will vary depending on which school they were enrolled in.

In order to moderate and mitigate such problems, teachers need to be transferred regularly. This is the same system that I always use to moderate marks when judging national/international competitions.

The typical way of doing judging at these competitions is to break the teams up into groups and have each group judged by a different panel of judges. The judges then select the best from each group and then filter out which ones are the winners. If necessary, the finalists are called for another round of judging.

Much like the World Cup, actually.

However, this results in a lot of favouritism as each panel will have their favourites and will try to stick to their favourites. This is what I’ve seen every time I conduct judging at these competitions. To solve the problem, I rotate the judges at the group stage.

As a result, there are no fixed panels and every judge sees a different set of teams. So, it’s not easy for anyone to hold onto their favourites. We’ll still need to find the best teams from each group, but the judges in each group are now rotated – and moderated.

So, I’ll recommend a similar system be used for PT3 – that teachers are rotated regularly so that they do not keep to their favourites. At the very least, their exam papers should be divided into groups and marked by teachers from different schools.

But this is just going to complicate things and I doubt that the MOE has the resources to coordinate such things.

Good luck to those taking their PT3 this year though. It’s tough being the guinea pigs.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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