Exam Reduction - Are We Over-reliant On This Security Blanket?

5th October 2018

Exam Reduction

Exam Reduction

In a recent article on exam reduction,

Ong Ye Kung

Ong Ye Kung

[…he (Mr Ong YK) also strongly urged tuition centres not to simulate “examination-like conditions” for students to make up for the lost examinations, noting that there are a few who have said they will do so. “Doing so would just be preying on the apprehension and anxieties of parents and students,” he said. “Instead, try to understand why these changes are important to better prepare our young for the future, and help explain this to parents.” “You are going against a very well-thought-out policy which I think has quite good support among students, teachers, and parents,” he told reporters later. “So please work with us.”] 

Source: CNA article

I think the rationale for tests is to assess students’ learning, not “making up for lost exams”. In fact, i think schools will also be continuing un-weighed tests to assess the learning objectives have been met. The key term here is “un-weighed”,  so that it does not add to the students’ stress. For tuition centres whose main objective is improvement of exam grades, it is unlikely to reduce test frequency. We do not speak for other centres, but at Mr Khemistry, we will neither increase nor decrease the number of tests/mock exams. Our main objective is really to let students see how much they understood the contents covered so far and what areas/concepts they might need further strengthening in. Since tuition centres’ tests does not count toward any promotion criteria in school, it will unlikely add a lot of stress to the students. 

An unintentional bottleneck?

In all learning, we need to have milestone/check-point to assess whether we have truly grasped what we have learned. The reason why there’s so many assessments is because we only start to internalize what we learned through practice. The copious amount of content they are supposed to master in the 1.5 years in college is the main reason why frequency of tests/exams is so high.  The main issue is not the rigour of H2 Chemistry (or any other H2 subjects) nor high exam frequency, it is the content quantity. Viewed at a macro level, it’s not difficult to see the bottleneck at JC level. 6 years for foundation at primary school, 4 years for ordinary level at secondary school, 2 years for Advanced level at Junior College, 3-6 years for specialization at University level. 

It’s not difficult to see why Junior College students are stressed out.

What do you think? Leave us a comment!

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