One foremost in my mind is how easy it is to pass SPM these days. I based this on the comparison of students' achievements in school tests. I think passing marks for many subjects are probably in the tens. I think too that perhaps there is a compromise in the quality of marking too. Students who cannot even write a proper sentence in English can pass their English. And students who consistently score below 10 marks in their school tests can pass too.
The importance of keeping students in the class. Passing grades go up if you can keep them in the class when they're supposed to be there; not the extra classes! In normal day-schools, one of the problems we face is the problem of truancy. Many students come to school but do not remain there. Sometimes they hide in the school compound. There are those who sneak out too. Yet there are those who left home in their uniforms but never made it to school. It is difficult to keep students in the classroom.
A culture of 'kesian' (pity) is pervasive everywhere. That is why, I salute my former Students' Affairs Senior Assistant. A small diminutive lady, she packs twice as many punches as any male teacher I know. Not one to mince her words or actions, students were terrified of her. Yet I know her to be generous to a fault with the students too.... once they do what is right. She walks her talk and it's hard not to see that when results go up, a lot of it has to do with her effort of keeping the students in class. A teacher would only need to tell her that so and so skipped class and you can count on her pursuing those kids, even if it took days sometimes.... the kids wizened up and they will skip school the following day, hoping that they'll be forgotten.
Another SPM topic - I hear that many Chinese students meet their Waterloo with their Chinese subject. I basically don't understand why they have to set standards so high for Chinese. One reason why many Chinese kids miss up on their straight A(s) is because of their Chinese. The other honour belongs to BM. Being in a Chinese school does not make it any easier to score an A for Chinese. But being in a national school will help a Chinese students score better in BM! Go figure.
And if you compare Moral Studies with Pengajian Islam, it's way easier to score an A in Pengajian Islam. It's always difficult to see our Malaysian Education system as being fair. And what might be fair to another might not be to the other. We are all befuddled by our politics.
The push for a higher ratio of students studying Science. I look at the results and my set shows that many of my Science students would be better off taking the Arts or Humanities. They'd get A(s) in BM, Sejarah, Pengajian Islam, and perhaps Science and Maths but hardly ever from Physics, Chemistry, Add Maths or Physics. In fact most of them get D(s) and E(s) for the latter. I think it's wrong advice. These kids would probably be scoring straight or near straight A(s) doing the subjects that they can cope with.
Oh ya! This is the best SPM for the nation in 4 years, according to reports. I think students who do well this year stand to get a windfall, especially the non-Malays. What comes around almost every 5 years? Election!!! There's a likelihood of more scholarships for students who performed well. Keep the parents happy.... feel good factor. It will translate to votes. The GPK improved from 5.34 to 5.19 (lower GPK being better). So, if election is before the next SPM, next year's batch will not be so lucky. Aiya.... now parents have to start planning their kids to coincide with the country's election. LOL! Will next year's GPK continue to improve? It'd be interesting to see whether there is a trend of better results during election (or near election) years. My thoughts are just conjectures. Anyway, I think our education has been politicized.... not a good thing.
So another SPM gone by, another set with its own tale. But one thing stands I think... today's SPM grads don't seem any better despite more sophistications in methodology and facilities.