Friday, 30 October 2009

New SPM Gradings, 10 grades instead of 9???

Back in 2006, when I sat for my Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), we were allowed to take as many subjects as we liked (provided we paid of course) and we had only 9 gradings in the SPM, ranging from the coveted 1A right down to the dreaded 9G. Since then, there have been changes. Students are now limited to 10 subjects and I was told by my dad earlier this month that there would be changes in the SPM gradings. A new grade; A+, will be introduced. Click here for the source article.

Today's NTV7 evening news brought this topic afresh into my mind when the new grade was described as "a more refined way of identifying the truly good students" (this is not a quote mind you...more or less this was said). It got me feeling a little skeptical. I'm no education expert but common sense got me wondering...Do we actually NEED a higher grade in SPM??? I mean, isn't 9 enough already??I have been browsing through forums where there are mixed reactions to this new grade. Some are outraged; they don't want another grade to worry about, some approve; they agree it will be a truer reflection of their academic abilities, while the rest remain indifferent.

Over the years, as the results for the public exams (UPSR,PMR,SPM,STPM) are released there will be news of several students scoring strings of As and rising numbers of students scoring As and so on. Then there will be questions raised about whether the As actually mean the students will continue to be successful in future studies or the grades have merely been inflated. My parents often told me that in their time, back in the 1970's and earlier, scoring an A (notice AN A...not As) meant you were practically a genius. Now, score only one A in SPM, people will probably label you as a no good, lazy student who probably wasted your school years sleeping in class (not strictly true as some people just aren't the studying type but are talented in other ways). But do you get what I'm trying to say here??? You just can't deny that an A now is just not the same as an A 30 years ago.

Personally, I feel that the government's move of introducing this new grade is to pull back up the 'value' of As. However, they can actually achieve that without introducing another grade. All they have to do is impose stricter marking and grading system for the papers. For example, if initially you need 80 marks to score a 1A, make it 90 marks to score a 1A. Then there would be no need to introduce the new A+. But of course, if they did that, there might be a sharp drop in the students' achievement graph. And I guess that wouldn't be a very good motivation for the school-leaving students who are about to enter into a new stage of their education life. No one likes to receive a slip with bad results. Plus I think suicide rates might increase, seeing that there have been cases where students commit suicide over missing out on one A. Hmm...I could see a lot of problems ahead if they were to do what I suggested. So I guess that's why the introduction of A+???

For now, I am not against the introduction of the A+ grading. However, it remains to be seen whether it WILL actually be a way to give the truly high academic achievers their due recognition. I believe that if the government were to stick to their word and set a very high requirement for students to obtain A+, then this may just be the solution for the salvation of SPM gradings. So, I will be crossing my fingers as my brother (who is 17 this year) along with all the other Form 5 students sit for their SPM in 2 week's time.

Just do your best and your results will reflect your effort.Don't worry about the new grading.

I am not indicating that students who have achieved As in the past years are undeserving of them. On the contrary, I acknowledge their hard work and sacrifices to obtain those beautiful results slips. I merely support the more specific move to select the best of the best in the awarding of scholarships and training programmes.

I would be like to hear other opinions or responses to my post.
Please post them in my comments section which you will find at the bottom of this post.
Thank you.

2 squeaked:

Chrys said...

nicely written joyce. u keep me up with the news in msia :)

and yeh i agree with you, no need for the introduction of the A+ but just raise the bar for the former grading system. dunno.. msian edu system.. meh it has been something i kinda despise since always anyway -_-

"Just do your best and your results will reflect your effort.Don't worry about the new grading."

-likes this :)

see you in about a month's time! you'll be in ipoh right? we're gonna BAKE!! PLEASE

JoYce said...

Thanks chrys.Yea,actually this edu thing has always been a rather sticky subject with me..

I just take an interest because my bro and younger cousins are going to be going through whatever they implement or change.I hope there'll only be improvements and not the opposite.

Anyway...YES!!I'll be back in Ipoh around end november because i'll be taking my exams in Ipoh as usual.haha!!can't wait to see you Chrys!! :D

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