•Two subjects were chosen from Form 2 Sekolah Menengah Sharif Ali test paper •From each subject, three 2007 assessment papers were analysed •The analysis of question papers were based on Bloom’s Taxonomy thinking skill levels, using key words given by Taylor (n.d) in The Use of Questioning in Raising Higher Order Thinking as guidelines
Table 1: The Bloom Taxonomy analysis of Sekolah Menengah Sharif Ali test papers in 2007 which includes the March 2007 First-term test, Mid-year/Third-term examination and End of Year examination for Mathematics and Science subjects Cognitive levelScienceCommerce
First termMid-yearEnd-yearAverageFirst termMid-yearEnd-yearAverage Knowledge52.052.656.053.556.948.963.656.5
Total question (%)100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0
Figure 1: The percentages in bar chart of Bloom’s taxonomy test analysis of First term, Mid Year and End of Year Examinations for Science subject in 2007
From Figure 1, it shows that the test papers from First term, Mid-year and End-year examinations concentrate on testing the students’ knowledge. The percentage on assessing the knowledge only was 53.5%. From the bar chart, it shows that percentage of this type of questions increases from one assessment to the other. The questions that required comprehension skills were higher in the First-term but decreases by the End-year exam; at which more questions were given on application skills. Questions which required the students to analyse were decreasing for the End-year exam but remained the same for the other two. The ability of the students to synthesize and to evaluate was not truly assessed in this subject throughout the year. In summary, the assessments were requiring lower-order of thinking only to pass with 73.7% emphasising on knowledge and comprehension. Figure 2: The percentages in bar chart of Bloom’s taxonomy test analysis of First term, Third-term and End of Year Examinations for Commerce subject in 2007
From Figure 2, more than half of the questions given in the three assessments were on based on the students’ knowledge. However, lower in the Third-term test but became higher again in the End-year exam. Under comprehension level, there were approximately 25% questions asked and slightly higher in the Third-term test. High percentage in assessing students’ knowledge and comprehension skills means that the assessments requiring of lower-order thinking skills. The students with good memory would score highly in these assessments. The higher-order questions; application, analysis and synthesis, were less than 30% and none were asked for evaluation skills of the students.
Figure 3: The comparison in Bloom’s taxonomy of Science and Commerce subjects’ test papers for the First-term, Mid-year and End-year examinations in 2007 for Science and Commerce subjects
Figure 3 shows the comparison of both subjects; science and commerce. From this figure, it shows that the quality of science subject assessment throughout the year was better than commerce assessment papers. Even though both subjects were focusing more on the students’ lower-order of thinking, science subject assessment papers included more difficult questions that need higher-order of thinking i.e. application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Therefore, just by memorising the theory, students could get better grade even without requiring understanding the topics.
Both subjects that were assessed show that more than 50% of the questions were only requiring them to remember the theory taught in class. This could be because the assessment was for lower secondary students. At this level, most of the topics taught in class were new to the students....