Public Exams Should Be Abolished

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―Public exams should be abolished. Do you agree?‖

  Public exa
minations play an important role in a student‘s life in Malaysia. In his eleven years of schooling, a student has to sit for three major public examinations, the UPSR, PMR and SPM.These examinations are taken seriously by all parties involved, especially students because the resultsare used for a wide range of purposes ranging from placement of students to awarding of scholarships.Despite these advantages, I strongly believe that public examinations should be abolished as they haveseveral drawbacks.   To begin with, public examinations to some extent merely test a student‘s ability to memoriseand regurgitate facts. Bloom‘s taxonomy of learning ranks these skills as lower order thinking skills. Higher order thinking skills such as application and inference are often neglected. Students withexcellent memory do well in such examinations while those with poor memorising skills do poorly.Thus, it is not surprising that many students with poor recall skills loathe subjects like History andBiology. Another case in point is the Moral Education paper, which requires students to memorise moral values. This is not a valid test as it tests only a student‘s knowledge of values, not the practice of these values. An A in this paper does not guarantee that the student is a morally sound and virtuousindividual. And what about the student who gets an E? Are we suggesting that he is not a morallyupright individual? Another reason why I am not in favour of public examinations is that they are not the bestway to iden tify a student‘s strengths or weaknesses. This is because these examinations test onlycertain skills. Allow me to illustrate my point. The language papers, for example, test a student‘s reading and writing skills only and even so, the range of sub-skills tested is limited. An A in these subjects does not reflect a student‘s competency in all areas of the language. For all you know, he may be an...
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