Monday, 16 October 2017

On assessments again

Recently, I attended a talk on statistics and the speaker opined that adding t-scores of different subjects at the PSLE may not be meaningful. The t-score of individual subjects gives information of the relative standing of a student for that subject, but the aggregate score does not tell which subject the student is strong at. A student who gets t-scores of 60 and 70 for languages and 50 and 40 for maths and science will have the same aggregate score as one who gets t-scores of 50 and 40 for languages and 60 and 70 for maths and science. Although the two students may end up in the same school, the disparity in ability for individual subjects may be huge (40 means below the mean while 70 puts the child at around the 98th percentile). The speaker also opined that it was only meaningful to add t-scores for those who are good in every subject.

I think the new grading system that will be implemented from 2021 may not help much as the achievement levels of each subject will again be added up and each child will still be measured by an aggregate score, ignoring his strengths in individual subjects.

My wish: 
1) That the range of marks in the achievement levels be widened especially in the top range.  
2) That students can be recognised for their strengths in individual subjects. 
3) That the duration of maths exams be lengthened so that students have time to employ strategies for checking and savouring.
4) That what is assessed will bear more resemblance to what is done in school. 
5) That learning will be made fun and weighted assessments be less frequent. Informal assessments can be carried out regularly though. 

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