Friday, December 13, 2013

PAGE wants education ministry to make public Pisa results, details

PAGE wants education ministry to make public Pisa results, details

Sonia Ramachandran
The Ant Daily 
PETALING JAYA: It did not surprise Malaysians that their country was again ranked poorly when it was placed 52nd out of 65 countries that participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) 2012.

But the question is this: “Shouldn’t the education ministry look at how each individual school fared in assessments and learn from the success of those that did well?

The next question is: “What language was the assessment conducted in as Pisa offers students questions in the main language of instruction in their respective countries where each round focuses on one area --Reading, Mathematics or Science?

This is because the current batch of 15-year-olds in the country still has the option of doing Mathematics and Science in either Bahasa Malaysia or English.

Those are questions posed by Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) chairperson Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim.

She said the figures released to the public were just the average and not the individual schools’ scores.
Azimah now wants the school analysis figures released by Pisa to be made public.

“It would be stated how each school did individually in the school analysis for the country which was given to the education ministry. This has not been made public.

“Nobody knows what language Pisa was actually conducted in. We were made to understand that the schools that chose to do it in English did as well as the developed nations. Can the education ministry confirm this?” she asked.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) administers Pisa on 15-year-olds every three years in both OECD and non-OECD countries.

Pisa’s focus is not on curriculum content, but on students’ ability to apply their knowledge in real-world settings.

Except for a slight improvement in Mathematics, Malaysian students fared below average in the Pisa 2012 survey, scoring 421 in Mathematics, 398 in Reading and 420 in Science, with the global average score being 494 in Mathematics, 496 in Reading and 501 in Science.

The nation came in 52nd for Mathematics, 53rd for Science and 59th for Reading.
Malaysia participated in the Pisa survey for the first time in 2009 and scored 404 in Mathematics, 414 in Reading and 422 in Science.

A 38-point difference on the Pisa scale is equivalent to one year of schooling and a comparison of scores showed that the performance of students in Shanghai was four or more years ahead of that of 15-year-olds in Malaysia.

The top five economies in the latest Pisa survey were Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea, with Vietnam the only third world economy in the top 20 best-performing list, coming in at 17th placing.
Azimah pointed out that if the ministry made public the school analysis it would allow for the best-performing schools to be emulated by others.

“If this is done, it will show the very good schools as well as the poor performing ones. Then we can find out what the good schools are doing right. This can then be shared with the poor performing schools.

“Then let us further analyse why these schools are doing badly. One size does not fit all.
“It now appears that all schools that participated are bad and that the whole education system is bad but there are good schools, so let us reward them. Let them share their secret with others,” she said.

Pisa’s results were not the only black spot for Malaysia’s education sector with the World Bank report titled “Malaysia Economic Monitor: High Performance Education” also criticising the sector.

The report noted that while Malaysia has extensive coverage with its schools and achieved
near-universal access with nine out of 10 Malaysians undergoing at least lower secondary education, a commensurate increase in quality was not observed.

DAP veteran and Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang was reported to have asked: “How is the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025, which aims for Malaysian 15-year-olds to achieve the international average in the 2015 Pisa and 2018 Pisa and to reach the top third of the system in Pisa 2028, going to achieve this gargantuan task?”

Maybe a step towards that direction would be Azimah’s suggestion to look at the best practices currently used and for others to follow.

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