Deputy minister: Test results won’t be prime indicator of school performance anymore

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon said the ministry will next year begin using a new ranking system for schools. — Bernama pic
Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon said the ministry will next year begin using a new ranking system for schools. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — Local schools will no longer be ranked primarily on the academic results of their students from next year onwards, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon has said.

Chong said the Education Ministry will next year begin using a new ranking system for schools, replacing the current method in which examination results account for more than two-thirds of the overall scores.

“When we were pushing the National Education Blueprint, we found that when the Education Ministry evaluates schools, 70 per cent is based on examination results to determine ranking; therefore, we hope to reduce the ratio which over-emphasises examinations, and at the same time pay attention to other areas,” he was quoted saying by local daily Sin Chew Daily.

He said the new ranking system would cover other things such as a school’s administration and student discipline.

When contacted, Chong confirmed he was referring to the ministry’s School Improvement Programme, which categorises public primary and secondary schools from Band 1 to Band 7 based on their performance. Band 1 is for top performers while Band 7 is for low-performing schools.

“Previously 70 per cent rating based on academic achievement, new system will reduce that to a much smaller percentage. A much improved and better way to rate our school and free them from the pressure of exam-oriented education,” he told Malay Mail Online when commenting on the new banding system.

He said details of the new system will only be announced after approval by the education minister.

In news reports, Chong said the new banding system would dovetail with the ministry’s move to reduce the use of workbooks in schools.

The ministry issued a circular on February 3, 2000 as a guideline to all primary school principals and teachers, saying that students from Primary 1 to Primary 3 are barred from using additional workbooks as they already had such exercise books prepared by the ministry.

The 2000 circular only allowed Primary 4 to Primary 6 students the use of one workbook each for the subjects of the Malay language, English, Mathematics, Science, as well as for the subject of Chinese or Tamil for vernacular school students.

The circular was the latest in a series of ministry circulars — dating as far back as the 1990s — that reminded primary schools that supplementary workbooks should not be used to the neglect of textbooks as the main learning material. 

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