KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Students performed better in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination last year compared to the previous cohort, the Education director-general disclosed today.
Datuk Amin Senin said the national grade point average improved to 4.89 from 4.90 the previous year, with a smaller figure indicating better results.
“Our marginal increase in performance is also considered normal for a public exam which is also offered through non-criteria ways,” he said referring candidates not enrolled in public schools.
Amin said the improvement was likely attributable to the inclusion of more questions using the High-Level Thinking Skills (KBAT) format.
“These questions test the students on four main characteristics; their inventive and analytical thinking skills, before needing them to evaluate and then apply the information in their answers,” he said.
Amin said about 30 per cent of questions in the SPM examinations were in the KBAT format, up from the 20 per cent at its point of introduction in 2014.
He noted that results for History had improved the most among all subjects last year, noting it was compulsory for students to obtain a pass for it to qualify for a SPM certificate.
However, language subjects recorded a marginal drop across the board.
“We actually don’t know why the language performance has declined, but we are aware reading is not one of the strongest subjects,” he told a press conference today.
“That is why we are revamping our Nilam reading program to encourage more critical thinking alongside reading,” he said.
Nilam, or Nadi Ilmu Amalan Membaca, is a program introduced in schools in 1999 by the ministry to inculcate reading as a habit.
Points were awarded to students under the Nilam program for every book they read, with rewards at the end of the schooling year as incentives to students.
Amin also highlighted how students had excelled more in questions which required more inventive and evaluative thinking skills.
“The students however were not as good in questions that required more analytical thinking skills and the application of the information,” he said.
Amin revealed 2.2 per cent or 8,436 from the 421,706 students managed to score As in all subjects, while 19 per cent scored at least Cs in all subjects.
Some 37.7 per cent of students barely made the grade by scoring E in all papers, while 1.12 per cent of them failed all their subjects.
“The ones who failed all the subjects could be students who are not enrolled in public schools, as they would have been required to sit for at least seven subjects,” Amin explained.