KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — The Sarawak government’s proposal to introduce a new assessment for primary school students could enhance the openness of the national education system and prepare it to face a rapidly changing educational environment.

Dr Anuar Ahmad, Secretary of the Education and Human Capital Development Cluster, National Professor Council (MPN) said the diversity of assessment formats would allow primary school students to be evaluated fairly, according to local suitability.

“For example, in Kuala Lumpur, perhaps the best format is classroom assessment. However, in some states and areas where students are too numerous, teachers are insufficient, or local conditions do not encourage activities to take place in the classroom, such an assessment may be less effective.

“As such, an assessment format like the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) might be more effective in assessing the progress of our children,” he said when appearing on Bernama TV’s Malaysia Petang Ini programme today.

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He was responding to Sarawak’s proposal to formulate its own assessment system for sixth-grade students in all government schools in the state to assess their actual performance, as announced by Sarawak Minister of Education, Innovation, and Talent Development Datuk Seri Roland Sagah Wee Inn last month.

The proposal received support from Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek, who stated that it was not contrary to the national education policy and was in line with the direction of the Ministry of Education.

Elaborating, Anuar opined that the diversity of assessment methods would not lead to differences in knowledge mastery among groups of students assessed through school-based assessments or assessments similar to UPSR.

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He said this is because, in general, the goal of every primary school is to produce students with a strong foundation in subjects such as reading, writing and arithmetic before continuing their secondary education.

“Perhaps this could be an issue now. But I believe, as in other countries that practices educational decentralisation, we will see it benefit the children because they are evaluated fairly based on the needs and suitability wherever they are,” he said. — Bernama