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    Saturday, October 13, 2007

    Tough Exam?

    Voices // Tuesday, October 9, 2007

    My son, a top student, returned home shattered after difficult PSLE maths paper

    Letter from GUO WEIFU

    THIS year's PSLE mathematics paper has caused many students undeserved anguish.

    Their reactions, including that of the good and gifted ones, were one of despair and discouragement upon encountering problem sums that were set beyond their capabilities. Some even broke down right after the examination.

    My son is in a top class. Mentally strong and confident in mathematics, he returned shattered boy after the exam.

    I immediately checked with friends and teachers from other classes and schools, and the same story was heard.

    Although schools have been equipping pupils with the skills of applying mathematical concepts, many could not complete half or more of the problem sums.

    Is there a huge gap between expectations and ability?

    In the mind of a child, he has either failed or done badly. With his confidence ripped by the mathematics paper, how can a child recover in less than 24 hours to face the next paper?

    Tearing children apart mentally at a developmental stage snuffs out the joy of learning.

    The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) had previously said "the exams were a means to differentiate students of diverse abilities by setting questions of varying difficulty levels".

    It stated that an examination paper should be comparable in difficulty from one year to the next and "teachers know how to prepare their students for the examinations".

    SEAB also stated that different teams of experienced setters, moderators and examiners conduct several rounds of checking of each question and for the paper as a whole.

    The fact different teams are involved is no consolation as it may be a systemic failure from pegging the paper at too high a standard.

    For some parents and students, education is seen as a source of mental torture.

    All I ask is this: Please give the children of Singapore the confidence to face their future with a lion's heart.


    Parents nowadays, don't they have something better to do? Exam is too tough? So? So what do you expect in return by writing into the newspaper? Will the SEAB set another paper for a re-test? Rather than wasting your time writing to the papers, why not use the time to counsel your kid and bring his confidence back? Do parents today even know how to be parents? Or do they only know how to push their kids with huge piles of work and expect fantastic results through never-ending tuitions?

    According to the article, the writer said the son is a TOP STUDENT, MENTALLY STRONG AND CONFIDENT IN MATHEMATICS. So? Once a top student, ALWAYS A TOP STUDENT? Kids nowadays ought to taste some failures in their life, if not, they'll simply grow up to be weaklings when faced with the harsh society. Since he's MENTALLY STRONG, he should be able to cope with obstacles, n not simply collapse after a set back. Being in primary six and a top student, I expected more from him personally.

    You're in a top class, you should have known better what exams is all about. If you're going to let one tough paper to beat you down, then I think you're juz another wimp. Go crying to your mother is all you know? Then perhaps "mentally strong" is not something you're fit to be labeled as. The problem now is not with the paper, it's how the kid actually cope with a set back.

    So what if you're top? So you think everything will be easy to you? Everything will be a breeze to pass through? Let this PSLE be a big lesson to all. Life will not always be smooth sailing. And overly protected kids juz fail in life if nothing is done about it.

    The root of the problem? Parenting. nuff said

    WaiZai fumbled with chopsticks @ 10/13/2007 05:48:00 pm | 0 has delicate hands