PETALING JAYA: It is not necessary to bring back the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) because the classroom-based assessment (PBD) is working well, says an academic.
However, Anuar Ahmad of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said, the PBD needs to be carried out in an organised manner, where schools should make sure there are not too many students in a class, otherwise, it would overburden the teacher.
“Secondly, the PBD syllabus should not be too heavy, because this would mean teachers would not have the space to carry out classroom-based activities,” Anuar told FMT.
“If you don’t have activities, and the students just sit there and listen to the lessons, how can a teacher assess their students?
“We do not need UPSR because we just need a system that is holistic and trustworthy.”
On Oct 28, education minister Fadhlina Sidek said the government would not revive the UPSR, despite calls from parents for it to be reinstated as a benchmark for their children’s primary school achievement.
She said the ministry was focusing on the 2027 school curriculum implementation survey to develop the new school curriculum to ensure a brighter future in education, Bernama reported.
Anuar said scrapping the UPSR would not have an effect on the quality of students that enrolled in secondary schools because PBD and end-of-semester tests would still be in place.
“These tests measure quality, which means we will still know whether the students have mastered a particular subject,” he said.
UPSR deviated from its original purpose
He said UPSR – a test to measure reading, writing and counting (3Ms) – created “excessive pressure” on the students, teachers and parents.
“If we were to look at the aim of primary education, it is to ensure that students can master their 3M skills and that they are able to build a genuine motivation to study.
“It means that they are not learning solely for exams, but also learning teamwork, communication and cooperation.
“The basis (of primary education) is fun in learning. When they enjoy learning, they will join secondary school with a strong mastery of the 3Ms. They will also be motivated to learn, as they have been inculcated with a fun learning culture,” he said.
However, Anuar suggested the education ministry create a “screening test” to ensure the students who had completed their primary education were well versed in the 3Ms.
“If we do not have this test for 10-year-olds, there might be secondary school students who still cannot read, write and count well,” he said.
Maintain the PBD standard
Parent Action Group For Education Malaysia (PAGE) said the onus was on the education ministry to ensure that PBD maintained the same standard as its predecessor.
Its chairman, Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, said the ministry should review the PBD, determine the students’ desired outcomes and work towards achieving those outcomes.
“Create an independent body to rate and rank our school-based assessments to give confidence to parents and meet their expectations,” she told FMT.
UPSR was abolished last year together with the Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3) examination and replaced with PBD.