A life-en­rich­ing skill

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Private & International School Guide -

IT is ex­am­i­na­tion sea­son at in­ter­na­tional schools and col­leges once again. Years 11 and 13 stu­dents have nearly com­pleted their In­ter­na­tional Gen­eral Cer­tifi­cate of Se­condary Ed­u­ca­tion (IGCSE), Gen­eral Cer­tifi­cate of Se­condary Ed­u­ca­tion (GCSE) and A-Lev­els ex­am­i­na­tions by the var­i­ous ex­am­i­na­tion boards.

The ex­am­i­na­tions bring an end to one stage of their ed­u­ca­tion and pre­pare them for the next. Ex­am­i­na­tions im­prove learn­ing and help stu­dents fo­cus on their learn­ing. With­out th­ese, there is no chal­lenge.

Ex­am­i­na­tions are a sum­ma­tive as­sess­ment that puts a grade to learn­ing, which is a sym­bol of at­tain­ment by many par­ents, giv­ing them brag­ging rights. More im­por­tantly, that num­ber tells the child where he stands against the rest of the co­hort and how much more he can achieve.

Life is a se­ries of ex­am­i­na­tions where you are as­sessed con­stantly and eval­u­ated be­fore be­ing judged.

Af­ter com­plet­ing Form Five or Year 11, you take another pro­gramme – per­haps the A-Lev­els. Then, you move to the univer­sity of your choice and study for another three or four years, cram­ming for your year-end ex­am­i­na­tions be­fore you grad­u­ate.

When you ap­ply for a job, your re­sume is as­sessed, an­swers eval­u­ated and abil­i­ties tested.

Now you set­tle in your new job, where you are con­stantly be­ing eval­u­ated and as­sessed. Your de­ci­sions and lead­er­ship skills are scru­ti­nised. Your per­for­mance is dis­cussed for­mally at ap­praisals. Just as ex­am­i­na­tions never end, so does learn­ing. We are learn­ing all thetime.

Your first pa­per qual­i­fi­ca­tion, be it the IGCSE or GCSE, is merely a step­ping stone to the next stage of ed­u­ca­tion, which not only pre­pares stu­dents for the sub­jects they have stud­ied over the past few years but also to face the next cy­cle of chal­lenges.

With this first set of ex­am­i­na­tions out of the way, stu­dents will recog­nise that they have over­come the hard­ships they faced on the road to this very mo­ment and sur­vived the odds, thus mak­ing them stronger in­di­vid­u­als.

Some schools have gone on to hav­ing course­work. This is merel another form of as­sess­ment on a long-term ba­sis. The con­stant as­sess­ment and feed­back can ta its toll on a stu­dent who does not have the right kind of work ethic suited for course­work.

Another stu­dent may thrive in that en­vi­ron­ment but not in a sum­ma­tive ex­am­i­na­tion. We ar all dif­fer­ent, so find­ing the right type of as­sess­ment for your­self is para­mount to find­ing a mea­sure of suc­cess in school.

Course­work can help pre­pare stu­dent for the next stage in ed­u­ca­tion. How­ever, ex­am­i­na­tions have al­ways been the go-to when sep­a­rat­ing the wheat from the chaff.

Let’s face it, ex­am­i­na­tions are tough. Their de­trac­tors say that ex­am­i­na­tions dif­fer­en­ti­ate the goo from the wea act

f life o which we can ver run. Life is tough. Life is un­fair. A sim­ple so­lu­tion? Deal with it.

– By Chong Soh Nee, head of se­condary at elc In­ter­na­tional School.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.elc.edu.my.

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