Saturday, 23 March 2013

Race To Nowhere

Recently, results of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) was announce. For generations, students in Malaysia have had to mug for the dreaded year-end examinations, in addition to other crucial ones like this one. As a result of the exam-oriented system, their grades are seen to determine their career prospects and define their capabilities, to the extent of limiting them.

For so many decades, public and professional bodies have called for a review of the misuse of exam results in so many different ways. First, exam results are confused with intelligence. Second, results are regarded as permanent and irreversible. This would neglect two factors, namely readiness for learning and stages of maturity. For example, at 17, a girl is brighter than a boy but at 19, it is the other way round. It should not be simplified in terms of examination results.

A student's self-confidence must not be solely tied to academic achievement in one or two exams. It must be grounded on the schooling and socialisation process beyond just academic and paper exam.

Some of the first standardized intelligence tests, called the "Imperial Examinations," were developed over 1500 years ago in China. For over a millennium, the government chose its regional bureaucrats based on their mastery of five basic areas of knowledge, including the arts, law, and military strategy. Some historians call this the first state effort to create a meritocracy, though of course many citizens found these tests unfair and biased towards the elites.

Perhaps the most famous measure of intelligence is the so-called IQ test, which is actually a broad term for a whole range of tests that have been used since the early twentieth century to test people for a range of things. Over a century ago, the term "intelligence quotient" was used by educators and eugenicists alike, but it was first invented by the German psychologist William Stern in the nineteenth century, mostly as a way to characterize developmental disabilities (called "retardation" in the language of the day).

Of course IQ tests have changed a lot over the years since, but the basic scoring system remains the same. How is IQ measured? You'd be surprised at the range of ideas. Generally these days, IQ tests focus on verbal abilities (comprehension, word fluency, number facility, spatial visualization, associative memory, perceptual speed, reasoning, and induction), but in the early part of the twentieth century they focused on non-verbal abilities too.

What does it mean to be highly educated? What's the difference between being highly educated and highly intelligent? Does being highly educated automatically make you highly intelligent? Can one be highly intelligent without being highly educated? Do IQ really mean anything? What makes a person wise? Why is wisdom typically associated with old age?

There are many kinds of IQ tests. Various studies — all of which have been disputed at one time or another —Few would dispute that IQ seems to measure a person's ability to succeed on standardized tests, a skill which often translates well into getting good grades . And those skills can help a person get a college education, and a middle class job. But is "success" the same thing as being smart? Many would argue that it isn't.

The objective of education is to create a holistic person, a human capital resource relevant to the present and future, not the past. The current system is very much exam-oriented as most schools rely 100% on the year-end exams. The review in the context that there is so much of IQ (intelligence quotient) assessment now but very little of other quotients such as emotional, spiritual, physical and financial, which are all very much needed in the current situation. Too much emphasis on IQ is not in line with our education philosophy.

It is impractical in the sense that students should be geared towards lifelong education but our system makes them do last-minute preparations for year-end or public exams.

The only was can we create all-rounders, we need to include elements of critical thinking and communication skills right from the primary level. I do not think it would burden the teachers because if we diversify in relation to what is being needed, it would be a happy occasion for all.

Note:- Congratulation to all Malaysian Student.

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