Students and teachers relieved by new STPM format
By KANG SOON CHEN and FARIK ZOLKEPLI
PETALING JAYA: Students and teachers are generally relieved that the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) exam format will be revamped to include school-based assessment.
The move by the Education Ministry to change the format has re-affirmed school-leaver Nurul Nadiah Nordin’s conviction that Form Six is an appealing option for students in pre-university studies.
“I am relieved that the new format has one examination at the end of every term instead of one major exam; this will be less taxing to students,” said the former student of SMK Abdul Rahman Talib in Pahang.
Nurul Nadiah, who is waiting for her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results, said as the new STPM format would be similar to the A-levels examination, she was considering enrolling in Form Six.
“I will be able to ease my parents’ financial burden if I were to take up STPM,” she said.
She added that she had confidence in STPM as it was touted to be one of the toughest examinations in the world.
“Even Oxford University accepts students based on their STPM results, so I have little to worry about.”
Low Pei Heng, another school-leaver from SMK Sultan Ismail 2, Kuala Terengganu, said he used to be daunted by STPM due to its reputation as a very difficult exam.
“The new format is definitely better than the old one. Previously, the student’s fate is sealed by just one final exam,” said Pei Heng.
However, he is concerned that the school-based assessment will make the examination less objective.
“Different teachers are marking the assignments for each school, so I am worried that the exam will not be so fair,” he added.
A senior teacher who is teaching the General Paper said the new system would allow students to score better.
“This is because each term exam will test students on a narrower scope. So, they will be able to focus better,’’ said the teacher who does not want to be identified.
Another teacher cautioned that teachers might end up with more work and not have enough time to help students prepare for their final centralised exam as they had to complete the final syllabus in a shorter time frame.
In Kuala Terengganu, Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi said the new grading system would begin this year.
Dr Mohd Puad said the assessment would be conducted at the end of each semester.
“It will start with the new Lower Six intake in June, who will be taking the first semester examination in November,” he said after opening SMK Tok Jiring’s Parent-Teachers Association meeting yesterday.
“It will also enable the students to repeat any subject (in which they obtained low marks) at the end of the third semester,” he said, adding that the system would allow more flexibility in their studies.
“We hope the new system will attract more students to sit for the STPM,” he said.