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Deciding Where To Go After Pt3

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By Sakini Mohd Said

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama) -- With just a few more days left till the new school year, those who sat for the recent Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3) evaluation will have to finalise their academic choices for next year.

Over 400,000 students will have to decide whether to pursue the science or arts stream and whether to opt for boarding school, technical school or a vocational college.

The PT3 results were announced only recently, on Dec 19, but by then many would undoubtedly have made up their minds on where to pursue their upper secondary education.

CLEAR ON THEIR PATH

This was certainly the case with many of the students at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Putrajaya Presint 8(1).

The writer had a chance to speak with them when visiting the school during the PT3 announcement recently.

One of them was Aqmar Batrisyia Zakaria.

"I would like to become a linguistic expert because my passion lies in anything to do with languages. I may have scored 8As and 2Cs and I know that I could easily choose the science stream, but that is not where my heart is," said the 15-year-old to Bernama.

Her decision to not opt into the Science stream resonated with the results of her Psychomestric Assessment (PPsi), which she received alongside her PT3 results.

"The (PPsi) test measures my interests and capability. The results state the three fields and career choices that are most suitable for me.

"I found that my ambition to become a linguistic expert corresponds with the results of the assessment," said Aqmar Batrisyia, who spoke fluent English and could converse in Korean and Japanese as well.

On the day students receive their PT3 results, they will also receive another three sets of result slips which are the school assessment, psychometric assessment and a sports assessment.

Schools will then decide, based on all four assessments, which stream a student is best suited for thus helping parents and students make a more informed decision on the selection of streams.

Based on her results and interests, her parents decided to send their only child to a private school known for its focus on languages next year.

BETTER DECIDED

The writer could not help but compare Aqmar Batrisyia's certainty in a decision concerning her future with that of the students during her time, circa 1998.

After the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) results were out, many of us were still at a loss on what to do next.

Those with excellent results and scores of A on their PMR result slip would typically opt for the science stream or boarding school.

Those whose results were less than stellar would be placed in the arts stream or sent to vocational schools.

Many of the students back then had trouble identifying personal interests and strength, even up until SPM. In fact, some only realised of their poor interest in the field they pursued months after entering university.

This has resulted in the waste of precious resources, especially time.

However, not many of the 15-year-olds today have the same problem, thanks to the PBS system.

Despite their age, many are certain of their interests and strengths and the corresponding path to pursue.

In fact, many who achieved excellent results for their PT3 chose to not pursue their education in the Science stream.

NOT ACADEMIC BASED

With the PBS system, the method of determining the most suitable form of upper secondary education is no longer based solely on academic results.

Starting 2014, students' success is no longer measured by how many As they can score. Instead, the focus is now on identifying their potential and how best to polish it so that they can utilise their talents and ability to build a career in which they have an interest it.

The new PBS system was implemented in stages in secondary schools nationwide, starting with Form 1 students in 2012. The students went on to become the first batch to undergo the PT3 assessment in 2014.

The Malaysian Examination Board's Development and Policy Management Sector Head Dr Rahimah Adam said that PBS was seen as the more holistic approach because it assessed the cognitive, affective and psychomotor aspects of a student, in line with the National Education Philosophy.

On the day the PT3 results are announced, students would not only receive the PT3 results slip but three other results that could be used in determining the stream they should pursue.

"PBS covers four components namely the school assessment, the central assessment, the physical activity, sports and co-curriculum assessment as well as the psychometric assessment.

"However, many are still focusing only on their PT3 results, ignoring the importance of the results of the other assessments," she said.

HOLISTIC

For Rahimah, PBS was designed not only to polish students' academic potential but their co-curricular achievements as well.

The main focus, however, is to produce excellent students who are able to judge their abilities holistically.

As Aqmar Batrisyia has shown, the PPsi evaluation was instrumental in determining the preference of a student, helping them make informed decisions.

The Form 3 PPsi test covers their Career Interest Inventory based on 'Holland's Typology' and the Multiple Intelligences Inventory. The former measures the interest and career inclinations of a student while the latter measures their abilities and intelligence on a detailed level.

"PPsi will be handled by the school's counselling teachers through the methods provided by the Examination Board and it can be used by parents and teachers to evaluate the best stream for a student.

"However, the results need to be read together with the other results to better assess if the inclinations of a student matches up with his or her abilities," said Rahimah.

QUALITY ASSURED

However, the school assessment is an academic process that evaluates a student's progress starting from Form 1 to Form 3 and is handled fully by the teachers and school.

It is aimed at observing the individual abilities of a student through projects, tests and exercises prepared by the teachers.

The central assessment, meanwhile, is a joint responsibility of the examination board and the school. The scoring system and instruments used are provided by the board while the administration, examination and reports are done by the school.

The quality of implementation of PT3 at schools is determined by the school as well as an external assessor appointed by the examination board.

Students' leadership qualities, meanwhile, are determined by their participation, level of involvement and achievement in societal activities and sports through the physical activity, sports and co-curriculum assessment.

FAIR

"It is evident that this system is more thorough than the previous one, and this is what we are trying to achieve. We are going for a more holistic approach towards student development and not focus solely on intellectual progress. PBS is a system designed as such.

"We are not saying that academic achievements are unimportant. Indeed, it is important, but it should not be the only performance indicator we rely on. We do not want our children to feel like their future is bleak if they do not do well academically.

"We need to be more open in accepting the fact that every student have different abilities and weaknesses. It is the abilities that we need to identify, appreciate and nurture so that they will succeed in the future," she said.

BERNAMA