MY DAUGHTER just got a ‘D’ in Bahasa Melayu and a ‘C’ in MIB. This is her BCAT Year 7 result. This has made me wonder how a straight ‘A’ PSR student can get these kind of grades?
During the parent-teacher meeting I tried to ask a few teachers, but I didn’t get a satisfactory answer to this important question. They said it all depends on the students themselves.
Then I asked for suggestions or ways to tackle this issue. I asked for the syllabus, reference book or any support material. The answer was not satisfactory again. In BCAT, there is no syllabus that can be shared, no books to buy and no outside support can be sought whatsoever.
All that parents can do is to follow the materials for projects or activities that these young children do as their exercises. Mind you, 30 per cent of BCAT marks are added to the total marks of Year 8 which will determine whether the students can go for express stream or not.
The BCAT activities vary in style and format from each subject. But there are no reference materials for students and parents to refer to.
All this while we have been quite successful in following the Cambridge ‘O’ and ‘A’ level formats. Why should we deviate from this focus and instead dwell on BCAT style of learning and teaching? Instead of pushing our children to excel in ‘O’ level, they are being taught basic skills like projects and activities in BCAT, which to me have little added value to prepare them for their ‘O’ level.
Some of the BCAT activities are making posters/books, presentation, even art and drama which are useful skills, but to me will not improve their ‘O’ level grades.
I understand the government’s vision is to make 30 per cent of student population achieve Tertiary (university) qualification, then why are we diluting the focus and instead preparing the students for the so-called skills required to face the imaginary scenario of 21st Century challenges.
Basic skills are okay to learn and nice to have but should not be made as a prerequisite for selection into express (2 years) or non-express stream (3 years) at the ‘O’ level.
Furthermore, most of the activities are group efforts and marks are solely dependent on a group’s outcome.
The method of teaching can be different as long as the goal is achieved. But if the teaching method changes without enough support to enhance its objective, understanding and quality will suffer.
The impact is that my daughter may not be able to join the express group whilst she is actually a successful PSR student.