Malaysian teachers shocked by English test results

MALAYSIA - In 2012, English Language teachers in government schools throughout the country were required to sit for the Cambridge Placement Test (CPT) online. The results of that test was only released recently and I am perplexed as to how it takes more than a year for the results of this online test to be released!

Two weeks ago, the teachers from Manjung, Perak, the school district where I teach in, were given the results of the CPT and many of us were shocked.

The results did not reflect the true competency and proficiency of some of the teachers.

There were some who hadn't even received the results as their details were apparently lost.

There are six bands to gauge the proficiency levels of each candidate. Band C1 or C2, are those who are competent while B1 or B2 are for those who managed to pass.

Candidates who failed had a Band A1 or A2 ranking.

Band B teachers were informed almost two weeks ago that they would be required to sit for the Aptis test managed by the British Council.

The test, held last week, was to ensure that they perform better and attain a Band C to remain as English teachers. Band B teachers who failed to get a Band C in the Aptis test, would be given another chance to "upskill'' themselves.

The course conducted by CPT trainers in collaboration with the Education Ministry will be for 480 hours.

Should the candidates get a Band A, there is a strong likelihood of them being dropped from teaching English.

While I appreciate the efforts put in by the Education Ministry to upgrade the teaching and learning of the English Language in Malay-sian schools, I am not convinced of the way the 2012 CPT was conducted and its results computed.

The syllabus was also not made known to candidates before hand.

Being an online test, we had to sit for the tests at the computer labs of designated schools.

What was frustrating was that the server in some schools were not in working order and that deprived many teachers from answering and completing the questions on time.

There were also no headphones in some schools, and even if there were, many of them were defective.

How were we expected to concentrate and answer the oral test when the speakers were all blaring at the same time?

The teachers (candidates) did not complain because they knew that it was pointless.

They sat for the test and left the rest to fate and the almighty!

The irony of it all is that many senior teachers, who are looked upon as having an excellent command of the English language have managed to attain only Band B.

This is shocking and in the district that I teach, there are some teachers who are involved in the marking of the English papers for major exams, who were also given a Band B ranking.

While we may not be the best English teachers, we know we are competent enought to attain a Band C.

What's simply outrageous is when colleagues who are weaker in the language have made it to Band C.

My point in raising the matter is how were the CPT results computed? In the absence of invigilators, can we doubt the integrity of some of the candidates?

If the results of public examinations can be released within three months in Malaysia, why does it takes more than a year to get the CPT results?

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