Parents unhappy with system's lack of transparency

PETALING JAYA - Despite an initial premise to reduce spoon-feeding in the education system, the school-based assessment (PBS) system has drawn flak from parents over a lack of transparency.

Parent Sarala Poobalan questioned the fairness of the system when students were assessed on their participation in co-curricular activities.

"Students who hold office in clubs and societies will score a higher band when we know that the jostle to get into these positions is a popularity contest, while students who are more introverted would be at a disadvantage," said Sarala, who has a son in lower secondary school.

She said the PBS banding system was ineffective in helping students to gauge their level without knowing their marks scored in each subject.

"Children need a benchmark to improve themselves; the band system is too broad and subjective to truly reflect the performance of the students," said Sarala.

She said it was also pointless to put students under the PBS system for three years from Form One to Form Three when they had to revert to the traditional system during Form Four and Form Five.

"After three years of not 'studying', it will be hard for students to catch up when they will be assessed with the centralised system in Form Five," said Sarala.

Under the PBS system, teachers grade pupils on a subject based on a six-band spectrum starting from band one "understand" (the lowest) to band six "exemplary" (the ­highest).

The system was introduced in primary schools, starting with Year One pupils in 2011, and in secondary schools, with Form One students, the following year.

Another parent claimed that she was kept in the dark about her children's performance in school and even her children were not informed about their results in all the subjects.

She said teachers from her children's school had been inundated with visits from parents wanting to find out how their children were faring.

Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim complained that parents had yet to receive the login personal identification number which would allow them to monitor their children's performance on the ministry's website.