This blog is managed by Song Hock Chye, author of Improve Your Thinking Skills in Maths (P1-P3 series), which is published and distributed by EPH.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

If Cambridge can release “A” and “O” Level Exam Qs, why does MOE not release PSLE Qs?

An interesting letter regarding MOE’s decision not to release PSLE Questions to the public was published in the Straits Times.
Release all exam questions, says tutor

AS A private maths tutor, I wish to share three perspectives with worried parents like Ms Jessica Chong.

First, schools should not be blamed for setting unusual questions, which usually involve challenging maths IQ and Olympiad-style methods. Past questions of this nature are not released for publication in the PSLE question papers sold in bookshops.

When I asked the Ministry of Education last year why these questions were not available publicly, I was told that these questions were required for research, benchmarking and re-use.

I am certain schools do not have access to these questions either.

Second, it is prudent for parents to help their children master 'tricky maths questions' by studying additional books or attending additional classes, instead of relying only on school textbooks or school teachers.

Do not be surprised to find that even some school teachers have difficulty solving some of these tricky questions. Self-help is better than waiting for miracles to happen.

My estimate is that there are about 10 exam questions, or 20 per cent of a total of 48 each year, which are not released each year.

Finally, rather than endure the annual bouts of complaints, I urge the ministry to release all PSLE questions to the public.

Schools and teachers should be given the chance to find solutions to help their students.

Holding back examination questions is unproductive and creates unnecessary stress among schools, teachers, students and parents.

Lim Boon Tong

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