A report from Star newspaper on the new assessment system for STPM
IN accordance with the Education Transformation Programme, starting from the year 2012, the Malaysian Examinations Council (MEC) will implement a new Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) assessment system to enhance the form six education programme.
Existing STPM examination system
The existing examination is conducted based on one-and-a-half years of form six studies, comprising the lower six form and the upper six form.
The 2012 STPM examination
In 2012, the examination will be conducted in two modes. The first mode is for students who are currently in upper six form and will be under the existing examination system.
The second mode is for lower six form students in 2012 who will be the first cohort for the new assessment system. They will take the first term examination in November 2012.
New assessment system
In the new system, the duration of form six studies is similar to the present system. The allocation of teaching periods remains the same: eight periods per week for each subject (one period = 40 minutes).
The subjects offered remain at 23 subjects which are General Studies, Business Studies, Malay Language, Accounting, Chinese Language, Mathematics (M), Tamil Language, Mathematics (T), Arabic Language, Further Mathematics, Literature in English, Information and Communications Technology, Communicative Malay Literature, Physics, Syariah, Chemistry, Usuluddin, Biology, History, Sports Science, Geography, Visual Arts and Economics.
The curriculum is divided into three parts based on topic areas. Each part will be taught and studied in either the first, second or third term. The total duration of study is one-and-a-half years.
Students’ assessments will be carried out each term with the results being released at the end of the term. The overall STPM results will be based on the best combined results of the three terms.
Soft skills such as communication skills, teamwork, leadership, critical thinking, problem solving, information management and ethics are included in the new curriculum.
There will be two forms of assessment: the School-Based Assessment (SBA) with a weighting of 20% to 40%, and the centralised examination with a weighting of 60% to 80% (the weighting varies according to subjects).
School-based assessment (SBA)
The SBA consists of project work, field study and practical work. The coursework question/task is prepared by the council and will be conducted either over three terms or as determined by the subject requirements. The assessment will be carried out by the subject teacher in government schools and government-aided schools. For private schools, integrity schools and individual private candidates, the examiner is appointed by the council.
The assessment moderation will be conducted by council appointed personnel at district, zone or state levels to ensure judgments of standards are comparable as well as a fair, valid and reliable assessment of students’ achievements. The council has also prepared a Teacher’s Manual and Student’s Manual for each subject as guidance and reference for all.
A centralised written examination is administered at the end of each term. Question papers are prepared by the council, and the marking of answer scripts will be carried out by council appointed examiners.
The grading system in the new assessment system is similar to that of the existing one. The score (at the question paper level) acquired by students for each term will be aggregated to determine the overall subject grade. There is no prerequisite minimum pass grade in each term for students to qualify to continue their studies in the following term.
Improvement of exam results
A special feature of this system is that students are allowed to improve on their first and second term results by retaking these term examinations at the end of the third term. Students who do not obtain satisfactory results for the third term may also re-sit it.
Through the new system, students will have a lesser curriculum load to study and have more opportunities to obtain better results. The introduction of SBA is in line with the aspiration of the Education Ministry to develop human capital. This is also consistent with the ministry’s vision to strengthen and make the assessment and evaluation system more holistic, with an emphasis on outcome-based education that focuses more on students and is less exam-oriented.
Standards and recognition
In these terms, the new system is similar to that of the present one. In general, the curriculum content has not changed. A representative from Cambridge Assessment (CA), United Kingdom will attend the Standards Setting Committee meeting to
endorse the results.
The CA representative will give his opinion on the analysis of the examination results for each paper and a collective decision will be made on the standards.
The Student Intake Management Division under the Higher Education Ministry has been briefed on the implementation of the new assessment system.
The system is expected to strengthen and enhance pre-university studies in order to attract more students to take up the programme, and to transform the assessment and evaluation to one that is more holistic in nature. For more information, log onto the MEC’s website at
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