Saturday, November 15, 2008

UPSR Results: English scores now better as well

By: Regina Lee

Teaching Mathematics and Science in English may have actually paid off with better results in English.

The results for this year's Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), announced yesterday, saw a significant increase in pupils who scored As in English.

There was a 4.4 per cent hike in the number of pupils who scored As in English, as compared with the national average of the past five years' results. There was also a 4.8 per cent increase in competent students (those who scored A, B or C) in the language.

This year, a whopping 46.6 per cent of pupils chose to answer the Mathematics paper in English, while 31.1 per cent were confident enough to tackle the Science paper in English, compared with just 0.2 and 0.3 per cent respectively last year.

"Their level of proficiency in English is getting better," said Education Ministry director-general Datuk Alimuddin Mohd Dom, after releasing the UPSR results.

This year's UPSR pupils formed the pioneer batch which was taught Mathematics and Science in English right from Year One in 2003.

Pupils who sat the UPSR in 2006 and last year were only taught the two subjects in English when they were already in Year Two or Three.

Results for the Mathematics paper, however, showed a 2.2 per cent decrease in both A scorers and competent students.

Alimuddin dismissed any significance in the drop, arguing that it had very little to do with the teaching of the subject in English.

"There are very few English terms that pupils had to remember for Mathematics. If anything, it is the Science subject which should show significant changes as there are more terms."

Performance in the Science subject only dipped by 0.7 per cent compared with the average over the last five years.

The ministry recently concluded four dialogue sessions with various parties on the teaching of the two subjects in English to decide whether to continue with the policy or revert to Bahasa Malaysia or the mother tongue in vernacular schools.

There is also an increase in the number of pupils scoring As in all subjects. Of the 518,616 pupils, 46,641 passed with flying colours.

"Apart from English, the pupils also generally did significantly better in Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese composition and Tamil composition."

On why the ministry compared this year's UPSR results with the average over the last five years instead of last year's examination, Alimuddin said it was more accurate.

He also shied away from announcing the top scorer and best performing school, a move seen as supporting the ministry's policy of making education less exam-oriented.

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