The Sunday Times today (Page 3) has a report on the PSLE math complaints by parents. Every year, parents keep complaining that their child “cried” after the maths paper due to the sheer difficulty. Parents then questioned the use of “tough” exam questions to discern the standard of the student. I decided to blog about it after I read my friend’s post.
Page 3 has 3 questions that were provided by the pupils who sat by the paper.
“Retired Teacher Ho Kong Loon, 60, who taught at the Primary 6 level for 40 years, thought the questions are difficult for the average pupil. “I took 19 minutes, or 14 percent of the total time, to complete the three questions. Unlike pupils who took the exam, I was not under any pressure and worked… with a calculator””
This makes one wonder what kind of standard our teachers are at. A primary 5 pupil is quoted to complete the 3 questions in less than 20 minutes. Are our p5 pupils as competent as the teachers? I doubt so.
For me, i took 5 minutes to complete the 3 questions without a calculator. Upon reading the entire question, I took less than 15 seconds before I knew what method I wanted to use to solve the question. Is it that hard? No. Perhaps Primary school students need more time and effort to complete, but a teacher of 40 years of experience should do much better than that. I have a feeling I know why he is retired. Perhaps he was sacked due to his level of competency in his specialized field.
Since a primary school teacher is of a higher standard than me, I suppose he should be able to finish the question in the same, if not less, time as me. I suppose he has a relative who is studying at that level and couldn’t do the question. Thus, he used himself as an authority to make the public feel that the math questions is incredibly difficult, to sway people’s opinion. That is really unethical of him.
With a calculator, I should be able to solve 3 triple integral questions within 19 minutes. NOT 3 primary school level math questions in 19 minutes. It just makes the whole teaching profession seem lousy. Well, I guess I just pwned a teacher.