Sat | Jul 21, 2018

Letter of the Day | Teachers in dark over exam scripts

Published:Wednesday | March 1, 2017 | 12:00 AM


The Ministry of Education's (MOE) Core Curriculum Unit (CCU) recently sent out to secondary schools examinations in the areas of mathematics and English language. The cover sheet read 'national intervention strategy'.

My investigations, having dialogued with a number of school administrators who received these papers, revealed that the examination scripts were sent to their schools with strict instructions that they must be administered to the current crop of fifth-form students. The unit, however, failed to advise a number of the schools about this 'intervention strategy'. Many schools are still in the dark as to the examinations' purpose or what is to come of them.

What is worse is that no one seems to know who is expected to mark these scripts. Not even a rubric, at least for English, was sent to my school. Calls to the unit for clear-cut instructions have also proven futile.

What really is this intervention strategy about? How can an intervention strategy be implemented without the input of the current teachers of the subject in the various schools? What constitutes this intervention strategy? Who is expected to mark these scripts, which is simply a number of past- paper questions put together, which both teachers and students already have access to?

Is the CCU aware that schools have scheduled mock examinations for fifth-form students? As is the case for my school, the students already did their mock examinations and are now in revision mode, where they are already engaging with a number of past papers.

Unless it is that the CCU is going to collect these scripts and mark them and do a complete analysis of the students' work, the strategy is in vain.


Unless it is that the scripts are going to be used to guide the unit in preparing workshop sessions and real strategies to build on the strengths and address the weaknesses identified after marking the scripts, this 'intervention' only serves as a disruption.

An intervention strategy cannot be to just put together past-paper questions and send them to schools and demand that they be administered. That would be a waste of taxpayers' money.

What would make the MOE's CCU think that just sending an examination to schools with no rubric and no clear-cut instructions is enough to be an intervention strategy? I hope my thinking is flawed, that this is where the strategy ends.