Raising your hands if you’ve registered your children and yourself for PSLE Maths booster camps or seminars. If you haven’t already, let me try to explain why I, a self-avowed anti-tiger parent, would subject my third (and last) child to this rite of passage (the operative word here being pass).
Knowing and speaking with a plethora of primary and secondary maths teachers and tutors over the last decade and more has reaffirmed an unfathomable truth: upper primary, notably PSLE Maths, is in a league of its own. These instructors have essentially confirmed that secondary math is simpler than PSLE math.
The PSLE Math paper, according to the mother, was too difficult
The concerned mother addressed Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, asking, “What’s the aim of making the PSLE Mathematics paper so complicated?”
She stated that the exam was so tough that pupils left feeling “defeated, crushed, and thoroughly demoralized.”
Using her 12-year-old son as an example, she stated that the math paper “crushed” and “defeated” him. She stated,
Parents express their dissatisfaction with the difficulty of the PSLE Maths paper
Students sat for two PSLE Maths examinations on Friday (1 October), which were supposedly so challenging that many ended up confiding in their parents about them.
As a result, the parents resorted to social media to express their dissatisfaction. Many people commented on Education Minister Chan Chun Sing’s Facebook post from September 29th.
One parent was very concerned, even saying that pupils had expressed suicide ideas on social media.
The father, hoping to acquire an explanation for the paper’s difficulty level, reasoned that it was “not fair” because the pandemic had harmed the pupils since last year.
She also brought up the new scoring method, which she claims makes it impossible for pupils to achieve in challenging papers.
The Straits Times (ST) reported on some of the primary issues that parents have.
Among them are the test criteria and whether they are appropriate for pupils who have missed several classes due to the epidemic.
Overall, worried parents appeared to desire solutions to the stress their children were subjected to.
The new ratings are intended to better assess an individual’s performance and grasp of a topic. This is a departure from the old approach, which compared one’s score against the entire cohort.
In response to an inquiry from ST, the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) stated that test questions are of varying levels of complexity to “cater to the vast variety of talents of our students.”
They also informed the kids that they had done their best and that there would be other paths to achievement.
Meanwhile, communication specialists contacted by ST recommended parents let their children rest over the weekend and not worry too much about the next one.
Finally, parents’ gestures and support assist to console youngsters and remind them that there is more to life than tests.
Manage expectations and put less importance on PSLE results
Given how seriously Singapore students and parents take major examinations, the reaction to the maths paper, although troubling, isn’t altogether unexpected.
But, more often than not, the stress is pushed onto pupils as a result of implicit expectations that may need to be shifted.
Hopefully, as a culture, we can better moderate our expectations and place less importance on academic performance.
We wish the PSLE students the best of luck with their remaining exams. Whatever the outcome, we’re confident they’ll create their pathways to success, academic or otherwise.
Miracle Learning Centre is a Science and Mathematics specialization. Our Secondary Math tuition in Singapore educates students on how Math formulas are created and how to apply them. Our math tutors bring math to Daily by explaining and linking arithmetic to our life experiences.
The mathematics problems for the 2021 Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) have been the subject of much debate in recent days for being very difficult for students.