Perspectives on PT3 English

The perspectives of PT3 English are divided into understanding and attitude. The categories identified for understanding are formative and summative assessments, HOTS, and student learning. In contrast, teacher biases, overemphasis on formatting, and time constraints are categories identified for attitude.


Figure 9.3 shows the frequency count of the three categories coded from the findings.

As PT3 is a synergistic assessment, the test developers have made it clear that it is important to integrate both LOA and summative components in teaching and learning practices. Therefore, teachers are expected to equip themselves with adequate knowledge on how to carry out formative and summative assessments. The principal was receptive about the reform, saying “the policies implemented is for the good ... to overcome problems ... exam-orientedness in the Malaysian education system.” He


Figure 9.3 Understanding.

highlighted that he had a more positive view on implementing formative and summative components of PT3 English after comprehending the complementary relationship. In addition, he thought there would be too many files for individual students to record their progress in learning the content of all the subjects offered and things would be “intense” in schools. It was interesting to note that the English language panel head and teachers highlighted that they did not really understand the connection between formative and summative components in assessing students. Specifically, they don’t see how the school assessment complements the central assessment. The English language panel head said that it is important for teachers to understand the assessment components “for the betterment of the students, if we [teachers] ourselves are not sure of what we are doing, it would not be reliable.” To the researchers’ understanding, she meant to say that teachers need to be given almost full exposure before reforming the assessment. Upon trying to gauge the level of understanding among the teachers, the researchers felt that many of them were not familiar with the formative component complementing the summative component.

Along with assessment reform, the integration of HOTS in PT3 English and other subjects drew a rather negative reaction among the stakeholders in general and teachers in particular. Many of them considered this to be new terminology, which it is not. The principal, despite agreeing that PT3 promotes student learning, lamented that HOTS is challenging for both teachers and students, saying “what causes students to score low marks in PT3 subjects is because the questions are in the form of HOTS.” His perception is in line with the English language panel head, as she also feels that HOTS questions demotivate students to learn better. Almost all the teachers share the same perception of HOTS, that it is challenging and difficult for students. For instance, Ms. N highlighted that “it’s very unfair for the students” because she felt that teachers and students were not given enough time to familiarize themselves with the content. In contrast, Ms. S shared similar concerns with the principal: students do not fare well because of HOTS questions.

Interestingly, one point that almost every stakeholder appeared to agree on at this school is that PT3 was introduced to enhance student learning. For instance, the principal said, “there is a need for a paradigm shift among parents who still have the mindset that the exam is the yardstick of their children’s achievement.” The English language panel head agreed with the views of the principal, and she added that “students are improving in terms of their language proficiency.” Also, Ms. К highlighted that PT3 “prepares the students for lifelong learning.”


Other than the stakeholders’ understanding of the philosophy of PT3 English, the stakeholders’ attitudes were also assessed. In this regard, it was discovered that, overall, almost every teacher had developed some negative attitude towards PT3 English. Specifically, their responses appeared to indicate that they were more concerned about the test format, teacher bias, and time-constraints, as shown in Figure 9.4.

In relation to the PT3 English format, it was found that only the teachers raised concerns. Specifically, Ms. N said that, “in terms of the format, it is totally different.” She lamented that teachers were not informed ahead of the actual assessment being implemented. Ms. S echoed a similar view. Teacher bias was something that almost every stakeholder was very concerned about. Also, the English language panel head highlighted that the integrity of teachers awarding marks/grades to their students could be called into question. She further argued that “because it’s like you want to help your students, you can give them higher grades. It happened, and it is still happening.” The teachers also echoed a similar view. Ms. A said that “they [students] fear favoritism ... it is again about teachers’ integrity.” Ms. S argued that “PT3 is marked by the school teachers and it is not easy to standardize, and more teachers are trying to help the students.” The last category was about time constraints. The principal argued that the implementation was abrupt without the teachers being given enough time to prepare. In this regard, he said, “it is being done aggressively. So, the policy cannot be implemented effectively.” A similar view was held by Ms. N as she said, “I was surprised! We knew nothing because we don’t know what happened up there [the ministry].” Ms. A similarly mentioned that “PT3 was introduced in a hurry and teachers were stressed with ongoing assessment.” Having synthesized all the views shared by the stakeholders, the researchers felt that many of them were not very clear about the school assessment component. It is tedious to


Figure 9.4 Attitude.

many, as it has to be carried out continuously throughout the year. They also implied that the Ministry should either have the school assessment component or the central assessment component.

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