A Levels are back

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PETALING JAYA: Examinations are back –starting with the Cambridge Assessment International Education’s (CAIE) A Level pre-university course for the November series.CAIE said examinations were the fairest and most reliable assessment method to determine a student’s achievements.

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Predicted grades – an alternative system to exams – will no longer be used, a statement on the CAIE website read.

“We are running exams for the November 2020 series where schools believe it is safe and where they have the necessary permissions from government authorities.

“Our schools are telling us they want to hold exams if they can, ” it said, adding that the question papers will be dispatched to schools and exam centres very soon.

CAIE said it was unable to share the number of entry numbers for the November 2020 series until the entry deadline was closed.

Agreeing with the CAIE, UCSI College president and chief executive officer Dr Mabel Tan said exams were more reliable and fair compared to predicted grades or statistical algorithms.

“After the June 2020 exam series results fiasco, we have been informed that CAIE will not be cancelling the November 2020 exams, and will offer physical exams as usual.

“If any countries face similar lockdown issues due to the pandemic, they will have to cancel and sit for the next exam series, ” she told The Star.UCSI College, she said, will conduct trials for the actual exams in November physically, following CAIE guidelines and the standard operating procedure in place.

INTI International College Penang chief executive Hemalatha Murugiah said: “Until an alternative global assessment that ensures fair, standard testing for all candidates can be implemented, exams will remain as the best-proven method for us to assess A Level students’ performance and measure their learning outcomes fairly.”

She added that for internationally recognised public exams, standardised assessments were the best means to provide a fair evaluation of students’ performance.

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Hemalatha said there had yet to be a good alternate mechanism to equate the output and trust that exam systems provided.

Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin agreed that it was better to conduct actual exams as it provided a more accurate and safe method to determine a student’s abilities.

Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said schools and colleges should do as much as possible to ensure their learning environments were conducive for exams to be conducted.

This is in the best interest of the students, seeing how we are now more certain of minimising the effects of the pandemic, she said.

Many public exams, including the International Baccalaureate and A Level, were cancelled around the world due to the pandemic.

This led to students being graded using alternative methods.

In the case of the June 2020 A Level exams, students were graded based on their work, mock exam results, teacher assessments and other factors.

On Aug 14, The Star highlighted the plight of disappointed students who received their results three days prior.

It is estimated that some 3,000 Malaysians had sat for the A Level exams and like their global counterparts, some were upset that their results had been downgraded.

New grades for the June 2020 series were issued last Friday. -The Star

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