The Primary School Achievement Test for Standard Six pupils, also known as Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah or UPSR, will be abolished from this year, Education Minister Radzi Jidin announced today.
Speaking at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, he also announced that the Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 or PT3 exam for this year would be cancelled.
He said the decision was presented at a Cabinet meeting this morning.
“Since the cancellation of UPSR last year, the education ministry has been researching the assessment methods used in primary schools in other countries, especially countries with the best educational practices,” he said.
“We will strengthen school-based assessments (PBS) and classroom assessments (PBD) from 2021. Admission of Standard Six students to boarding schools next year will be made based on the specific school admission assessment (PKSK).”
Radzi also said no replacement exam would be given to Standard Six pupils.
In line with the abolishment of UPSR, he said, the Primary School Alternative Assessment (PASR) for special needs students would also be scrapped.
He said the move to abolish UPSR was made after taking into account the views of stakeholders including principals, teachers, parents, associations and the students themselves.
He said the feedback given to the ministry was, among others, that UPSR had forced teachers to “steal” time from other non-exam subjects for exam preparation.
“A lot of time in school is spent on exam subjects,” he said. “What happens is that teachers will normally try to finish the syllabus as quickly as possible in order to do revision.
“Teachers also want space to use their creativity to teach a variety of subjects so that students will have an enjoyable learning experience.”
Students meanwhile had said that they felt stressed preparing for UPSR as they were sent to tuition centres even from as early as Standard One.
“When we asked why they want to take UPSR, they said they wanted to go to full boarding schools,” he said.
“But when we implemented PKSK for Standard Six pupils going to special schools, we saw that only one out of four took PKSK.”
For PT3, he said, the ministry had made the same considerations as the year before.
“One of the main grounds that we considered in making the decision to cancel PT3 was the time for students to make face-to-face preparations with their teachers in school.
“But the Covid-19 outbreak still cannot be brought completely under control,” he said.
He said student assessment could still be done through PBD, physical assessments and psychometric assessments.
He added that Form Three students could also sit for PKSK for entrance into boarding school.