Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Student jailed for sitting exam for "customer"

An 18-year-old student was sentenced to six months in jail for sitting examinations for his "customer" in Hong Kong.

Zhao Chunlin, from Henan in China, pleaded guilty to three charges of conspiracy to defraud and using a forged identity pass.

He was paid RMB2,500 (RM1,182) to take three papers - microeconomics, macroeconomics and calculus - in the Advanced Placement Examinations for a Hong Kong student.

He went to the island on a travel permit on May 18.

On May 19, he successfully hid his real identity from the examiners and took two papers.

When he was about to sit for the third paper at the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessmen Authority the next day, an examiner noticed his ID was different from the others.

Upon checking, the examiner found the card was fake.

Zhao, who was enrolled at a university in United States, said a man - named Ricky - approached him in Shenzhen to sit for someone else's examination for RMB2,500 for each paper.

He took the offer with an intention to ease the financial burden of his parents, who worked 10 hours a day to raise his tuition fees.

Source: Apple Daily

Sunday, July 25, 2010

On Self-Assessment

Self-Assessment Does Not Necessarily Mean Self-Grading

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Most faculty judiciously avoid having students self-assess because it seems hopelessly naïve to imagine them being able to look at anything beyond the desired grade. Even so, the ability to self-assess skills and completed work is important. Moreover, it is an ability acquired with practice and developed with feedback. It seems like the kind of skill that should be addressed in college. And perhaps there is a way.

Professor Heidi Andrade and doctoral student Ying Du suggest that teachers frame self-assessment as an opportunity for students to reflect on their own work with the goal of learning more, making the work better, and thereby improving the chances for a good grade. In this paradigm, self-assessment is not the same as self-grading. Rather, students are looking at their work and judging the degree to which it reflects the goals of the assignment and the assessment criteria the teacher will be using to evaluate the work.

“Put simply, we see self-assessment as feedback for oneself from oneself.” (p. 160) Students in Andrade’s educational psychology course were given rubrics and checklists for each assignment. Prior to submitting the assignment, students used these assessment tools to judge their work. They were required to submit their self-assessments with the completed work, but their assessments were not graded.

Andrade and Du then conducted a series of interviews with students to explore their reactions to self-assessment conducted this way. They chose their sample purposefully “for its potential to illuminate areas in need of further study, not to represent a larger population.” (p. 163) This limits the generalizability of their findings, but their interviews offer insights into the experience of a population who responded thoughtfully to the experience.

Students in this sample reported that their attitudes toward self-assessment became more positive as their experiences with the process accumulated. Noteworthy was the fact that none of this sample reported having any previous experiences with academic self-assessment. Not surprisingly, they didn’t value their opinions about their work and saw self-assessment as a vehicle for figuring out the teacher’s expectations.

“The difference between self-assessment and giving the teacher what he or she wants was a recurring theme. A few students referred to self-assessment in terms of their own expectations. More often, however, students spoke of the tension between their own and the teacher’s expectations. … Over and over again, students rejected their own judgments of their work in favor of guessing how their teacher or professor would grade it.” (p. 168)

These students reported that their ability to self-assess depended on knowing what the teacher expected. In an appendix Andrade and Du share some of the rubrics and checklists used in this educational psychology course. They are very clear and explicit.

When they self-assessed, these students reported that they checked their work, revised it, and reflected on it more generally. Before this class their self-assessment efforts were “relatively mindless.” (p. 65) But from this experience they learned that careful self-assessment could improve their work to the degree that they did get better grades. Most did not see the larger value of the skill they were developing. Most did not use self-assessment in their other courses. They did see potential value in doing so. “They cited a lack of motivation and a lack of support for self-assessment among the reasons that ‘we slip.’” (p. 166)

by Maryellen Weimer.

Read more @

Abolish the UPSR and PMR examinations

The problem is not exams, it is with the education policies

Saturday, July 17th, 2010 - The Star

THE recent proposal to abolish the UPSR and PMR examinations had created a heated public debate among Malaysians, who in general are against such a move. I too join in the chorus calling for the idea to be dropped. It would be irresponsible and unwise to abolish these exams which have been in place for many decades and served their purpose reasonably well.

Our education system may have become very exam-oriented but the cause is not the exams themselves. Many major changes to the education system are made abruptly without due debate and consideration. The folly of such decisions are then realised a little too late when the damage has already been done.

Tendency for education to become exam-oriented is a universal problem and is not just peculiar to us. Even advanced nations have gone through such problems, some even worse. They have not done away with exams but found alternate ways to overcome it to some extent.

Doing away with exams may be the easy way out, but it will only lead to greater repercussions which we will regret later.

Whether we like it or not, exams are necessary as there are no better means available to assess the capability of the student.

If we abolish exams, what are we going to use to gauge a student’s knowledge and capability for selection to enter universities and get scholarships? How are we going to set a national standard for all students to measure up?

Instead of abolishing existing exams, we should device ways to make the exams more “intelligent”, whereby they can be used to assess the overall ability, aptitude and capability in critical thinking, reasoning and maturity of thought.

Examinations should be tailored to evaluate these aspects instead of the usual “vomiting” out of memorized facts as it is being done now. There should be more stringent criteria for awarding As in examination.

It is deeply disturbing that the national education system has long been used as a political tool which is the main reason for the pathetic state it is in now. There seems to be no sense of purpose or direction with repeated changes to the education policies. It should be left to the officials in the Education Ministry, academia and teachers to run the system in a more professional manner without undue political interference.

by Dr. Chris Anthony, Butterworth.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Strong Body or Strong Character

Expressions of strength


WE admire strong people who outshine others in character and confidence. Some are physically strong, while others are emotionally or mentally strong. Here are some words associated with strength which you can use to describe people with a strong body or a strong character.

1. Robust

Very strong and healthy.

All the robust girls were chosen to take part in the tug-of-war on sports day.

2. Stocky

A stocky person has a body that is broad, solid and often short.

The stocky farmer could easily carry 20kg of vegetables by hand.

3. Sturdy

Somebody or something that is sturdy looks strong and is unlikely to be easily injured or damaged.

The sturdy angsana tree outside my house survived last night’s storm.

4. Steadfast

Not changing in your attitudes or aims.

He proved his steadfast loyalty to his company by not accepting jobs with better offers.

5. Stalwart

A loyal worker or supporter who is completely reliable.

He trusts Jack, his stalwart worker who has been with him for 20 years.

6. Steady

Sensible and reliable.

Rick is a steady student whose results are consistent.

7. Staunch

Strong and loyal in your opinions and attitude.

She is a staunch supporter of the ruling party.

8. Resilient

People and things are resilient when they are able to recover easily from unpleasant

and damaging events.

My mother is a resilient woman who ensured much suffering in her younger years.

Rubber is a very resilient material.

9. Tenacious

If you are tenacious, you are very determined and do not give up easily.

He survived the ordeal in the jungle as he is a tenacious adventurer.

10. Stoical

Someone who is stoical does not complain or show they are upset in a bad situation.

Bob is well-liked by his boss, because he is stoical even when he is loaded with too much work, and he always goes the extra mile.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Whatever You Give To Life, Life Gives You Back!

An inspirational story from my inbox...  

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.

Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young
executives in his company together.

He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you."


The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant
the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.


Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.

By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by -- still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however.
He just kept watering and fertilising the soil - he so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.

Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room.


When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful --
in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified.


He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed - Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!
His name is Jim!"


Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed.

"How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.

Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it,
and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.
All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"

If you plant honesty, you will reap trust

* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends

* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness

* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment

* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective

* If you plant hard work, you will reap success

* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation

* If you plant faith in GOD, you will reap a harvest

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

"Whatever You Give To Life, Life Gives You Back!"

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

MUET Result

from The Star;

Collect your MUET results from 10am tomorrow

PETALING JAYA: The mid-year Malaysian University English Test (MUET) results will be released tomorrow.

According to a Malaysian Exami­nations Council statement, candidates can collect their results from 10am onwards at their respective schools and institutions.

Private candidates will receive their results by post. Candidates can also check their results via SMS by typing MUETIC number and sending it to 15888 from 12.01 midnight on that day.

Alternatively, they can go to from 9am on­­wards.

Candidates who wish to retake MUET to improve on their mid-year MUET results can register at state education departments or district education offices.

Registration for the year-end MUET closes on July 22.

A total of 81,731 candidates sat for the 2010 MUET at 872 examination centres nationwide.

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