Heads must roll over attempt to ‘cheat’ Pisa scores

MP: Heads must roll over attempt to ‘cheat’ Pisa scores

Education Ministry officials who attempted to “cheat” the Programme for International Students Assessment (Pisa 2015) should be sacked, said Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua.

Pua said the official explanation by assessment organisers had strongly implied that Malaysia’s disqualification from the Pisa 2015 overall ranking had to do with the manipulation of assessment results.

Pisa 2015 Results Volume 1 (Excellence and Equity in Education) report released earlier this month had recorded Malaysia’s mean score for science, reading and mathematics.

However, the mean score was not ranked against other countries on Page 44. The official explanation for this, as stated on Annex A4 on page 304 of the report, is as follows:

“In Malaysia, the Pisa assessment was conducted in accordance with the operational standards and guidelines of the OECD.

“However, the weighted response rate among the initially
sampled Malaysian schools (51 percent) falls well short of the standard Pisa response rate of 85 percent.

“Therefore, the results may not be comparable to those of other countries or to results for Malaysia from previous years.”

Inaccurate sample

This, to Pua, was evidence to allege that Education Ministry officials had attempted to manipulate the results by using a biased sample of schools.

“(The sample used) will not present a fair and accurate reflection of students’ performance in Malaysia,” said Pua.

Pisa is a triennial international survey produced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to benchmark the performance students worldwide.

In 2015, over half a million students, representing 28 million 15-year-old students in 72 countries, took the internationally agreed two-hour test.

They were assessed in science, mathematics, reading, collaborative problem solving and financial literacy.

Previously, Serdang MP Ong Kiang Ming had claimed that the Education Ministry had over-represented data from High Performing Schools (HPS) and Fully Residential Schools although they represented a fraction of Malaysia’s student population for Pisa 2015.

Real ‘transformation’ needed

Pua said the alleged manipulation by Education Ministry underscores how the authorities are more keen on pursuing statistical benchmarks and are not interested in real substantive quality and performance of students.

“Without a real transformation in the mindset of our officials in-charge of our education system, the quality of our schools will continue continue to deteriorate and we can only expect our students to be even worse off over time.

“As long as these officials who are only interested in artificial forms to pat themselves on the back and suck up to their superiors, no amount of beautifully crafted transformation blueprints will be able to ‘transform’ the system for the better,” said Pua.

In view of this, Pua urged Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid to take action against ministry officials who were complicit in the alleged attempt to manipulate the assessment results.

“This will send a strong message to the entire ministry that the government is only interested in substantive quality of our students and not fake performance outcomes,” he said.

MP: Heads must roll over attempt to ‘cheat’ Pisa scores
11 Dec 2016 – malaysiakini


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