New rules upset parents

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Parents have disputed new regulations effective since December 12 covering the assessment of primary school students.

The regulations, issued by the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), would require primary students to be assessed on both academic results and moral integrity. Other changes include calculating student's results from performance over the second term of the academic year.

Morality examinations will cover five factors: class attendance, respect shown toward parents and the elderly, exercise, participation in team activities and environment protection.

Other changes will affect the way student's subjects are assessed. Subjects will now be divided into two categories: those receiving marks and those receiving comments.

Students will receive marks for mathematics, Vietnamese, science, history, geography, foreign languages and computer studies. Meanwhile, performance for other subjects: morality, music, fine arts, physical education and nature and science, would receive either an A (pass) or B (fail) accompanied by comments.

To receive an "excellent" overall result, students must receive at least a nine out of ten for conventionally marked subjects, "As" for subjects assessed with comments and fulfill all morality requirements.

Yearly results would now be assessed from student's performance over the second term, a change from the past when final results were calculated from an average of first and second term results.

According to Pham Bich Ngoc, principal of Nam Trung Yen Primary School in Cau Giay District of Ha Noi, the decision to use second term results to assess student's yearly performance was irrational.

Moreover, if a student, for some reason, could not take the final exams of the second term, then their efforts for the whole year would be discounted.

Nguyen Thuy Hang, a parent of a primary school, said the regulation would cause difficulties for children. If a pupil averages nine out of ten in the first term and receives an "excellent" result but receives a five in the second term, they would no longer be classified as "excellent".

"That would be so unfair. And it's this kind of system that would encourage parents to bribe teachers if their students underperformed," Hang said.

Nguyen To Nga, mother of a fifth grader in Ha Noi, agreed, saying MoET needed to reconsider the regulation.

"This regulation will only make students more stressed because their whole year's efforts would be assessed from one term's result," she said.

A lecturer of the Primary Education Faculty of the HCM City Teachers' College, who wanted to remain unnamed, said that the regulation would make pupils lazy. "If we only take into consideration the result of the second term, pupils would not study hard in the first term," the lecturer said.

The best way to make pupils try their best all the time is to regularly assess their results.

But Le Tien Thanh, director of MoET's Primary Education Department, said the regulation aimed to reduce pressure for pupils who were required to take examinations twice a year.

He added that if a pupil gets a ten in the first term and a two in the second, then their result for the whole academic year would be 6, meaning he or she would still pass their grade.

Whereas if a pupil gets a mark of two in the first term and achieves a mark of nine in the second term (average result 5.5), the pupil would have demonstrated deeper knowledge than the pupil in the first example.

Thus, using the second term's result for the whole year is empirically sound, he said.


Source: VietNamNet/Viet Nam News
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