Education Ministry insists on multiple-choice math exam questions

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Though the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) is satisfied with multiple-choice questions for high-school finals, the Vietnam Mathematical Society (VMS) has advised against implementing the plan.

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VMS on September 12 held a meeting with the press to discuss its official view about the MOET plan to apply multiple-choice math exam questions for the 2017 finals.

VMS believes that multiple-choice questions is not appropriate to the education reform being carried out. The new test model will cause students to only find answers to math questions, and skip different stages of thinking.

VMS emphasized that the most important goal in teaching math at high school is helping students improve their thinking skills. 

The society representing Vietnamese leading mathematicians has warned that multiple-choice questions will destroy all the achievements gained by Vietnam’s math education in the last tens of years.

Pham Hong Danh, director of Vinh Vien Exam Preparation Center in HCMC, warned that they will thwart students’ creativity.

“With currently designed questions, students not only need to have knowledge, but also have logical thinking and creativity to solve them. In many cases, students cannot solve the questions though they know the answers,” he explained.

“If MOET changes the way math questions are raised, students will rely on rote-learning method. In many cases, they just need to press the calculator’s keyboard to find the answers,” he said.

A high school teacher in Hanoi also said that students should be asked to show the steps of solving math problems, because this shows their thoughts and abilities. 

“There are many ways to solve the same problems. Higher marks should be given to those who can solve problems in original ways,” he said, adding that Le Ba Khanh Trinh, a well-known mathematician, once won a special prize because of his original way to solve a math problem at the International Mathematics Olympiad in London in 1979.

“Multiple-choice math questions will create new generations of students who are better at using calculators than thinking,” he said.

However, MOET said that multiple-choice questions have been applied in many developed countries in the world. 

SAT and ACT in the US are an example. Each test comprises about 50 math questions in multiple-choice. Millions of students attend the exams to apply for 1,800 universities in the US every year.

MOET said that multiple-choice questions "have many advantages, especially the objectivity and fairness for all students". 

 

Source: VNN

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