Friday, October 9, 2015
Cut off marks at Grade 5 seem all the same across the Country
The variation of the cut of marks by District for the Sinhala Medium has now come down to hardly any difference with 160 being the highest and 153 lowest.
In addition, it was evident that children from provincial schools across the country topped the National League Table. This is extremely good news, as in my opinion, due to possibly the improvement in the quality of schools in the provinces, our best and brightest, wherever they may be are in with the chance of getting to the top in scores.
While I am NOT a fan of this exam at age 9 or 10, putting too much exam and tuition pressure on the kids, stifling their creativity, setting themselves ripe for a lifetime of tuition classes, emphasizing their necessity over going to school, it shows that talent is equally spread out across the country, and it just needs recognition first, and then a method of harnessing that talent in the ‘RIGHT’ way so that these naturally gifted students get the opportunity to excel.
Hitherto, the belief was that this gives them a chance to enter the super schools of Colombo, and gives the opportunity for a small town kid to make the grade in the big league. However it was fraught with two illogical dynamics.
First was the fact that if a Moneragala Kid got the required mark and came to Royal, he would require a huge increase in his Z score at Royal to get into Med School, as compared with the Z score he would have required if he sat his A levels from a Moneragala School, potentially wiping out any benefit from coming to Royal.
Secondly, the trauma some children to be yanked from a comfortable home environment that helped in performing well at Grade 5, and put into a Boarding School, or be left with a relative to go to the so called Elite school, may actually affect their potential adversely! I know those who have made the leap, who have not been affected as long as they could come from Home, but when they had to move out of Home, ended up visibly handicapped.
A further point to note are empirical studies that have been done to prove there is NO difference in the percentage of students who did well at Grade 5 with other students, when it comes to University Entrance, implying that theaverage student has room to improve later in life, and the student with the Good mark who relatively disappoints later in life, making the premise of the whole Grade 5 exam concept very dubious. Time to remove the Education Debate elsewhere.