AS A private maths tutor, I wish to share three perspectives with worried parents like Ms Jessica Chong.
First, schools should not be blamed for setting unusual questions, which usually involve challenging maths IQ andOlympiad-style methods. Past questions of this nature are not released for publication in the PSLE question papers soldin bookshops.
When I asked the Ministry of Education last year why these questions were not available publicly, I was told thatthese questions were required for research, benchmarking and re-use.
I am certain schools do not have access to these questions either.
Second, it is prudent for parents to help their children master 'tricky maths questions' by studying additional booksor attending additional classes, instead of relying only on school textbooks or school teachers.
Do not be surprised to find that even some school teachers have difficulty solving some of these tricky questions. Self-helpis better than waiting for miracles to happen.
My estimate is that there are about 10 exam questions, or 20 per cent of a total of 48 each year, which are not releasedeach year.
Finally, rather than endure the annual bouts of complaints, I urge the ministry to release all PSLE questions to the public.
Schools and teachers should be given the chance to find solutions to help their students.
Holding back examination questions is unproductive and creates unnecessary stress among schools, teachers, studentsand parents.
Straits Times, The (Singapore) - Saturday, May 24, 2008
Author: Lim Boon Tong