Shockingly low college admission test scores
- Published: 19/04/2011 at 08:51 PM
- Online news:
"O-Net may encourage Thai students to be more analytical. But most teachers don't teach that way."
In the photo parents and students protesting outside the National Institute of Educational Testing (NIET) gainst the O-Net college entrance exam results back in 2006.
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IN Print: Downhill for our education system by Kamol Hengkietisak
It is more than a surprise and quite a shock when the results of the nationwide O-Net test, which measures students' basic knowledge in various subjects, shows that on average Thai students fail miserably, especially in the important subjects such as English and mathematics, noted Thai Rath
Out of a mark of 100, here is the average of each subject scored by students countrywide: Thai language 42.61, social studies 46.51, English 19.22, mathematics 14.99, science 30.90, physical education and health studies 62.86, arts and crafts 32.62, career and technology 43.69%.
Thai Rath posed questions to education critic/academic Assoc Prof Dr Sompong Chitradap, Faculty of Education, Chulalongkorn University.
As an academic on education, how do you feel about the nationwide O-Net result?
The failure has been consistent for the last three years which is the period of transition from the previous education reform to the present one. What does the result reflect? I think O-Net is not taken seriously by most students because the result does not count for much. Even if a student fails, he does not need to repeat a class. Furthermore, O-Net counts for only 30% compared to 50% of GAT/PAT for university admission, and that O-Net's content is basic, taught in all classrooms by teachers. There is no need for special tutoring. All these factors may contribute to low scores on average countrywide.
Is it true that the National Institute of Educational Testing Service's (NIETS) O-Net this year is unusual, which may contribute to the shocking result?
To a certain degree. Those who prepare the O-Net test papers are teachers in the university's demonstration schools (Sathit in vernacular). Teachers in other schools are not recruited. This may make this year's O-Net seemingly more difficult than usual with more analysis than simple rote learning. This is the outstanding point of demonstration schools whose students don't complain about this type of test while students in most schools countrywide are taught mainly by rote, emphasising learning from textbooks, not analysis.
Who selects these teachers to prepare the O-Net papers?
NIETS prescribes that they must come from demonstration schools. Another contributing factor, from my field experience, is that students express worry that their teachers do not pay much attention to teaching and learning as much as before. Teachers think more of themselves, trying to upgrade their qualifications for higher positions and more money. We should blame the Surayud Chulanont government for this, as more and more teachers want to earn higher positions/money by doing academic papers instead of paying attention to classroom teaching. Furthermore, the result of NIETS' O-Net is not taken up by the Education Ministry to improve student performance. NIETS also does not care as its mission is to measure students' performance. If students fail, then it is up to students/teachers and others to do something.
Nobody is taking responsibility for the failure.
Nobody. Teachers get higher positions/money, but when students fail, they don't shoulder responsibility.
Some critics question this year's O-Net as testing beyond the prescribed curriculum.
In fact, it is within the prescribed curriculum, but it is more difficult for normal students in that it is oriented towards analysis. Perceived in another way, this year's O-Net may encourage Thai students to be more analytical.
But most teachers don't teach that way.
It is not fair that teachers use students at demo schools who are taught to think analytically as a basis to prepare for O-Net while the vast majority of students countrywide are not taught that way.
Dissolve NIETS. When you test students and the result is not used to improve education, why bother to have an education testing service organisation? Furthermore, the measuring tool is not suitable and it is a waste of money...
(Source: Bangkok Post, IN Print, Downhill for our education system, 16/04/2011, Kamol Hengkietisak, link)
National Institute of Educational Testing Service's (NIETS) - "established on September 3, 2005, as a public organization. Its service, up to the present time, extends from primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. It also prepares the examinations for university admissions in 2009...revenues come from the national budget each year, but some revenue comes from testing services given to the teachers who desire to upgrade themselves in educational measurement and evaluation" (See website and Description of Tests)
O-Net - an exam used to test the ability of students all over Thailand in many different subjects
GAT/PAT - another college admissions test among many (See Description of Test)
results - what is produced in the end by an activity or task
test results -
mark - a score on a test, a grade
outstanding - clearly very much better than what is usual ยอดเยี่ยม, ดีเด่น
academic - having to do with universities and colleges and the teachers who teach at them นักวิชาการ
admission - permission to enter a place การเข้าชม การเข้างาน
university admissions - the process of students applying for entry into the universities they want and the universities deciding which students are good enough to attend
content - the subject, ideas, or story dealt with in a writing or a radio or television programme or, here, a test เนื้อหา,สาระ
demonstration - showing how something is done, showing something and explaining how it works การสาธิต
demonstration schools - special schools with the best teachers and best students that are used to show the best the educational system is capable of
taught by rote - teaching people things by having them repeat them only (without deeper thinking and understanding)
analysis (noun) - looking at something in detail to find out how it works and how it is made
career - the series of related jobs that you spend your work life doing (especially if the job is a profession) (See Wikipedia and glossary)
qualifications - the abilities, qualities, degrees, etc. that you need for a particular job, activity or your career
upgrade qualifications - get more training and increase your knowledge about your job (so you can do a better job)
curriculum - the group of subjects studied in a school, college, etc หลักสูตร
prescribed curriculum - the official set of subjects that all schools must teach students
nationwide - throughout a whole country ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
measures - actions taken to deal with and solve a problem มาตราการ
fail miserably - do very very bad at something (like a test or a sports match)
Physical Education (PE) - the subject in school of sports and the training of teachers to teach this subject (See Wikipedia)
posed questions - asked questions
critic - someone who gives their opinion about something (finding fault with certain details = criticism)
consistent - something happening the same way all the time (not changing) อย่างสม่ำเสมอ อย่างเสมอต้นเสมอปลาย
period of transition - a period of change, a period of time when there is change taking place
transition - the process of changing from one situation, form or state to another ช่วงการเปลี่ยนแปลง
reform - a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป
reflect - to show สะท้อน แสดงถึง
does not count for much - does not have any value, cannot be used to achieve any goals
factors - one of the things that effects a situation or event ปัจจัย
X contributes to Y - X helps to cause Y
vernacular - the local spoken language
X contributes to Y - X is one of the causes of Y, X helps to produce Y
recruit - finding people with the right knowledge and qualifications to do a job
simple - easy to understand; not complicated ง่าย,ไม่ยุ่งยาก, ไม่ซับซ้อน
rote learning - learning things by repeating them without much (without understanding them at a deeper level)
contributing factor - of the causes
field experience - practical experience doing real tasks (not just stuying them abstractly at the university)
pay attention - spend a lot of time doing something, putting a lot of time and care into doing the task
do not pay much attention to - do not spend much time doing something, do not put much time and care into doing it
factor - a fact or situation which influences the result of something ปัจจัย
field - to use a person as your representative ส่งต้วแทน
upgrade - improve; make new, modern, and up-to-date
improve - to make better ทำให้ดีขึ้น
performance - how well or badly something works
mission - an important job, an important task that must be completed (accomplished) งาน
measure - a firm action taken to solve a problem or stop an a dangerous unpleasant situation มาตราการ
responsibility - having to take care of some task as part of your job
taking responsibility - saying or accepting that you are the one shouldb blamed for something that goes wrong
shoulder - to deal with or accept something difficult แบกรับภาระ หรือสถานการณ์
shoulder a responsibility - accept some difficult, say that you be responsible for and complete some difficult task
critics - people who look for and point out problems in something, people who don't like something and who state their opinion about it นักวิจารณ์
oriented - many concerned with or directed towards
perceived in another way - understood in another way
encourage - make people interested in and excited about doing an activity, to make someone more likely to do something, or to make something more likely to happen ปลุกใจ
majority - more than 50%, more than half of the people in a group ส่วนมาก
vast majority - much more than half, perhaps around 80% to 90%
dissolve - break up and end the existence of a group or organization
bother - to make someone feel worried or upset ทำให้รำคาญ, ทำให้วิตกกังวล
suitable - right for a situation, acceptable or right for someone or something เหมาะสม
About the author
- Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Assistent Manager Educational services